The Queen’s Gambit (2020)
Title: The Queen’s Gambit
Genre: Drama | Mini-Series | Sport |
Runtime: 395 min
Created by: Scott Frank and Allan Scott
Starring: Anya Taylor-Joy, Bill Camp, Marielle Heller
Orphaned at the tender age of nine, prodigious introvert Beth Harmon discovers and masters the game of chess in 1960s USA. But child stardom comes at a price.
PREDICTABLE, TRAGIC YET BINGE-WATCHABLE
You can call this mini-series whatever you like. The outcome is still the same. The format is still the same where a twist arrives at the end to make you want to follow the story a step further. Even if the series is on seven episodes or 6,5 hours long, it is easy to follow and the character feels somewhat interesting. The endgame is in Russia and the story follows the main character, Beth Harmon, from nine years old to her early twenties. The three first episodes are easy to go through and entertaining compared to the rest of the series, as these episodes do not involve the hybris it displays.
At first, it is a baby step towards the mastering of chess-playing, but when she becomes increasingly famous, it becomes rushed and does not feel genuine to its core premises. It focuses on drugs, alcohols, fucking and boys. She has more male friends than female. She destroys friendships, relationships and there is a vague middle ground she stamps on. Some questions are left unheard of while others continue. The two final episodes feel rushed in comparison to the beginning. There is not much time to the reflection that’s needed, that one appreciated in the beginning. The details, the structure forming and getting one’s attention is gone with the wind by the end of the story.
The best part of the story is screenwriting and the authenticity of the period it takes place and how these characters play chess. It makes chess gaming approachable and it makes it more understandable to a layman. The acting feels like any other Netflix production, a variation of performances even if the pilot was the best episode written for the show. Anya Taylor-Joy makes a good performance as the lead even if she is staggering a little bit occasionally. The relationship she has between all ten-fifteen male friends is not all clear. Bill Camp, the tutor of chess, makes a worthy impression on the character and one-self. He makes her curiosity about the new game interesting to follow through. All the competition and everything is hard to keep track of as they’re just name-dropping it.
The cinematography helps well to tell the story and the editing gives it a good rhythm with the narrative but it slaggers there too with the narrative. The whole series is all predictable, occasionally sad but pure predictable from the first frame to the last. However, it makes it entertaining and easy to follow these characters in the USA 60s and the political conflicts, and binge-worthy.