Dark Horse is the latest film from Todd Solondz. It is the sort of cruel comedy that only he can create. It is also his most accessible film to date. Dark Horse is a parody of the American man-child character. The sort of character usually played by Jason Segal. It leans more towards mainstream cinema than any of the directors other efforts. However, elements such as the overlap of characters from one film into another are still present in Dark Horse.
Dark Horse begins with a cheesy Euro-trash song that sets the tone for the music used throughout rest of the film. There is a continuous contradiction between the schmaltzy pop songs which form the sound track and the bleak outlook of the characters.
Miranda (Selma Blair) meets Abe (Jordan Gelber) at a wedding. He’s the sort of guy who proposes on a first date. She’s the sort of girl who’s desperate enough to accept. Abe sees himself as a dark horse. Miranda believes that it’s time to give up on her dreams and settle in to a future with a man that revolts her.
Abe works for his father (Christopher Walken) in a real estate agency. He spends his time in the office acquiring limited edition action figures on Ebay. Kind receptionist, Marie (Donna Murphy), does his work for him. Eventually, his father grows weary of these shenanigans and decides to cut him loose from the business. This ignites a surreal sequence of events in Abe’s life that bring him somewhere that he never anticipated.
Todd Solondz may have the darkest sense of humour ever committed to film. The movie is punctuated with a brutal view of the protagonist and the contemporary experience. The scene in which Abe tries to return an action figure to Toys ‘R Us, exemplifies the strange mixture of silly and savage used in Dark Horse. It’s comedy so black that you won’t know whether to laugh or to curl up into a ball on the floor. Well worth watching, particularly, as an introduction to the films of Solondz.