Dark Horse

July 29, 2012 at 8:57 am | Posted in 2012 | 1 Comment

◊ ◊ ½

I have always been a great fan of director/writer, Todd Solondz (“Welcome to the Dollhouse,” “Happiness,” “Palindromes,” etc.).  He is so unrelentingly dark and cynical about human nature (sort of the anti-John Cameron Mitchell) that it is hard to turn away from the train wrecks he puts on screen.  “Palindromes” remains a favorite film of mine.  While I enjoyed this one, I would not say I loved it.  Why?   Maybe, in the end, because it wasn’t as dark as his others; in fact, it was at times almost sentimental.  Well, not quite, but almost.  The dark horse of the title is Abe, a thoroughly self-involved and unlikeable man-child in his mid-30s still living with his parents and doing nothing as second-in-command at his father’s company.  His lazy self-entitlement and arrogance cover a repressed self-loathing that expresses itself in the form of imaginary conversations in which the people in his life criticize him and point out the obvious: he’s worthless.  Meanwhile, he pursues Miranda, a woman whose self-hatred is not at all repressed and who is too miserable to resist his charmlessness.  She’s played with a sort of vigorous weariness by Selma Blair, who reprises the role from Solondz’s “Storytelling” (He frequently has characters from previous films show up in later ones).  The trip inside Abe is, I think, a pretty honest look into an entitled mind, with some of the thinking errors and self-hatred that fester there.  I found that to be a worthwhile film maker’s endeavor, even if I felt that it didn’t go far enough, explore deep enough and, ultimately, ended too easily.

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  1. Love Todd Solondz! Welcome to the Dollhouse is one of my faves. I need to see Dark Horse now.


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