The Luzhin Defence


Generally favorable reviews - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 26
  2. Negative: 0 out of 26

Critic Reviews

  1. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    An attractive, intelligent film that's intractably at odds with itself.
  2. 60
    In the end, it demonstrates all over again the virtual impossibility of doing Nabokov justice on film, because his work is so resolutely and brilliantly made of words.
  3. When the film sticks with the eccentric comedy of a highborn woman attracted to a preoccupied genius, it works splendidly. When it strays into melodrama, it is as ill-equipped as Luzhin.
  4. The film's dark heart is Valentinov's mephistophelean scheming: He sets about sabotaging his former protégé's game for no apparent reason except sheer malice.
  5. 42
    Capable but not transporting, never unraveling the mystery of its hero's genius or, worse, making us care enough to look deeper.
  6. 40
    A punishing tragedy that could best be described as the anti-"Shine."
  7. It's one of those period dramas about upper-crust Europeans in vacation resorts, which at first we think we've seen a million times before.
  8. Might be for you. Or you might be bored anyway.

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