The Dark Horse (2014) tells the true story of Genesis (Gen) Potini, a New Zealand chess master with bipolar disorder. After being released from a mental hospital, Gen seeks to do something positive and helps lead a crew of indigenous street kids to the national chess tournament.
And yet, the film is more challenging than that short description lets on. Gen lives on the streets, and has nothing. His brother is a member of a violent gang and doesn’t care about him. And his nephew, Mana, is being forced by his father to join his dehumanizing crew. Gen risks his life for Mana and the kids on his team. He’s a Christ figure: leaving behind the 99, going after the 1, and laying down his life for his friends.
Original sin means that we’re all born into a kind of gang. A broken and fallen world, in which wrong seems right, or at least, the only option. Cliff Curtis (Whale Rider) gives a performance as Genesis that will make you question if there isn’t another way. The film is rated R for strong language and drug use. Watch the trailer here: