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Dark Horse [Blu-ray] (2011)

Justin Bartha , Selma Blair , Todd Solondz  |  R |  Blu-ray
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Dark Horse [Blu-ray] + Life During Wartime (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] + Happiness
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Product Details

  • Actors: Justin Bartha, Selma Blair, Mia Farrow, Jordan Gelber, Donna Murphy
  • Directors: Todd Solondz
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Virgil Films and Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: November 13, 2012
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B008ZQ4W5U
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #284,912 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In his mid-30s, Abe (Jordan Gelber) clings to the trappings of his adolescence, including the extensive collection of toys and action figures adorning his boyhood bedroom. Still living with his parents Jackie (Christopher Walken) and Phyllis (Mia Farrow), Abe works for his increasingly disappointed Dad and spends evenings ruthlessly trouncing his Mom at backgammon. His older brother Richard's (Justin Bartha) success as a California doctor only feeds Abe's resentment and rage at his family over his failures.

When Abe meets Miranda (Selma Blair), whose personal and professional disasters have sent her scrambling back to the safety of her parents' suburban home, he sees what he thinks is a chance at true love. Abe throws himself into pursuing the overmedicated Miranda, convincing her to marry him after a whirlwind courtship. But, as the couple haltingly prepares to start a new life together, the film swerves into Abe's subconscious, where his crippling self-doubt and dark fears begin to undermine his nearly realized dream of a fuller life.


"...Solondz's most waywardly endearing film, his gentlest triumph..." --Richard Corliss, TIME

"Solondz brilliantly -- triumphantly -- transforms what might have been an exercise in easy satirical cruelty into a tremendously moving argument for the necessity of compassion." --A.O. Scott, The New York Times

"We feel contempt. We feel pity. We shudder and identify. It is a vortex drawing us down into dark defeat and yet admitting glimmers of hope." --Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars NO CREDIT, NO EXCHANGE, NO REFUND December 3, 2012
There is nothing like getting two dysfunctional people together to create a successful quirky indie. What I liked about this film more than many of the others in this genre such as "Jack Goes Boating" or "Greenberg" is that I felt comfortable laughing at the plight of the main characters.

Abe (Jordan Gelber) works for his dad and lives at home with his parents (Mia Farrow/ Christopher Walken). He still collects toys and hasn't reached his maturity potential. He lives in the shadow of his successful brother (Justin Bartha). At a wedding, Abe meets Miranda (Selma Blair) a shy, overly medicated woman once married to Mahmoud (Aasif Mandvi). Abe is supported by his secretary (Donna Murphy) who becomes his imaginary conscience.

The setting takes place somewhere in New Jersey between Eagles and Giants country. The title "Dark Horse" is a reference to Abe. His dad likes dark horses. i.e. like the old days when the Giants would lose, but cover the point spread. Abe proposes to Miranda on their second meeting, which she ponders over in her medicated state which is apt for the tone of the film:

Miranda: "I want to want you."
Abe: "That's enough for me."

I liked the toy details and shirt selection of Abe. Indie movies pay attention to background details. Although I would have to ask Todd Solondz (writer, director) what real toy collector would remove the Gimli Toybiz figurine from its pack? The "Toys R Us" store logo is blurred out, apparently there being some legal issue. The film gave me a few laughs, worth a view for indie fans. Acting was great.

If you don't like Indie films based on quirky characters with little action, then this is not for you.

Parental Guide: F-bombs. No sex or nudity.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Different Direction from Todd Solondz November 17, 2012
Dark Horse is the latest film from Todd Solondz and is a markedly different animal from his previous films. It still maintains his misanthropic spirit but it's lacking much of the provocative material that so often brings attention to his work. That's not to say Dark Horse isn't provocative; it just shows Solondz at his most gentle and forgiving.

Solondz has long had a knack for great opening scenes and this is no exception. Abe (Jordan Gelber), an overweight and balding man, sits at a wedding next to Miranda (Selma Blair). He begins hitting on her, completely unaware of her disinterest. Following her outside, he asks for her phone number and seems oblivious to her obvious reluctance to give it. From here Abe goes home and we see he epitomizes arrested development. He lives with his parents (Christopher Walken and Mia Farrow) in a room filled with action figures, he works for his father but brings nothing to the company, he blames all of his problems on the failings of others; he hates his brother Richard (Justin Bartha), a successful doctor, feeling that he received special attention that Abe didn't. In one scene he reacts childishly after trying and failing to return an action figure that has a scratch mark on it. Despite her obviously medicated state, Abe attempts to court Miranda and eventually asks her to marry him. Meanwhile, whether real or imagined, Abe is often confronted by Marie (Donna Murphy) a much older co-worker at his father's company, who warns Abe of his potentially disastrous decision making.

