Watch: Dark Horse 2011 123movies, Full Movie Online – Abe Wertheimer – an odious, purposeless, self-centered 35-year-old living parasitically with his parents (by choice) and working in his dismayed father’s business office (avoiding work while scoping eBay for collectible toys) – meets Miranda, an equally pathetic but self-loathing social dropout who, having given up on life, masochistically accepts Abe’s sudden proposal of marriage for a knowingly grim future she won’t fight against. Along with projecting his own faults onto his father, his own jealousy for lack of success and accomplishment onto his younger brother, and wallowing in the blind support of his mother, it’s just another aspect of Abe’s unsatisfying life that he just can’t see to improve. A long-overdue decision finally spins his insignificant life out of control..
Plot: Abe is a man who is in his thirties and who lives with his parents. He works regretfully for his father while pursuing his hobby of collecting toys. Aware that his family doesn’t think highly of him, he tries to spark a relationship with Miranda, who recently moved back home after a failed literary/academic career. Miranda agrees to marry Abe out of desperation, but things go awry.
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And Down the Stretch He Goes…
Director Todd Solondz returns to the land of melancholy with “Dark Horse,” his latest serio-comic look at some of life’s semi-lovable losers. I say “semi-lovable” because Solondz’s characters often contain a dark streak of ‘nasty’ inside them, and this nastiness often manifests itself in disturbing ways.
Such is the case with Abe (Jordan Gelber,) a thirty-something man-child still living in the action-figure-adorned bedroom of his parents’ home. Abe, who passes most days at his father’s office avoiding work while trolling eBay for collectibles, finds himself at a wedding seated next to Miranda, an equally socially-awkward and very possibly damaged woman (Selma Blair.) After one date, Abe proposes to Miranda. Her rationale for accepting his proposal is the funniest and most depressing scene in the film. You find yourself laughing, and then quickly wondering how many people end up getting married for EXACTLY the same reasons as Miranda, without readily admitting it.
Abe’s troubles mount as he finds himself having to deal with the ramifications of his rash decision. His parents (the marvelously restrained Christopher Walken and the equally marvelously restrained Mia Farrow) may be the original source of his troubles. His father constantly compares him to his more successful brother. His mother just wants him to accept his perennial-loser status, but she does it in the most kind and loving way.
None of this excuses Abe’s selfishness and irrational sense of entitlement. Abe’s doubts about his actions take the form of imaginary meetings and conversations with the people frustrating him in his life. (The narrative does get a bit muddled here.) His self-centeredness has devastating consequences, for others, but ultimately for himself. This ‘dark horse’ is not going to surprise us with a win.
Solondz leads this “Horse” well, but he can’t make it drink. He doesn’t disappoint, but he doesn’t really surprise us either. The performances are uniformly fine. Gelber in particular does a good job of walking the tightrope of character between genuinely unpleasant and sadly unaware. Blair gets credit for playing Miranda as something other than a carbon copy or even a reverse negative image of Abe. Miranda is sadly aware of the pathetic nature of her life, and her bluntness in dealing with it is refreshing.
“Dark Horse” won’t have you rolling in the aisles. You’ll smile some, chuckle once or twice, and wince a lot. Standard Solondz, but that’s better than most.
A KVIFF screening, my second Todd Solondz’s film since HAPPINESS (1998, an 8/10), DARK HORSE is a pretty dark comedy, thoroughly enjoyable, but besides the bountiful gags, wisecracks and well-crafted comedy performances, the film’s nucleus is an out-and-out tragedy of an overweight loser, Abe (a niche for recent prospering nerdish protagonist, over 30, living with his parents, working in his father’s company, etc.), who is blindly optimistic to embrace his life, pursue his love and all eventually being shattered into pieces.
The film appeals to a more sensible crowd who is yearning a decent comedy without crude schlock, but Todd Solondz’s understatement of the misery undertow has its energy accumulated along the storytelling, and delicately finesses the credibility between real world and Abe’s illusionary world (with a scene-stealing Donna Murphy in her two-sided role in the two paralleled orbits, unassuming and loving in one and titillating and overweening in another, very much conforms to the comedic tone).
Leading man Jordan Gelber is a no-name, whose plump appearance and happy-go-lucky attitude is quintessentially familiar with anyone who are imbued with soap opera (from small screen) or slapstick (from a bigger screen) mad of U.S.A. A glum-faced Selma Blair is pitch- perfect in her weirdo-with-a-pretty-face disguise, under the premise that still she is way out of Abe’s league. Veterans Christopher Walken and Mia Farrow are Abe’s parents, stay true in their respectively satirical default, a stubborn father and an indulgent mother.
Although I have missed many Solondz’s films between the 14-year-gap, but just compared with HAPPINESS, DARK HORSE is less ambitious and more friendly without many cinematic taboos (I barely remember the details of HAPPINESS, but nothing would erase the boy’s sperm at the end of film out of my brain cells in these 14 years), meanwhile is equally funny and provocative, and which should have attracted a broader group of demography to enroll in Solondz’s camp.
Original Language en
Runtime 1 hr 26 min (86 min)
Rated Not Rated
Genre Comedy, Drama
Director Todd Solondz
Writer Todd Solondz
Actors Jordan Gelber, Selma Blair, Christopher Walken
Country United States
Awards 4 nominations
Production Company N/A
Sound Mix DTS, Dolby Digital
Aspect Ratio 1.85 : 1
Film Length N/A
Negative Format N/A
Cinematographic Process N/A
Printed Film Format Digital