The Dark Horse

The Dark Horse

DVD - 2016 | Widescreen version
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"After years in and out of mental institutions, Genesis is released into the care of his older brother Ariki, a street gang leader. When he volunteers to train a group of disadvantaged Maori children for the upcoming National Chess Championships, it puts him at odds with his brother over Ariki's son Mana, whose interest in the game threatens the teen's imminent initiation into his father's violent gang. Despite all odds, Gen's positivity always leads him to search for light, even when the world seems at its darkest"--Container.
Publisher: [Place of publication not identified] : [Publisher not identified], [2016]
Edition: Widescreen version
Branch Call Number: DVD DAR DRAMA
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (124 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in
digital,optical,surround,Dolby Digital 5.1
video file,DVD video,region 1


From Library Staff

A biopic about Genesis Potini, a speed chess player who suffers from bipolar disorder. He gets involved with teaching local kids how to play chess, relates the game to their Maori heritage, and shows that there are options to joining gangs.

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Oct 30, 2020

Compelling story of a Maori man with mental illness who helps young people find an alternative to street violence thru chess. Highly recommend. Kristi & Abby Tabby

Feb 10, 2020

Maybe a few too many "F" words for my taste. But most of them might have been true to life. A bit hard to follow at first, but got better, and did turn out in the end to be inspiring, especially since it was based on a true story.

Aug 19, 2019

a season in Hell, appalling, but with superb acting

Apr 23, 2019

Super film! Put me in mind of Kevin Costner's McFarland, USA. That was, of course, about Latino lads shepherded into champion distance runners in Southern California. Now, Cliff Curtis's Dark Horse is about Maori youngsters already experimenting with chess but Coach leads them into perfection. The varied ages as well as both lads and lassies make it more interesting for me. My daughter, the school teacher, opined "Too much swearing!" I replied "Am guessing most of the dialogue was improvised." Still, I find it interesting that the cultures of two countries so far apart in distance are so similar. Kudos to EPL for having this film of which many of us have probably never heard. I discovered it through the APTN which does a remarkable job of telecasting films that our national networks ignore.

Apr 07, 2019

Good movie based on a real life story. Genesis who is a Maori man dealing with mental health issues decides to volunteer to teach Maori youth chess. It is a bit bittersweet because people shun Gen for is illness and he has to learn to cope with his personal and social issues while also having to deal with others issues such as his brother who is involved with a gang and expects his son to follow him. Genesis was a chess prodigy and he wants to share his love of the game with the kids and hopefully take them to the New Zealand junior chess championship. His nephew joins the chess club but is supposed to be initiated into his father’s gang on the same day as the chess championship. Great performances by the actors and a rather grisly look into one aspect of Maori life. Subtitles are provided when Maori is spoken but you might want to turn on the closed captioning—I had a little difficulty understanding the Maori gangsters.

Mar 28, 2019

Amazing performance by Cliff Curtis (“Whale Rider”) as Genesis, a champion chess player who's been derailed by mental illness, homelessness, and the stresses of being an uneducated minority (Maori) in a mostly indifferent white New Zealand culture. His gang leader brother, Ariki, reluctantly lets him live at his house where he's surrounded by drugs, violence, and pressure to accept a miserable life (his brother curtly tells him to go on the dole). However, his own optimism, unquenchable love for chess, and growing affection for his at-risk nephew leads him to train an unlikely group of street kids for New Zealand's junior chess championship. The still-intact Maori culture provides them moral strength. This underdog team story has been told before through swim, track, and basketball (see, respectively, “Pride”; “McFarland, USA”; and “Hoosiers”) but the main character here has far larger obstacles to overcome. Note: occasional Maori with English subtitles.

Jun 01, 2018

Another great movie from New Zealand. I love that its a true story. It's great to see heart felt movies about overcoming the challenges of poverty and mental illness. Watch this.

May 11, 2018

I really didn't think I would enjoy this movie as much as I did. Heartwarming. The power of family, the impact of mental illness on the individual and their family, the importance of mentoring youth and a big cry at the end. Loved it!!!

Mar 05, 2017

March 5 2017.....It looks like I returned this on Dec 5 2016, but did not make a comment.....I know I enjoyed it!, and will maybe have to watch it again sometime.

Jan 15, 2017

This is a great movie that very few people have heard about.

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Mar 28, 2019

Coarse Language: Yep.

Mar 28, 2019

Other: Drug use is portrayed as normal. Racism and prejudice against mental illness.

Mar 28, 2019

Violence: Fist fights; a child is abused and groomed for gang membership.


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Aug 07, 2016

Legend of Maui and the game of chess:
We “ know who Maui is, eh'? He's one of our ancestors, eh'? And one day he went fishing. He had this magic fishhook. He threw it over the side, and then something bit. He was like, “That's a bit heavy. Can't pull that up all on my own." So, because he was a leader of his people, like this king, Maui, he went and got all of his family, just like us, just like all these pieces on this board, they come together, and they pulled and they pulled and they pulled up land. And that land is the land we all live on now, eh? New Zealand? That's us. And that board there, the kingdom for this king, that board is like our land. We have to protect our land, eh? And we do that by all working together with our king. Now, if we lose our king, Maui, game over, no more game, 'cause he got the magic, so we have to protect him. Now, the one last thing about Maui, our king, is he has to carry that responsibility, and it's very heavy. So, ...

Aug 07, 2016

A lot of profanity ... at least the chess move lessons are clean:

So, 10 rules. Control the centre! Right on the centre. ... Connect the rooks. Connect the rooks. Two rooks together are stronger than one. Leave no one behind. All together, that's where we create the
net. That's how Maui caught the sun. Okay? Coordinate. Rangimarie, give me the coordinates
for the Spanish Square.
- C4.
Who told her? The Italian Square.
- B5.


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