June 27, 2012

Dark Horse - Angelika

Mike: We're both big Todd Solondz fans so we couldn't pass up on seeing his latest, Dark Horse, on opening night, especially when a post-screening Q&A with Solondz was promised. I never saw Solondz's very first, early feature, but I've seen and really liked everything he's done starting with Welcome to the Dollhouse. While Dark Horse doesn't rank among his best, it's another fine offering from Solondz, who has yet to disappoint me. I do tend to like Solondz best when his characters are more grounded in reality. Dark Horse is a bit more dreamlike, and when you're trying to figure out what's real and what isn't, that can be a bit distracting. But that was really the only thing that kept me from loving this film. The biggest revelation is the main character Abe, played by Broadway actor Jordan Gelber, with whom Solondz delivers a larger-than-life character who is hard to forget.

The Q&A following the movie was very interesting. Solondz is someone who keeps an air of mystery around his films, trying not to divulge what anything specifically means or represents. I was impressed by how diplomatically he answered everyone's questions - often not necessarily answering the question but nonetheless supplying a satisfying response.

Erica: One of my favorite movies is Welcome to the Dollhouse. One of the most disturbing movies I have ever seen is Happiness. All from the same mind of Todd Solondz. Was I excited about this movie? You know it. Also, in a rare move, Solondz did a Q and A. He is a very reserved person and rarely does appearances, so this was an added treat. I really enjoyed the movie. I liked the dreamlike aspect of this film. This is one of my new favorite Solondz movies. Throughout the course of the movie, you emphasize with Abe, you can't stand him, you hate him and want him to succeed all at the same time.  You want to root for him but then you realize he doesn't do anything to change his unhappiness, which is within his control. I say definitely check this movie out (obviously not in your local multiplex as they are filled with blockbuster movies, not interesting indie films).

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