Dark Horse - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Dark Horse Reviews

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July 29, 2016
Todd Solondz' latest film is for better-or-worse same-old same-old. Filled with indie film watersheds (dream sequences, likable/unlikable main character, ironic use of music) it's easy to see Dark Horse as being a rather derivative film, but perhaps even more upsetting is that it doesn't even build to a satisfying climax. Still, the film certainly has its great moments of quirkiness, and its themes about loneliness are certainly admirable. It's a longshot from Happiness or Welcome to the Dollhouse (arguably his only two good films), but it might be a step in the right direction for Solondz.
July 22, 2016
Misanthropic: YES. Well-Directed:YES. The story gets unnecessary twists and turns that make a fool of the viewer in the end. I can't give it more than 2 stars.
½ May 4, 2016
Very peculiar film. I'm not sure exactly what Todd Solondz is trying to say in this film. It's an interesting character piece but it feels scatterbrained.
½ December 22, 2015
Todd Solondz has a reputation of character studying depressing, nasty characters. But some characters, are just so nasty, is it even worth studying them to begin with. Dark Horse focuses on Abe. Abe is an utterly gross human being. Every time he was onscreen, I wanted to dry heave. He's sweaty looking and painfully obnoxious. Every person he comes in contact with, he just treats like garbage. Worst of all, he thanklessly lives with his parents, whom he really hates, because they would constantly favor his successful brother over him. Solondz wants us to sympathize with this character. Good luck, folks. There isn't a shred of likability in this character. He acts like a petty bitch from the get-go. His negativity effects everyone around him. He's certainly not the victim that Solondz wants us to believe he is. It's not like he was the victim of neglect or abuse of any sort. If a dark, sad past was established, then I would whole-heartedly sympathize with what we could all agree is a broken man. Abe isn't broken. He's intentionally a scumbag. On a narrative level, it really doesn't work. Nothing really moves forward from the basis of our main character lashing out at everyone close to him, just because he's a proud man-child. I'm was just annoyed by it all. Probably not as annoyed, however, as Toys R' Us, demanding that the film digitally blur out their name from the picture... So I guess there's that.
April 11, 2015
One of the few truly Surreal films I've seen from an American director. Fantastic. One of the best films of 2012.
March 9, 2015
This would probably be my third-favorite Todd Solondz film - after Happiness and Welcome to the Dollhouse, to be sure, but slightly ahead of Palindromes and miles ahead of Storytelling. It's perhaps a slightly friendlier and more restrained Solondz than we had seen before - still far beyond the pale of where most filmmakers would dare go, of course, but still slightly toned down compared to the utter bleakness and degeneracy portrayed earlier in his career.

Jordan Gelber plays Abe, a 30-something manchild who has stopped developing psychologically or socially since he was 13 years old or so; he's a classic case of arrested development, overly sheltered by his milquetoast parents (Christopher Walken and Mia Farrow) and jealous of his much more successful brother (Justin Bartha). He meets a similarly damaged woman (Selma Blair) and very inappropriately proposes marriage; but she is so depressed that she actually accepts him. Things don't go well from there.

As always, Solondz excels at portraying suburban neurosis and misery with poker-faced irony; it's always hard to tell whether Solondz has outright contempt for his miserable characters, or whether he's simply examining them like an anthropologist. This movie does feel slightly more openly sympathetic to Abe that it might have had it come earlier in Solondz's career. We do end up kind of caring about Abe, even though his total awfulness is plain to see. Selma Blair, a generally under-appreciated actress, gives a convincing performance as someone almost unspeakably depressed. Christopher Walken is hilarious, as always, though he does so this time by not trying to be. Mia Farrow's performance as Abe's mother is quite good at eliciting sympathy for a woman who has to deal with her screw-up of a son.

The movie's dark, cynical humor won't appeal to a lot of people, but it's exactly the sort of thing I enjoy. My main criticism of the film would be that it detours into some strange choices in the last 15 minutes or so. While the ending certainly isn't predictable or boring, I'm not convinced it really fits with everything that's come before. Basically, if you're a Solondz fan, you'll like it; if you're not a Solondz fan (and statistically, you probably aren't), it might actually be a better place to start with his work than some of his earlier films are.
½ January 10, 2015
The scene where both sets of parents sit on the couch with their newly engaged children captures the awkwardness like only Solondz can. Selma Blair is phenomenal.
½ November 15, 2014
I wanted to like this film, premise set up lends to be successful. Perhaps Gelber's performance is too good as being an unlikeable loser, as I could not find any enjoyment in his offput character.
½ August 11, 2014
Starts off hilarious and then slowly unravels into typical Todd Solondz dreck.
July 11, 2014
This movie is awesome. I loved every minute of it but the soundtrack is rather annoying. It sounds like something from an episode of Barney and Friends. I like that the movie doesn't try to be happy, this isn't Hollywood, this is real life and I like that.
May 28, 2014
A few inscrutable moments aside (receipts for girlfriends), Dark Horse is a short story on celluloid, bound to get better with every passing year, if only for that brilliant final moment.
May 20, 2014
I honestly don't know why I liked this movie, it was kinda like a depressing Napoleon Dynamite set in New Jersey, but I did, I liked it.
½ April 29, 2014
The worst film in history
½ April 6, 2014
Ok, but not Solondz's best. The characters aren't very likeable/relatable (unless you are a thirty something man child/woman child living with your parents). I wanted to see more of these characters' shy, sad interior worlds. This film just doesn't have the catharsis of Happiness or the poignant "outsiderness" of Welcome to the Dollhouse.
Super Reviewer
½ March 20, 2014
Kinda like a tragic dark twisted fantasy. My favorite Solondz film in a while. Much better than I thought, but not for everyone.
March 16, 2014
A morality tale about the dangers of comparison and categorization, resentment, self-pity, and letting sibling rivalry get the better of you. It's a Solondz movie. You know how it ends.
March 16, 2014
I feel this is the film where Todd Solondz is his most emphatic. The characters here are sad and hurt but hardly the pathetic victims of scorn that he seemed to revel in. For me this was a powerful film, funny, honest, and in the end heartbreaking.
Super Reviewer
March 2, 2014
In "Dark Horse," Abe(Jordan Gelber) is a 35-year old man who still lives at home with his parents(Christopher Walken & Mia Farrow). He also works at his father's real estate office where he keeps some of the toys he collects and has problems completing the simplest of tasks such as spreadsheets without the help of Marie(Donna Murphy), his father's secretary. At a wedding, Abe meets Miranda(Selma Blair, who is very good) who is also the only other person not participating in a dance number. So, he asks her out. And on their first date, he asks her to marry him.

At first, we all know people like Abe in real life who have nothing original to say and without anything to truly call their own, despite living a life of relative affluence. That's not to mention his being overweight and prematurely balding.(But he does have a model toy Dalek. And hey I have that Doctor Who poster!) No matter how much any of that may be true, it does not make "Dark Horse" any easier to watch. However, the movie eventually moves from bad weird to good weird, as Abe's interior thoughts and dreams take on a surreal life of their own with a yellow color pattern to match.
February 28, 2014
gr8 cast in this off-beat comedy but its not that funny s/b com-dram.
½ January 26, 2014
Todd Solondz again delivers with a good dark comedy. However, this film seems more aimed at families than his normal fan base. As much as I wanted to fall in love with this film, I felt myself unable to get past some of the jokes. However, I did enjoy the film. Solondz strikes again.
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