Computer Chess Cert. 15 Picture house at FACT

  • Released2013
  • Running time91 minutes
  • DirectorAndrew Bujalski
  • GenreAmerican Independent
  • LanguageEnglish
  • CastPatrick Riester, Gerald Peary, Wiley Wiggins

Maverick mumblecore writer-director and festival favourite Bujalski (FUNNY HA HA, MUTUAL APPRECIATION) turns his wicked eye back to the early ’80s, when desktop computers the size of fridges were pitted against chess players who thought they could outwit them – and often did.

During a long weekend at a nondescript hotel, various geeks use their home-written software to try to beat a human grandmaster (played by film critic Peary). Using ancient mono video cameras, cringingly authentic fashions and appropriately tacky furnishings, Bujalski’s knowing comedy has an irresistible retro look, matched by its pitch-perfect dialogue.

A retinue of socially challenged stereotypes from the early computer era admirably support the narrative, including an experimental psychologist (Wiggins, who actually designs computer games), an over-intense young code writer (Riester), and Robin Schwartz as the appallingly patronised token female.

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