DARK HORSE Send This Review to a Friend
Jordon Gelber as Abe and his romance with Selma Blair as Miranda in writer-director Todd Solondz’s “Dark Horse” remind me of the old film “Marty, “ in which two misfits find happiness together. But while “Marty” was warm and romantic, “Dark Horse” is dark, sad and delusional.
Gelber gives an excellent portrayal as Abe, a dark horse of a loser who projects a flamboyant personality as if he sees himself as a winner. He lives with his parents and works in his father’s business. His father, played by Christopher Walken, puts up with his failings until they reach a breaking point. One of the film’s pleasures is watching restrained Walken’s withering looks that can be quite funny. Abe’s mother is played by Mia Farrow as an ineffectual, subdued wife who tolerates having a son like Abe and looks for excuses for him. Abe is annoyed by his brother Richard (Justin Bartha), a successful doctor in contrast to Abe’s nothingness.
At a wedding we find Abe sitting a a table with the lonely, pathetic and almost catatonic looking Miranda, played with the demeanor of another loser. But Abe becomes smitten, and to Miranda’s surprise, soon says he’ll marry her. She takes in it stride and agrees. The effect is of the two getting together without any emotional sparks. But aren’t they made for each other?
Abe will learn that Miranda has a medical condition with which to cope. He will also meet her ex-boyfriend (Aasif Mandvi) as the arrogant Mahmoud, who is contemptuous of Abe.
The film takes a bizarre turn when Abe begins to let his imagination run wild—hallucinating would be a better description. But at least this leads to an interesting vision of the excellent actress Donna Murphy as Marie, a long-time employee of Abe’s father, turning into a torrid sexually seductive cougar. Murphy gives the film some much-needed oomph.
“Dark Horse” emerges a sad portrait of misfits filtered through the complex, interesting vision of filmmaker Solondz, perhaps most fondly remembered for his early, intriguing “Welcome to the Dollhouse.” A Brainstorm Media and Double Hope Films release.