We live in a world where there is a lot of technology. And by a lot, I mean an excessive, never-ending amount of technology that just continues to progress every second. Pieces of information are flowing on the internet at every single moment. Computer Chess is trying to emphasis on that aspect but also doing much more than that. A 1980s period piece shot on old-school digital cameras in which it gives the look of amateur, badly produced film and is in a 4:3 ratio, gives the film a unique look that only helps the film portray the themes it wants to. It takes place over a single weekend and tells the story of multiple different characters during a computer chess tournament which essentially entails computers facing off each in chess made by programmers.
There are many different characters in this film, we don’t follow a specific one, rather many. Patrick Riester as Peter Bishton, a shy, socially awkward young college student is one of the most important characters who has some of the most important scenes throughout the film. Another notable character is Michael Papageorge played by Myles Paige which his character leads to most of the surrealism and complete and utter strangeness this movie has. It starts off as a only slightly strange film, which mostly came from the look of the movie, but it still seemed like it was going to play out like an interesting but straightforward period piece that only explored certain themes in a minor sense. Mostly involving the fear of A.I. and what it could potentially do in the future.
But, the movie is much more than that. Throughout the film, we have strange glitches in the visual imagery, it could be intentional or it could be the old equipment causing it but regardless, it is a foreshadowing of the strangeness to come. We have another group of people at this hotel where the tournament is happening, a group of strange post-60s hippies who do weird group exercises that at first make you laugh but you also question why the hell they are in this movie. To me, this movie portrays two extremes: The meaninglessness that may come from ones work (the programmers) and the false sense of freedom that comes from a strange mindset (hippies). Both aren’t very ideal, one leads to alienation, loneliness, and confusion. The other leads to a false sense of actual happiness. The movie is also quite funny at times, mostly in a dry sense. It doesn’t portrays it’s comedy in a big way but in very subtle ways with it’s complete strangeness.
To me, I haven’t seen a movie this unique in a long time. It’s a risky period piece that does many different things and will not leave you after seeing. Portrays two extremes, displays the fear of eventual overbearing technology, and asks extensional questions we all wish maybe we had an answer to. In conclusion, this is one of the best movies of 2013, I haven’t seen anything like it. (Also, I should note that I will be doing a list of my top 10 movies of 2013 relatively soon, I just need to see a few more movies before I can justified in doing it).