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Movie review: Against the odds, Solondz makes you care about central character in 'Dark Horse'

Posted 5:29pm on Thursday, Sep. 06, 2012

Unrated (strong language); 84 min.

Rhapsodically pathetic, the Hummer-driving schlub at the center of the new Todd Solondz film Dark Horse has hit his mid-30s without realizing just how many unfortunate personality traits fight every second for dominance of his everyday life. He's hostile, privileged, an insecure narcissist and it's not simply a Hummer he drives -- it's a yellow Hummer.

Abe, played by Jordan Gelber, lives at home with his parents, played by Christopher Walken and Mia Farrow. He works for his dad, though he's terrible at whatever he's supposed to be doing with spreadsheets.

In a compact, wittily humiliating 84 minutes, Dark Horse does a smart thing: It transforms from realism into a string of dreamscapes taking place in Abe's imagination, involving the sex life of his fellow office worker (Donna Murphy, on the money) and other bittersweet fancies.

Without turning soft, Solondz allows Abe a measure of grace amid his rage. Abe may deserve all that comes to him, but the question of how he got this way sustains the picture, against all odds.

Exclusive: Angelika Plano

-- Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune

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