Brooklyn Castle DVD
Have you ever wondered where the geeks and nerds rule the school, Brooklyn Castle documents the real life of the Brooklyn Intermediate School 318 and their national award winning team.
Film making 4/5
Bonus Features 1/5
Recommendation 5/5 Stars
While a documentary Brooklyn Castle is a great film to watch as well as wonder about the insanity of school budgets and where the money needs to go. Brooklyn Intermediate School 318 has had more winning chess champions and their team has won more awards than any other group in the United States.
That’s pretty good when you consider that the average income of parents is below the poverty level for the entire school. A second look at the area of the school will tell you it is inner city and in much need of money just to keep the school open.
The film chronicles five of the best student chess talents in the country and showcases not only their tournaments but the daily struggles of the students and families. The school is also hurting with yearly budget cuts that eat into the afterschool activities like the chess club.
Donors have stepped forward to help but the kids are still having a rough time getting enough money to attend the tournaments that mean so much to them and their future. A final note to an exhilarating year is the middle school team won the High School championship at the 2012 United States Chess Federations national competition.
This is a documentary but you will be involved and fascinated by these kids taking on the challenges that adults usually deal with. Like their coach says “It’s not a metaphor for life; it’s life itself, revealed in all its options.”
Coach Elizabeth Vicary talks about chess and her pupils but she treats them much like adults throughout their day when it comes to chess and the direction they are headed. These kids are faced with the responsibilities most kids don’t come near until well after high school.
They have to decide early where their life is going in regards to chess and they have to make decisions now that are going to affect the rest of their lives. That is some of the things that make this documentary so interesting as well as the real life aspect of kids doing so well in a serious subject like chess tournaments.
Audio and video are just fine and the film does have a documentary look but it is filmed with very good cameras and with well-done editing. The audio is also in 5.1 Dolby surround sound for really great audio that does border on excessive for a documentary that does not need a surround sound field.
Brooklyn Castle is a great documentary and well worth a look as a rental if you can find it or a purchase as it does not cost all that much. The DVD edition has only the deleted scenes on the disc for extras but I really hesitate to consider as documentary in the same review as regular movies when it comes to bonus content.
Brooklyn Castle is a great documentary and a testament to what an afterschool program can do to build lives and motivate kids to do better.