The Best Movie Director For All 16 World Championship Games
The two most overused terms in chess journalism are "epic" and "blood spilled." Those qualities are, however, the oeuvre of certain Hollywood directors.
But what if each of the 16 games was made into a movie, or into one compilation of vignettes like "New York Stories," "Four Rooms," or "Paris, Je T'aime"? Which director should take the lead on each game?
Here are my picks. Yes, I did this quickly. Yes, you will disagree. Yes, you've seen more movies than I have and will be apoplectic that I "forgot" a legendary director. But let's have some fun and put your picks in the comments!
The understated beginning to the match didn't have huge fireworks, but it did show much character development. You could see the beginnings of a great few weeks. Both players exuded their styles that would continue for most of the match. The viewer was being poked, not bludgeoned, to appreciate the action. Sounds like a job for Jeff Nichols.
If you take the three phases of the game, then blend them together, and add the futility of lack of finality with the ending repetition, you have a plot primed for Alejandro Gonazalez Inarritu. Cue the melodic Argentinian guitar.
If you don't go to the movies to see quality, but instead just want action, you already know who's directing game three. It's time for some "Bayhem" as Michael Bay choreographs the huge final battle scene. Just like game 3, Carlsen's fight seemed to go on forever before both armies laid down their guns.
A really, really long game that ended without much satisfaction but you got the feeling was difficult for everyone involved? An auteur that often directs movies about gangsters or unsavory characters? Well, Carlsen was pretty salty after not winning this one. Brian de Palma directs.
Tons of pieces creating tension and threats everywhere, only to have many captures in rapid succession and the game ending with barely anything alive? Quentin Tarantino would be proud to enlist his services.
Why the mysterious 24. bxc4? Did the game really end that way? The subtlety of 51...h5! And of course, with Black winning, surely a film noir. Who is this mystery man leading the championship? David Lynch is the only choice for this one.
Karjakin could have protected his lead with more solid play, but surprises everyone with one of his only attacking games. If successful, the match essentially is over. No one expected this type of game from him. If you're looking for a director with movie styles all over the map, who can surprise you at any moment, you're looking for Wes Anderson.
You know it's going to go on for a while. Even when it is over, you think, "That was great, but he could have made it an hour shorter." All the topics are weighty. Basically, Oliver Stone bought the rights as soon as the game ended.
You schedule your entire day to make sure you watch the deciding game, but you really have no idea what you're going to get. It could be the most illuminating spectacle with visceral emotions, or it could just be some short meditation with scenic landscapes. In short, it's a Werner Herzog film.
Tiebreak Game 1
The ninth(!) Ruy Lopez didn't teach us anything new, and everyone sighed when they saw it. Though not an indictment of his earlier work, I researched what number the "Fast and the Furious" franchise was up to. OK, they are only at eight, but close enough. F. Gary Gray gets the dubious distinction.
Tiebreak Game 2
So many phases of the game. Middlegame chicanery. Amazing effort for Karjakin to find so many defensive resources. The nervousness of both players' time dwindling. Humanity seemingly at stake. Even when the battle ended, you knew there was more. Sounds like one part of a Trilogy, so for this one, Peter Jackson gets the nod.
Tiebreak Game 3
We're going to need someone who knows how to build the drama but almost always pleases the crowd at the end. A director who puts the hero through adversity but ensures his survival. Step right up, Steven Spielberg.
Tiebreak Game 4
You know there's going to be a twist, you just don't know what it is. Cue Bruce Willis as Carlsen, and the director who's made last-minute surprises his entire career. M. Night Shyamalan directs this one (from back early in his career, when it was still exciting). Shyamalan insists the credits roll right after Qh6+.
So, let me know, who are YOUR choices?