The appeal of the Rubik’s Cube will never go away. Some people see one and immediately want to try to solve it. Others look at the multi colored cube and will not attempt it as they carefully watch others try. The Speed Cubers is a Netflix documentary that looks at the seemingly simple toy another way. It is the story of how it can help families and bring people together.
The Speed Cubers is about two competitive Rubik’s Cube solvers. Feliks Zemdegs is an Australian who has won world championships and has set many world records. He is very personable and his personality comes across. Before the story is set into motion, the audience knows he is a good person. No matter what direction the film goes in, it is clear he is going to be the protagonist.
The second person the film focuses on his Max Park. Max is a young man from California who idolizes Feliks. Along the way, Max manages to break the many records that were once owned by Feliks. As the World Championships are approaching, The Speed Cubers focuses on the relationship between the two. It seems obvious which direction things are headed. The Speed Cubers is going to be a story about the ultra competitive world of what seems to be an innocent game. There will be name calling, backstabbing, and treachery.
Except this film never goes that direction. It is about friendship, help, and acceptance. Max is autistic and through the help of Feliks has improved his social and motor skills. What makes The Speed Cubers so fascinating is how Feliks has helped Max. He has helped him through simple kindness. He is genuinely impressed by Max’s accomplishments. Obviously, there is disappointment as each record is beat, but Feliks is constantly rooting for Max. For his part, Max looks up to Feliks.
As the world championships approach, The Speed Cubers reaches its emotional apex. There is the tension of whether Feliks or Max will win. Director Sue Kim has done a great job of telling the stories of both characters. Audiences will be torn between who they want to win. But more engaging is how the two interact after the end of the championships. It is a great moment that will stay with the audience.
There are plenty of documentaries about how simple competition can tear people apart. The Speed Cubers is built around competition, but it is all about the understanding and kindness between two people. The story is correctly told straight and to the point. It is a feel good documentary that is great for these tumultuous times.
The Speed Cubers premieres July 29 on Netflix.
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