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Dark Horse [Blu-ray]
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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 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
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Thought this was another movie about a small village in England that's decides to buy and race a horse. Very upset.Published 1 month ago by Donna Ireland
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 morePublished on September 18, 2013 by Amazon Customer
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&outPublished on June 6, 2013 by Jimmy A.
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 morePublished on May 13, 2013 by mr. contrarian
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 on January 7, 2013 by jonathan stephen ott
Maybe not as great as Happiness or Storytelling, but a million times better than Life During Wartime. Definitely highly recommended.Published on December 10, 2012 by T. Batten
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