Dark Horse

Dark Horse

Tempering his trademark lacerating humour with unexpected tenderness, Solondz creates a poignant and provocative portrait of two dysfunctional thirty-somethings, their plans to marry and a besieged man-child and his fractured family. 3.2 out of 5 based on 12 reviews
Dark Horse

Omniscore:

Certificate
Genre Comedy
Director Todd Solondz
Cast Selma Blair, Christopher Walken Jordan Gelber
Studio Axiom Films
Release Date June 2012
Running Time
 

Tempering his trademark lacerating humour with unexpected tenderness, Solondz creates a poignant and provocative portrait of two dysfunctional thirty-somethings, their plans to marry and a besieged man-child and his fractured family.

Reviews

Empire Magazine

Kim Newman

A wry black comedy which manages uncomfortable empathy with its protagonist. If a typical Seth Rogen, Zach Galifianakis or Jonah Hill character were a real person, they’d be Jordan Gelber’s Abe, a whiny man-baby who seethes with resentment at the brother who betrayed him by graduating and becoming a doctor.

26/06/2012

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The Financial Times

Nigel Andrews

Solondz is a master of malfunctioning lives and hearts, though his masterpiece is still Happiness. Dark Horse, slighter, retains a skilled poetry of disorder and warped order. I loved the identical recurring shots of Abe’s bright yellow Hummer pulling up at Miranda’s house, as if straight off a Yellow Brick Turnpike. A fairy tale turned feral is what we get.

28/06/2012

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The Daily Mail

Chris Tookey

A lot of people will find Abe dislikeable, and wonder why on earth anyone would want to make a film about him. Solondz’s reply would be, I imagine, that he’s trying to look at the human condition more clearly than Hollywood films traditionally do. It should all be terribly depressing, but Solondz’s astringent wit makes us empathise with Abe, even though it’s impossible not to be repelled by his petulance and tragically well-founded inferiority complex.

29/06/2012

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The New York Times

A. O. Scott

Solondz brilliantly — triumphantly — turns ... what might have been an exercise in easy satirical cruelty into a tremendously moving argument for the necessity of compassion. Again and again ... this director has blurred the boundary between misanthropy and humanism. He surveys the human geography of his native suburbia with what looks like unbridled disgust but is actually an unquenchable and steadfast love. “Dark Horse” may be his warmest, most generous movie, but it also casts a beam of empathy backward, illuminating the baffled, benighted, icky souls who have populated Mr. Solondz’s universe from the start.

07/06/2012

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The Daily Telegraph

Robbie Collin

Call it “Schlub, Actually”

29/06/2012

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Time Out

Dave Calhoun

The situation is delicious and the characters are to be viewed from behind the sofa, but Solondz loses sight of his story in the final act when he flits between this grim, if hilarious, reality and an extended fantasy sequence. And just when you think he’s going to rescue Abe from the inferno, Solondz does what he knows best: pushes him back into the flames.

28/06/2012

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The Times

Kate Muir

The story is listless and you too feel you have been lurking in his bedroom filled with plastic action figures for aeons.

29/06/2012

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Total Film

Neil Smith

Abe is no one’s idea of a catch. But when Miranda unexpectedly accepts his offer of marriage, it seems this “dark horse” may finally make good – provided he isn’t sabotaged by fate, chance and his crippling feelings of inadequacy. The latter manifest themselves in delusional dream sequences ... Yet this initially intriguing device suffers from overuse, the continual jumps between ‘reality’ and fantasy leaving us both confused and dissatisfied as the story dwindles towards its almost apologetic non-ending.

19/06/2012

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The Guardian

Peter Bradshaw

Sexual obsession, sibling rivalry, chilling despair … it can only be a film from Todd Solondz. Interestingly, Dark Horse is a Solondz film that is slightly different from his other movies: a little more muted, a little less alienated, a little more sympathetic.

28/06/2012

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The Independent

Anthony Quinn

It's hard to tell with Solondz, who seems to torment his characters to the point of desperation before he decides to forgive them instead. Dark Horse hasn't the ensemble brilliance and emotional daring of Happiness but it does at least uphold the film-maker's status as a one-off.

29/06/2012

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The Observer

Jason Solomons

Solondz's world of freeways, failures and fuck-ups is cruel – even the decor can mock viciously – but in his bitter humour I always find a twitch on the moral compass.

01/07/2012

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The Sunday Times

Edward Porter

I’ve never felt compassion was lacking in [Solondz's] work. What usually puts me off his films is their unsatisfying register — not quite funny, not quite poignant — and Dark Horse conforms to that type.

01/07/2012

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