• R, 1 hr. 26 min.
  • Drama
  • Directed By:
    Chen Shi-Zheng
    In Theaters:
    Apr 11, 2008 Wide
    On DVD:
    Apr 14, 2009
  • First Independent Pictures


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Dark Matter Reviews

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Kelly Vance
East Bay Express

We know we're in strange territory from the opening shot.

Full Review Source: East Bay Express

August 15, 2011
Burl Burlingame
Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Xing is surprised to discover Western academics are just as ruthless as communist apparatchiks and, ill equipped emotionally to handle humiliation, he takes his guns to town.

Full Review Source: Honolulu Star-Advertiser | Original Score: 1.5/4

July 5, 2011
Leo Goldsmith

Begins with a shot of Meryl Streep practicing tai chi, and therein lies a precise encapsulation of the film's attitude toward the intersection of Eastern and Western cultures

Full Review Source: indieWIRE

August 8, 2009
Brian Orndorf

Buttressed by outstanding, unpredictable performances and a beguiling mood of raw nerve collegiate ambition, Matter develops erratically but intelligently.

Full Review Source: DVDTalk.com | Original Score: B

March 25, 2009
Nora Lee Mandel

Poignantly and sympathetically gets inside the confused head of an Asian immigrant rarely seen in film, a grad student flummoxed by American culture and academic politics.

Full Review Source: Film-Forward.com | Original Score: 7/10

December 7, 2008
Maureen M. Hart
Chicago Tribune
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The film does a fine job of displaying the contrasts between these tense, formalized Chinese students and the faux populist American academics.

Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune | Original Score: 3/4

October 18, 2008
Reyhan Harmanci
San Francisco Chronicle
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There is nothing wrong with taking inspiration from actual events, but it's a tricky business, and Dark Matter does no one right by sticking to the shocking conclusion.

Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle | Original Score: 1/4

May 2, 2008
Bob Strauss
Los Angeles Daily News

A remarkable whisper of a movie as well, for something that deals with a subject as alarming as campus violence.

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Daily News | Original Score: 2.5/4

April 18, 2008
Josh Rosenblatt
Austin Chronicle

There is no need for a scene in which your hero loses touch with reality via cockeyed camera trickery and thumping techno music.

Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle | Original Score: 2/5

April 18, 2008
Mark Olsen
Los Angeles Times
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It is easy to see the film as two movies crammed together, neither of them being very good.

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: 2/5

April 18, 2008
Gregory Kirschling
Entertainment Weekly
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Liu Ye is too inexpressive for his role's demands, and the movie doesn't build to his downfall: It just zaps itself there.

Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly | Original Score: C-

April 16, 2008
Sara Maria Vizcarrondo
Boxoffice Magazine

While imperfect, the high caliber of acting as well as these lucid moments in the earlier part of the film are strong and memorable highlights with which to leave the theatre.

Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine | Original Score: 3.5/5

April 14, 2008
Ken Fox
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Written by Billy Shebar and directed by opera director Chen Shi-Zheng, this visually sophisticated film has been criticized for turning a deeply disturbed individual into a "hero," but nothing could be further from the truth.

Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide | Original Score: 3/4

April 11, 2008
Lou Lumenick
New York Post
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There's little in Billy Shebar's script, the rambling direction by theater and opera helmer Chen Shi-Zheng - or Liu Ye's impassive performance as the student.

Full Review Source: New York Post | Original Score: 2/4

April 11, 2008
Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
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Director Chen Shi-Zheng's film has a graceful energy, and three strong performances help make this serene drama - and its shocking conclusion - quietly moving.

Full Review Source: New York Daily News | Original Score: 3/4

April 11, 2008
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
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Don't be fooled by the presence of Meryl Streep in the cast. This glum, inert psychological drama features little of her presence - and could have used much more.

Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor

April 11, 2008
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
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An unsuccessful mix of drama and social warning. Post-Virginia Tech, Dark Matter seems merely na´ve.

Full Review Source: Boston Globe | Original Score: 2/4

April 11, 2008
Stephen Holden
New York Times
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Dark Matter, with its view of cutthroat politics and competing egos inside a university, is also laudable in its refusal to soft-pedal the viciously petty side of the academic fishbowl.

| Original Score: 4/5

April 11, 2008
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Spirituality and Practice

A sharp and engaging study of the yearning for academic success; unfortunately, its impact is thrown out the window with a shocking and depressing finale.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/5

April 11, 2008
Laura Clifford
Reeling Reviews

...an interesting study of Chinese students trying to assimilate into the American educational system that fails to lay the groundwork for its violent ending.

Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews | Original Score: C+

April 11, 2008
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