I.S. 318 is an inner-city school in New York City where over 65 percent of the students come from homes with incomes below the federal poverty level. It also happens to have the best, most-winning junior high chess team in the country. Sadly, its winning tradition is being threatened as the chess team could face dismemberment as the school begins to face budget cuts across the district.
For years, we have been told of the effects that come from a cut education budget. Katie Dellamaggiore has finally given the serious problem a face in her eye-opening documentary Brooklyn Castle.
This film, which showcases the events that occur during a single school year, evenly displaces the lives of the chess team members both at and away from school. From their joyous moments to their personal struggles, Dellamaggiore presents them in such a style that each student is able to connect with the audience. We see a bit of ourselves within their fight to excel.
Brooklyn Castle walks a fine line between being informative and preachy. A set of characters, each in different places within the game of chess, are offered up to the audience and none disappoint. From the budding scholar to the struggling beginner, there is a bit of everything wrapped within this extremely concise and well-organized story. There is simply no denying it—Brooklyn Castle has just accomplished its ultimate goal: check mate.