The Dark Horse

Watch The Dark Horse

"Bravery is contagious"
  • R
  • 2016
  • 2 hr 4 min
  • 7.4  (6,550)
  • 77

The Dark Horse is the 2014 biographical drama movie directed by James Napier Robertson which follows the true story of Genesis Potini, a Maori New Zealand chess prodigy who struggled with bipolar disorder from an early age. The film stars Cliff Curtis as Potini, alongside James Rolleston as his nephew Mana, and Kirk Torrance as his brother Ariki.

The movie begins by introducing Genesis Potini, a former chess champion who has bunnies on his brain due to his bipolar disorder. The story takes place in Gisborne, an area in New Zealand where Gang violence is a common occurrence. Genesis decides to start a chess club for at-risk youth to give them an outlet for their frustrations and teach them about strategy and decision making. He calls it the Eastern Knights Chess Club, and it becomes a safe haven for the gang members in the area who he has come to care for.

The movie explores the relationship between Genesis and his nephew Mana, who joins the Eastern Knights Chess Club after a lifetime of feeling neglected and unwanted by his own father and gang of brothers. Mana’s struggles with fitting in contribute to a major plot point within the movie, which is the building of a large chess board to be used as part of the club’s decor.

The plot of the movie moves along slowly, mirroring Genesis’ own frustrating struggles with his bipolar disorder, and the circumstances of his community, which is plagued by poverty and gang violence. The setting is gritty, realistic and unflinching, driving home the harsh reality of what it means to be young and struggling in remote New Zealand towns. The director does an excellent job of capturing the atmosphere of this environment, and his attention to detail in depicting the Maori community lifestyle adds to the authenticity of the film.

The standout performances are from Cliff Curtis, who gives a nuanced and powerful performance as Genesis, and James Rolleston, who skillfully conveys Mana’s coming-of-age journey. Throughout the movie, we see Genesis navigate the ups and downs of his bipolar disorder while trying to maintain the Eastern Knights Chess Club, even as his mental state deteriorates. His dedication to the club and his community ultimately leads him to enter a national chess championship, where he goes head-to-head with the best players in the country.

The climax of the movie comes during the tournament, and the stakes feel high as Genesis faces off against his rival, a young chess prodigy. The tension is palpable as Genesis struggles to keep his bipolar disorder in check, while Mana worries about his uncle’s mental state. The film’s final scenes are moving and emotional, and bring the story to a fulfilling and poignant conclusion.

Overall, The Dark Horse is a well-made movie that tells a powerful and inspiring story. It manages to convey a deep sense of empathy and compassion for its characters, even as it tackles some heavy themes. The film’s creation was a passion project for director James Napier Robertson, who was a friend of Genesis Potini in real life. This connection can be felt throughout the movie, and it adds a layer of authenticity and heart to an already moving film.

The Dark Horse is a 2016 drama with a runtime of 2 hours and 4 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.4 and a MetaScore of 77.

The Dark Horse
Where to Watch The Dark Horse
The Dark Horse is available to watch free on The Roku Channel Free and Tubi TV. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime, FuboTV, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play and YouTube VOD. Some platforms allow you to rent The Dark Horse for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    2 hr 4 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.4  (6,550)
  • Metascore