The Dark Horse

The Dark Horse

The Dark Horse

Cliff Curtis (Whale Rider, Sunshine) leads this true Kiwi story as Genesis Potini, the speed-chess prodigy from New Zealand. Battling severe bipolar disorder, Genesis finds purpose in coaching a local chess club. Co-stars James Rolleston (Boy).

After being released from a mental institution, Genesis moves in with his distant gang-affiliated brother and teenage nephew (Rolleston). With no desire to stay in the gang house all day, Genesis joins the local Gisborne chess club where he hopes to somehow coach its youthful and diverse members to a national championship.

2014Rating: M124 minsNew Zealand
DramaTrue Story & Biography

Streaming (6 Providers)

The Dark Horse / Reviews

Flicks, Liam Maguren

Flicks, Liam Maguren

Opening the New Zealand International Film Festival to an immersed crowd, this cinematic tale of real-life chess wizard Genesis Potini holds the power to do the same across Australian audiences. The story follows Genesis (Cliff Curtis) and his desire to invigorate the youngsters of the Gisborne chess club into feeling the same passion for the intellectual sport as he does, applying an imaginative Māori perspective to the board game. However, having spent the prior two years in a mental institution, the club-runners reluctantly question whether or not this enthusiasm comes from the head of a 'crazy person'. Poverty, parental neglect, drug abuse and gang-affiliation add to the despair, but The Dark Horse swiftly relieves the bleakness with surprising and well-timed bouts of rugged comedy.

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Urban Cinefile

Urban Cinefile

James Napier Robertson has sculpted a compelling film.

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Stuff

Stuff

A feel-good true story... ultimately it's not the narrative which will affect you as much as watching these two sensational faces portray variations on harrowing and hope.

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New Zealand Herald

New Zealand Herald

The best to come out of these shores in many a year.

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IndieWire

IndieWire

Contrary to the standard Hollywood diagnosis of mental illness, it doesn't improve according to how much love a sufferer receives, although there is a lot of love between Curtis and his epic character.

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Hollywood Reporter

Hollywood Reporter

An emotionally potent story of redemption anchored by a heart-piercing lead performance from Cliff Curtis.

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