Picks and Pans Review: The Luzhin Defence
John Turturro, Emily Watson
The game of love is far more complicated than the game of chess, as Alexander Luzhin (Turturro) learns the hard way in this handsome romantic drama. Set at a lakeside Italian resort in the 1920s, The Luzhin Defence, adapted from an early Nabokov novel, chronicles the troubled affair between Luzhin, a chess grand master who has spent his life avoiding emotional entanglements, and the sleek Natalia, an aristocratic rebel who defies her bossy mother when she sets out to castle Luzhin.
Gifted stars Turturro (intense here even by his own tightly wound standards) and Watson (who seems to glow from within) are well-matched, but the film, directed by Marleen Gorris (Antonia's Line), is minor. (PG-13)
Bottom Line: Call it a draw
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