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Dark Matter


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Product Details

  • Actors: Meryl Streep, Aidan Quinn, Ye Liu, Erick Avari
  • Directors: Shi-Zheng Chen
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Screen Media
  • DVD Release Date: April 14, 2009
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001RTCP24
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,280 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Dark Matter" on IMDb

Editorial Reviews

Elite local patron Mary (Meryl Streep) welcomes Chinese student Ye Liu to Valley State University, where he enters with dreams of fame and a Nobel Prize. But cultural differences and school politics threaten his ambitions and result in unimaginable violence. Based on actual events, Dark Matter is a thrilling examination of the origins of the universe, the dark side of cutthroat academics, and the pursuit of the American dream.

Customer Reviews

It was well acted.
Critical Viewer
Unfortunately, in this current era, the ending was all too plausible and was truly a "Dark Matter".
Mary M
Admittedly the Chinese student coming to America to pursue his dream of obtaining his Ph.
D. Michael Elkins

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 18, 2009
Format: DVD
DARK MATTER is a film that will polarize audiences: for those who seek understanding of the clashes between science and 'religion' and the matrix from which tragedy grows the film will appeal, and for the audiences who demand tidy stories with happy resolutions the film will not please. Apparently 'based on true events', this story has many layers that invite discussion and reveals some facts about the American Academia that many would rather not know.

Liu Xing (Ye Liu) comes from a poor family in Beijing, but rises to hopeful heights due to his exceptional scientific intelligence and is invited to a prestigious university to study with Cosmology professor Jacob Reiser (Aidan Quinn), the author of the Reiser String Theory - the entire universe is tied into a compact single ball of cosmic wax. Liu Xing encounters initial success not only academically but also as a fresh young student, barely able to speak English, who is taken under the wing of the kind matron of Chinese culture, Johanna Silver (Meryl Streep). Liu Xing develops his own theory that the universe is united by massive amounts of unseen Dark Matter. When the student's theory conflicts with Reiser's theory, the negative results begin to affect each of the characters: Liu Xing sees his dream of earning a PhD in Cosmology and winning the Nobel Prize for his theory destroyed by the powers of academia and as he watches his fellow Chinese students succeed, he is plagued with low self esteem as he attempts to support his family in Beijing with money earned selling cosmetics door to door. The downfall of a simple genius destroyed by the inner workings of academia leads to unimaginable tragedy.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By David R. Eastwood on September 20, 2009
Format: DVD
DARK MATTER is a harrowing movie about a young genius's attempt to earn a Ph.D., share his ground-breaking ideas about the universe, and improve the lives of his parents and himself. Well scripted and well acted, it rings true.

SPOILER ALERT: at the end, after being repeatedly thwarted by his major advisor/professor and his committee, he "goes postal." All of us who follow the news can recall similar horrific conclusions to real-life stories of academic pressure and frustration.

Looking back on my own career, as a retired college professor who taught for 37 years and who spent 6 years earning my own advanced degrees, I can vouch for the general nastiness of the academic world since the late 1950s. Most academics, despite pretensions to living in an Ivory Tower, swim in a Shark Tank--and sadly many of those who succeed in that environment become the sort of shark-like person who perpetuates it. Power corrupts, whether in government, businesses, or our universities.

Viewers/reviewers who were expecting any sort of upbeat ending to this film were probably not paying attention--or perhaps were imagining they were seeing an academic film that was kindred to A BEAUTIFUL MIND (2002) or GOOD WILL HUNTING (1998).

Liu Xing (Ye Liu), Johanna Silver (Meryl Streep), and Jacob Reiser (Aidan Quinn) are the three main characters (stars) of this film--respectively the genius graduate student, the helpful and sympathetic culture maven, and the powerful, egotistical, self-promoting professor.

Watch this at your own peril. By the way, I do not plan to recommend this to many of my academic friends: most of them are good souls with tender hearts, who would find it stirring up far too many bad memories about their own careers.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By E. (Harry) Hernandez VINE VOICE on December 12, 2010
Format: DVD
DARK MATTER (2007) was quite a shock to me, not the least of which was comprised of how bad the film was as a truth-based tale. As pure cinema, it was also rather dull, silly and lackluster.

The true event on which it's based, consisting of plasma physicist Dr. Gang Lu and his crimes at University of Iowa in Iowa City in 1991, speaks eloquently not only to the suspicion/racism shown toward the Chinese in America, but most loudly to the problem of graduate students and their dissertations. However relevant, all this had nothing to do with the true story.

This weirdly paced, phantasmagoric rendition of the true story stars the beautiful and charismatic Liu Ye (CURSE OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER) as Liu Qing, a highly strung theoretical physics student attending some mythical college. His 'doctorate' professor, a true bastard named Jacob Reiser (a very sinister Aidan Quinn), hates the Chinese. When he accepts Liu as his student, one can see the look of a wolf in his eyes. He's going to destroy this particular student because the student is light years ahead of them all.

As a run-up to the film, "The New York Times" ran the true story of this unfortunately unhinged student in its SCIENCE section: "A Tale of Power and Intrigue in the Lab, Based on Real Life" (27 March 2007). It speaks of the pressures of the Chinese college students, especially in the face of the "one-child policy", which places the entire burden for the family on the one child.

What I saw here first and foremost was Einstein's life all over again - something similar was done to him as a college student. Though he did not kill anyone, he certainly lost his mind and it took him a year to recuperate. He wanted nothing to do with science during that year, from age 19 to 20.
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