Dark Matter (DVD)

Very few directors of opera, I believe, take the plunge in directing a feature film, and even smaller of a number tackle a project with Meryl Streep. That is what Chen Shi-Zheng did with “Dark Matter”, and eir aptitude and skill behind the camera is enough to even take someone like Streep’s style to the next level. The film itself deals with the linkages between Streep’s character (Joanna), a rich individual that is more in the vein of philanthropists than anything and Chinese charge Liu Xing (Ye Liu, known from Curse of the Golden Flower and Blood Brothers).

Valley State University, where Liu Xing ultimately enters, seems like the best place for the protagonist to make a name for eirself. However, the chance of any breaking out decrease considerably after racial differences start to boil up, leading individuals in places of power to rail against the young upstart. How this tension ultimately resolves is something that viewers will have to see to believe, but Chen Shi-Zheng is able to keep viewers’ interest ultimately piqued through the entirety of the film. Dark Matter is the substance that science-minded Liu Xing is looking to understand, and the actions that ey takes through the film really bring eir into being that element.

The final act of the movie reinforces that, creating a powerful moral to the story that makes it clear that individuals should not let themselves get too involved in their work, lest they lose all connections to those around them. Screen Media’s transfer of the film is clear and sharp, ensuring that colors are crisp and audio is at least as solid as it would be at a movie theatre. This is my first time with a Screen Media film, and I sincerely hope that it will not be the last.

Rating: 7.7/10

Dark Matter (DVD) / 2009 Screen Media / 90 Minutes / http://www.screenmedia.net

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