Dark Horse

"Very Good"

Dark Horse Review


Solondz takes another hilariously pitch-black exploration of human behaviour with a film populated by excellent actors playing seriously messed-up characters. And it can't help but force us to look at how we interact with people around us.

Even though he's essentially a pampered slacker, Abe (Gelber) exudes confidence, relentlessly going after the depressed Miranda (Blair) despite her hesitance. Living in the shadow of his successful doctor brother (Bartha), Abe works for his father (Walken), but does virtually nothing and resents the fact that his hard-working cousin (Booth) gets the credit. But then Abe feels hard-done by everyone he encounters, creating an arch-rival in Miranda's ex (Mandvi). But at no point does Abe's inner life come close to the reality around him.

This constant comical disconnect makes the film thoroughly amusing, as we see everything through Abe's warped perspective. His relationship with his mother (Farrow) is seriously twisted. And he fantasises that his dad's secretary Marie (Murphy) has an outrageous private life that goes way beyond rescuing him in the office. And everything becomes menacing when things don't go his way. He thinks of himself as a dark horse who's about to make good, when actually he's more privileged than everyone around him.

Intriguingly, Solondz never passes judgement on Abe beyond letting him suffer the ramifications of his own terrible decisions. This is a rather fatalistic approach, but it gives the film a darkly amusing tone that's matched by the colourful production values and song score, plus performances packed with details and surprises. Gelber is a charming idiot at the centre of the story; like those around him, we hope he'll snap out of himself long enough to come good. But the odds aren't in his favour.

The entire cast is terrific. Since we're seeing everything through Abe's perspective, most characters are somewhat one-sided, but Solondz and the actors stir in constant little quirks that make everyone engaging. Murphy has the most complex role, since we see her in a variety of real and fantastical settings that tell us more than we know. And Blair has the best line in a film that's full of great ones. But the real kick is learning that most of the time we bet on the wrong dark horse.



Dark Horse

Facts and Figures

Run time: 86 mins

In Theaters: Friday 29th June 2012

Box Office USA: $0.2M

Distributed by: Vitagraph Films

Production compaines: Picturehouse Entertainment, Channel Four Films, Film 4

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 70%
Fresh: 50 Rotten: 21

IMDB: 5.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

The latest adaptation of Agatha Christie's 83-year-old classic whodunit, this lavish, star-studded film is old-style...

Paddington 2 Movie Review

Paddington 2 Movie Review

The first Paddington movie in 2014 is already such a beloved classic that it's hard...

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

Everyone's back from last year's undemanding adult comedy, plus some starry new cast members, for...

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Filmmaker S. Craig Zahler brought a blast of offbeat creativity to the Western genre two...

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

Fans of the film In the Loop and the TV series Veep will definitely not...

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Set in northern Italy in the summer of 1983, this internationally flavoured drama is a...

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

The most riotously enjoyable Marvel movie yet, this action epic benefits hugely from the decision...

Advertisement
Breathe Movie Review

Breathe Movie Review

While this biopic has the standard sumptuous production values of a British period drama, it's...

The Snowman Movie Review

The Snowman Movie Review

With a cast and crew packed with A-list talent, this film seems like it should...

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.