Exeter, Devon UK • Jun 14, 2024 • VOL XII

Exeter, Devon UK • [date-today] • VOL XII
Home Screen Review: The Queen’s Gambit

Review: The Queen’s Gambit

Max Shepherd finds the new Netflix chess series, The Queen's Gambit, to be anything but black and white
5 mins read
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Review: The Queen’s Gambit

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDrieqwSdgI
The Queen’s Gambit official trailer: NETFLIX

Max Shepherd finds the new Netflix chess series, The Queen’s Gambit, to be anything but black and white

The Queen’s Gambit is a must watch. Impressive in its ability to make a chess fan out of any viewer, it is a mini-series that ticks practically every box. Anya Taylor-Joy is perfect as lead role Beth Harmon, a chess prodigy trying to make it in the world of 1960s professional chess.

Harmon herself is not an entirely likeable character, making some harmful and stupid mistakes along the way. Yet in following her rise through the ranks of chess, one cannot help but become invested in every move, crushed by every set back and delighted by every win. Working within what is essentially an old-fashioned rags to riches story format, the show has managed to do something quite unique.

the show does not lack substance for all of its dazzling style

The set and costume design alone will be enough to keep a lot of people watching, not since Mad Men has a show made the consumerist heyday of mid-century America look so good. The bright and colourful world of patterned wallpaper, shiny chromed cars, and indoor smoking is easy to get lost in, and will likely lead you to binge watch most of the series in one sitting.

But the show does not lack substance for all of its dazzling style. A story of loss, trauma, addiction and redemption, the show is a carefully crafted rollercoaster of emotional highs and lows. Following the life history of Harmon, the show feels somewhat epic despite it only being eight episodes long. Characters float in and out of the story much like people in real life and there are no one-dimensional villains or heroes, just people with their own motives and desires.

If nothing else, The Queen’s Gambit is worth watching just to see how many different ways a game of chess can be conveyed through the medium of film and still be exciting.

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