Canadian Sport Film Festival 2017: Our Review Of ‘The Surrounding Game’

Canadian Sport Film Festival 2017: Our Review Of ‘The Surrounding Game’

‘Go’ is a game unlike any other and is as much art form as game with its endless possibilities, and is steeped in rich history.  Students of the game train from a very young age, 4 or 5, and the best make the leap to professional status at the age of 13.  This of course, occurs mostly in Japan, China and Korea.  In the western world very few people even know of ‘Go’ and fewer still can say they excel at the game.

The Surrounding Game follows a group of young American men as they train for and participate in the first tournament in the United States where the winner will be granted the title of professional and will be invited to Korea to compete against some of the best players in the world.

These young men are obsessed with ‘Go’ and their individual hubris is documented over the course of the film.  They believe that their above average intelligence is up to the task of solving the complexities of ‘Go’ and play for hours on end, their lives consumed by it.

This film is much like its subjects – slightly awkward and it takes itself a little too seriously.  It depicts the struggle ‘Go’ organizers in the USA have trying to grow the game but this documentary will not help them, even though the game does seem challenging and fun.

The subjects of this film come off as elitist and all consumed and although the young men are entertaining to watch they aren’t the heroes that will inspire a new generation of players.  This film will definitely amuse its niche market but it does not have the appeal to reach a mass audience.

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Sarah has had a love affair the silver screen her entire life. Movies have always found a way to impact her life and she has always connected with the magic it has to offer. With a BA in Honours English Language and Literature, Sarah enjoys translating that magic, and sometimes the lack thereof, to the written word. Sarah is a stay at home mom with newborn twin boys and looks forward to the days where she can share her love of film with them. She counts The Last of the Mohicans, The Lord of the Rings -The Two Towers, Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Army of Darkness, Goodfellas, Jaws and It’s a Wonderful Life as some of her favourites.