Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini


Dark Matter

Dark Matter
Starring:
Liu Ye, Aidan Quinn and Meryl Streep


Rated: R 
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: May 16, 2008 Released by: First Independent Pictures

This delayed drama has gotten notoreity from last year's Virginia Tech shootings. And looks to have a brief shelf life, whether in theatres or in ancillary markets.

The turgid Dark Matter centers around a gifted Chinese graduate student (Liu Ye) at an unspecified university and is inspired by events which happened in 1991.

The script by Billy Shebar deals with cultural assimilation and academic politics of the student looking to attain a PhD in cosmology. Aidan Quinn (remembered for high-brow fare like Legends of the Fall) is good as the troubled student's professor who doesn't like it when his protege provides a thesis against his own (about dark matter formulating the universe).

Ye isn't helped by the uninspired direction by renowned opera and theatre veteran Chen Shi-Zheng, nor the story. He displays little passion necessary for the role, for such a bright ambitious person who cannot swallow his pride. Perhaps his best moment is opposite a wealthy, caring benefactor as played by Meryl Streep when cream is applied to her face.

Thus, the dark, final turn in Matter manifests how misguided the execution of a potential engaging concept was, given the moral ambiguity of its protagonist. Many will feel the coda to be tacked-on.

  Frank Chris Jim Sam Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
Dark Matter        C-               C- 

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