The Dark Horse

Synopsis: A brilliant but troubled New Zealand chess champion finds purpose by teaching underprivileged children about the rules of chess and life.
Genre: Biography, Drama
Production: Southern Light Films
  24 wins & 15 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
124 min

Beat your wings

Lest you succumb to the rain

And now the sun shines

From the dark into the light...

The dark into the light

The dark, dark, dark...

There it is... I see... I'm through...

Into the light.

What's going on, little bro?


- You want a beer?

- Yeah.

And then surely the day

follows the night.

As a knight takes the bishop.

My old friends,

it's been such a long time.

It's been such a long time.

I missed you.

I missed you.

I missed you, my friends.

It's a nice one, isn't it?

Lovely, lovely. Yes, indeed.

All warriors. They're

all warriors here, see?

Uncle Jim made that

when he was locked up.

It's a war game, a pakanga.

Those are all warriors there.

- Can I play you?

- You don't know how to play.

Can you teach me?

F***, you're a nosy little

bugger, aren't you?

Is there someone you want me to call?

No, you couldn't. You can't do that.

I mean...

Rm; Lopez.

There it is, right there.

That's on B5, not C4.

- I'm sorry?

- And you want the Sicilian Defence?

Well, impossible.

C5, that's where that should be.

Your fianchetto bishop, he's on the G7.

That's the way it should be,

but that's not what's happening.

What's happening here

is the Scotch Game.

The bishop takes GA.

And play the gambit,

ease them into the game.

Nice and easy. Here she comes.

Show them the way. Show them... Easy.

See? It's alright, everyone.

You're gonna be okay.

- See this fella?

- Yeah.

He's a pawn.

He's basically the weakest fella

on the board.

- Like you.

- Shut up.

This lady?

The queen.

She's like Papatuanuku.

Earth Mother.

She can move wherever she wants,

but she'll always come back

'cause she loves...

The king,

who the pawn will grow up to be.

Like Maui, leader of his people.

Lose him, lose the game.

So you keep him safe.

My angry friend... I'm sorry.

Can only be one.


Gen, do you want to come with me now?

- He wasn't being...

- it's okay.

Usually I have to do my notation.



Do you want to play one with me?

- Pardon?

- Teach me?

- Teach you? Did I promise?

- Yeah.

I promised to teach you.

I promised to teach you.

I don't know how to...

I don't know how to...

We'll come back.

We could come back.

We can come back. Is that okay?

- Yeah.

- Sure.

- Okay, we'll come back.

- You teach me at home.

Wonderful. I've been craving...

I've been hanging out for a game.

I would just love to have a game.

That way, eh?

- Yeah?

- Beautiful.

Gonna head this way...

And get in the van, eh?

And come with...

- That's better.

- Come with me to the van.

No, no. Thank you.

- No, Genesis, come here.

- I was just playing a game.

- Come get... Just look at me.

- No, I think I'll go back there by...

- No, no.

- Hey.

It's okay. Gen, you're

not well right now.

Gen. Listen to me, Gen.

I was playing a game of chess.

- Gen?

- I just want to go back!

- Gen, it's going to be okay. Gen.

- No, come on.

Genesis! You're gonna be okay, all

right? You need to get into the van.

You're all right. Here we go.

- In there. Get in the van.

- No!

Come on, Genesis.

Hi, Gen.

I've spoken with Dr Andrews.

He doesn't feel we're going to be able

to release you this time

without someone to look after you.

A family member, support person,

that sort of thing.

Is there someone you'd like us to call?

How are you?

No, bro.

Don't think I can help you.

Be better off with someone else.


There ain't nobody else.

Just gonna end up back

in here anyway, eh?

Ain't you?


Don't skip a dose.

Don't get less than eight hours'

uninterrupted sleep a night.

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James Napier Robertson

James William Napier Robertson (born 24 March 1982) is a New Zealand writer, film director and producer, who wrote and directed 2009 film I'm Not Harry Jenson, and 2014 film The Dark Horse, for which he won Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Film at the 2014 New Zealand Film Awards, and which was declared by New Zealand critics "One of the greatest New Zealand films ever made". He has also appeared earlier in his career as an actor in Shakespearean theater and several television productions including The Tribe and Being Eve, and has described how acting work "funded his early filmmaking". more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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