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Surrounding Game, The

Director:  Will Lockhart & Cole D. Pruitt
Year Released:  2018
Rating:  3.0

Lockhart and Pruitt trail several young men who are consumed by the ancient game of Go - generally played on a wooden board with black and white 'stones' - as they try to become the first American players who are given a 'professional' ranking and hopefully increase domestic popularity in it. Full credit goes to the (first-time) filmmakers for taking the 'simple but complex' game and trying to make it as watchable as possible, explaining moves and strategies to the audience as it goes on ... because, let's be fair, it's not the most 'visually appealing' thing to record. It helps tremendously that their subjects, namely Ben Lockhart and Andy Liu, are endearingly gawky (if a little sad): Ben plays because he can't see himself working in a corporate environment and Andy's entire life revolves around it (even when he finished a match during a tournament, he's back on his laptop engaged in a digital version). It should come as zero surprise that Liu, years after this was filmed, ends up working in the 'financial sector,' since he's mentally wired for complex patterns (and Wall Street 'trading' is mostly algorithms, anyway...).

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