- Rated: R
- Run Time: 1 hours, 30 minutes
- Video: Color
- Released: April 14, 2009
- Originally Released: 2008
- Label: Screen Media
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Packaging: Keep Case
- Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen - 1.78
- Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround English
- Subtitles: English, SDH, Spanish
Performers, Cast and Crew:
New York Times - 04/11/2008
"[A] movie of ideas that does an exemplary job of translating scientific speculation into layman's language."
A tiny film with a stellar cast, DARK MATTER is based on a real-life tragedy that occurred at the University of Iowa in 1991. It stars Liu Ye as Liu Xing, a gifted cosmology student who has just arrived from Beijing. Liu Xing is thrilled to be studying with Jake Reiser (Aidan Quinn), a famous cosmology professor who takes him under his wing. Liu Xing throws himself into his studies, and dreams of one day winning the Nobel Prize for his work on dark matter theories. Despite his happiness with his work, he finds himself struggling to assimilate to American culture. He has few American friends, save for his friendship with Joanna Silver (Meryl Streep), a wealthy older woman with a passion for Chinese culture. Liu Xing continues to excel at his work, but he soon finds a major breakthrough being thwarted by the competitive and controlling Professor Reiser. His great dreams of success quickly slip from his grasp, leading to a tragic and shocking end.
The film is divided into five chapters, each named for a Chinese element: Earth, Metal, Water, Wood, Fire, and the narrative is pulled together by letters Lui Xing sends to his parents, which are read throughout in a voiceover. Despite the heavy subject matter, the film has a very dream-like quality, as scenes occasionally dissolve into wavering views of the cosmos. The performances from Liu Ye and Streep are incredibly moving, and their scenes together are some of the most poignant in the film. Director Chen Shi Zheng works hard to show the perspective of the troubled Liu Xing, and the extreme frustration felt by someone living in a culture that not only exploits you but often rejects you.