The Luzhin Defence

If you couldn’t care less about Vladimir Nabokov, whose early Russian novel this feature purports to be based on, and if you like John Turturro and Emily Watson regardless of whether you can identify the nationality of the characters they’re playing, then it’s theoretically possible that this tasteful Euro-pudding period love story (2001) about a dysfunctional chess master and a debutante might be for you. Or you might be bored anyway. This was directed by Marleen Gorris, who has recently been making inroads in the Merchant-Ivory literary adaptation business (as in Mrs. Dalloway), and written by Peter Berry; with Geraldine James, Stuart Wilson, and Christopher Thompson. PG-13, 108 min. (JR)

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