“The Dark Horse” Addresses Mental Health, Expectation, and Community

The opening sequence of The Dark Horse depicts Genesis Potini wandering through the rain muttering to himself, intercut with his older brother teaching him the game of chess when they were both children.  He stops in a store with a few chessboards set up, and continues his frantic word salad as the shop owners look on nervously.  Then, Genesis starts moving the pieces with a preternatural celerity, waxing poetic chess theory, comparing the relative qualities of the Sicilian defense and the Scotch game.  The preamble continues until Genesis is discovered by his handler and whisked back to the mental hospital.  The title flashes across the screen, and we understand the fundamental themes of The Dark Horse immediately:  dealing with mental health, the importance of family and community, and the transformative power of the game of Chess.

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