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3 out of 4 stars

Title
The Games Maker
Written by
Juan Pablo Buscarini
Directed by
Juan Pablo Buscarini
Starring
David Mazouz, Joseph Fiennes, Ed Asner, Tom Cavanagh
Classification
PG
Country
USA
Language
English
Year
2015

If life is a game, beating the odds must be the goal, because if it is all by chance, there would be no point at all. Perhaps with that in mind, director Juan Pablo Buscarini rolls the dice with The Games Maker, a first-class family-friendly adaptation of an Argentine novel about a board-game-inventing boy who learns the rules of life on the go.

In a vividly fanciful adventure tale set in something resembling the 1950s (and with an array of accents and landscapes that make pinning down nationalities and localities impossible), David Mazouz stars as 10-year-old Ivan Drago, who after being suspiciously orphaned is packed off to an intimidating boarding school. He escapes the institution in a grandly mischievous fashion, setting off a quest involving his estranged game-making grandfather, played wheezingly by the 114-year-old Ed Asner.

Joseph Fiennes is the excellent villain Morodian; elements of Wizard of Oz, The Truman Show and Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory are called to mind. The plot might be a bit labyrinthian for kids, but, then, the young ones always do manage to find their way, don't they.

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