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'Computer Chess' Examines the Line Between the Human Spirit and Digital Technology
The default stance of the movies towards artificial intelligence, from HAL 9000 to Haley Joel Osment as robo-Pinocchio, is somewhere between mild unease and shrieking terror. So it's not surprising that there's plenty of paranoia hanging over the heads of the A.I. programmers in Andrew Bujalski's Computer Chess (particularly when you consider all the joints they keep passing around). But in this terrific period comedy, about competitors in a computer-v-computer chess tournament, the anxieties go hand-in-hand with an intoxicating sense of possibility. This is a movie about how exhilarating it can be at a heady new intellectual frontier — at least if the experience doesn't drive you insane first.
By Raj Ranade
September 12, 2013