Much of Dark Horse seems to function in and out of reality and fantasy.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing. Hillarious. Thoughtfull. Better than The Master. September 23, 2012
Format:Amazon Instant Video|Verified Purchase
Yeah I said it. I enjoyed this more than The Master which I saw on the same day as this. The Master was beautiful in many ways but this movie leaves you with so much more. Justin Bartha deserves an Oscar nomination for bringing this miserable character to life with out making him annoying or any more ridiculous than he needed to be. Donna Murphy was also incredible and deserves all the supporting actress awards that will be bestowed upon others.

No one makes movies like Todd Solondz. One of the only true independent filmmakers out there. Shoe string budget, unconventional storytelling, great performances and respect for the audience. Check this out while you have the chance. I would love to see more films like this (that are only released in a handful of cities) receive the accessibility and cost effectiveness of the digital format. Doesn't replace seeing it in the theater but if you live in bum-f*** Utah this might be your only shot.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark Horse October 8, 2012
Format:Amazon Instant Video|Verified Purchase
I liked this film. It reminded me of Solondz film "Storytelling." I like the characters and I like the way they all have faults, some of them more severe than others. It's too bad this film didn't get a wider thearical release. It only stayed in San Diego one week, and I couldn't make it that week. I'm looking forward to purchasing the blu-ray when it is released.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "What can I say? I like a winner." March 15, 2013
Todd Solondz has at this point firmly established himself as the preeminent chronicler of the rotten underbelly of suburbia. His characters are often vile, deplorable, riddled with insecurities; they tend to be delusional and manipulative. Solondz takes the peripheral characters, the ones who would usually only be around to solicit our pity or to give us a few sadistic laughs, and places them front and center, warts and all. He doesn't diminish their faults, nor does he force us to sympathize with them -- he is uncompromising in detailing their each and every flaw -- and yet, by the end of a Todd Solondz film, we do; so fully drawn are all of his characters that we cannot help but have a vested interest.

In his best work, Solondz achieves a delicate tone pitched somewhere between sympathy and pity. We can hate his characters for how horribly they treat those around them, but ultimately, they are doing the greatest damage to themselves. Whether overwrought or oblivious, his best characters all possess one fatal flaw: debilitating self-involvement.

In this regard, the protagonist of his latest film Dark Horse may be the ultimate Solondz schmuck. Abe Wertheimer, played impeccably and without vanity by Jordan Gelber, is in many ways the sad reality of the glorified Apatow man-child. An overweight thirty-something who still lives with his parents Jackie and Phyllis (Christopher Walken and Mia Farrow), Abe is a case-study of arrested development: his tiny polka-dotted bedroom is adorned with action figures, Simpsons DVDs, Dr.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly boring. Don't waste your money and time.
Published 3 months ago by carlita salazar
3.0 out of 5 stars Change of Pace for Todd Solondz, Director of "Welcome to the...
If you know something about films of Todd Solondz ("Welcome to the Dollhouse" "Happyness"), you know what you are going to see in "Dark Horse. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Tsuyoshi
2.0 out of 5 stars BAD SOUND&PICTURE FROZE UP
i tend to like todd solondz films but this copy had audio issues(from the light scratches&ring around it&kinda made it hard to follow with it freezing up&the sound going in&out
Published 16 months ago by Jimmy A.
3.0 out of 5 stars Generic Loser Romance
A fat man living with and working for his parents meets a morose numb woman who seems to go out with him just to make her ex-boyfriend jealous. Read more
Published 17 months ago by mr. contrarian
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly Solondz's Best
This movie is like if George Castanza from Seinfeld fell in love with April Ludgate from Parks and Recreation. Solondz himself described it as a darker Judd Apatow film.
Published 21 months ago by jonathan stephen ott
4.0 out of 5 stars One of Solondz best
Maybe not as great as Happiness or Storytelling, but a million times better than Life During Wartime. Definitely highly recommended.
Published 22 months ago by T. Batten
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT MOVIE!!!!!!!!
AWESOME!!!!!!!! my favorite film of the year so so so so good i can't wait to buy it and watch it a million times!
Published 23 months ago by Gabriel Goss
3.0 out of 5 stars A slow moving and pretty depressing drama with great acting. The movie...
"Sweetie, we've written you off as a failure years ago." Abe (Gelber) is a toy collector and a slacker. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Tony Heck
4.0 out of 5 stars Perplexing
I was enjoying this movie a lot until one of the characters told the central character, 'You had every possible advantage'. I thought, what? Read more
Published on October 17, 2012 by Jonathan Carr
2.0 out of 5 stars Jaundiced, in a Bad Way
It's conventional wisdom to say that Tod Solondz has a jaundiced view of humanity and that his films are strange, sick, negative things. Read more
Published on October 16, 2012 by Scott McFarland
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