Magazine article New Internationalist

The Dark Horse

Magazine article New Internationalist

The Dark Horse

Article excerpt

The Dark Horse (99 minutes)

directed and written by James Napier Robertson

Intense, involving, often uneasy - probably not what you'd expect of a film based around a chess club. But its coach and mentor, the wonderfully named Genesis Potini, a Maori chess champion who died in 2011, was an unconventional, generous, troubled soul, who was diagnosed in youth as bipolar. CliffCurtis, who you may recognize from Whale Rider and Once Were Warriors, brilliantly portrays his charged, precarious mental state, so that a conventional 'street kids come good' story is anything but predictable.

Genesis is passionate, with a capacity for exaltation and for spooking people. The film opens on him walking triumphantly up the middle of a busy road in an imagined rainstorm. The scene ends with him resisting two cops trying to bundle him into their van. …

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