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Computer Chess 2013 ****

Andrew Bujawski made his name with low-budget, low fi mumblecore movies like Funny Ha Ha and Mutual Appreciation, but stepped up a gear with this engaging sci-fi comedy drama about a group of computer nerds at a chess competition in 1979. Filmed on low-quality video, the film looks like a relic of the time, and the content is intriguing; a competition between chess computers, with the winner getting a game against a human champion. The intrigue between the teams is largely contained within an anonymous hotel, where a group of swinging couple are also staying. The culture-clash is played for subtle laughs, and there’s also a few surprises in the narrative; a sci-fi subtext becomes overt in the shocking final scene, and the journey to get there is original and sharply observed.


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