If you are feeling down after watching the unfortunate outcasts being bullied in Bully, throw this documentary on as a companion piece. Brooklyn Castle is about an inner city junior high school where the smart kids who play chess are actually the popular kids. When you are successful, the bullying seems to stop. Usually smart kids must wait until they have grown and become fully educated in order to see this kind of respect obtained, but an inexplicable amount of success playing chess brought it a little early for some of these Brooklyn pre-teens.
The game of chess itself is not that thrilling to watch, especially considering the matches can last up to three hours. What makes
a successful documentary isn’t even the game itself, but the participants. The
personal struggles each of the individual students share with the camera are
far more compelling than how they rank, and the fight that the teachers must
make in order to keep the program afloat amidst harsh budget cuts has more
impact than the final result of tournaments. Brooklyn Castle
Each student seems to have their own individual goals and reason for playing the game, especially in a program which is so advanced that it offers up to seven classes a week. Winning is addicting, and the level of dedication that is expected of the students makes it clear that they treat chess as more than a game. The DVD includes deleted scenes.
Entertainment Value: 7.5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 7/10
Historical Significance: 6/10
Disc Features: 3/10