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Dark Matter [DVD] (2007)

Meryl Streep , Liu Ye , Shi-Zheng Chen    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: 4.96 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Meryl Streep, Liu Ye, Aidan Quinn, Blair Brown, Peng Chi
  • Directors: Shi-Zheng Chen
  • Format: PAL, Anamorphic, Widescreen, Dolby, Digital Sound
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: High Fliers
  • DVD Release Date: 8 Aug 2011
  • Run Time: 85 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004XWJ1BU
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 55,634 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Dark Matter is a gritty thriller based on the true story of a tragic high school shooting. Liu Xing is a gifted Chinese physics student who makes many scientific breakthroughs whilst studying in the US. When political forces at the university prevent him from being put forward for a Nobel Prize, he goes on a terrifying rampage at the campus killing everyone in his way.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic film! 6 Oct 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is a fantastic film and it beats me why nobody seems to know about it. I've read that it was due to come out just as the Virginia Tech events took place, so the film was shelved and released quietly on DVD only two years later. That may be one of the reasons why it didn't get much coverage in the press/ adverts/ trailers etc. I also think it may be hard for some audiences to relate to it and appreciate it objectively due to the American baddie/ Asian goodie (turned baddie) dichotomy. Still, I find it hard to understand how this seems to have been off the radar for so long.

I don't want to reveal too many details, but the film is inspired by actual events, though, I understand, not entirely faithful to what happened in reality. The plot revolves around a brilliant Chinese student who goes to America to work on his PhD with a famous cosmologist. All is great until the student starts becoming better than the Professor, who won't let him publish/ research an alternative theory. The student collapses psychologically after he fails his PhD viva and, well, reacts in a way that many found surprising.

The film has been criticised for veering off from actual fact, for being schmaltzy (Meryl Streep has quite a mumsy role in it!), and for depicting an unbelievable level of emotion that the student is going through after being stopped from continuing the research he believed in. I can't comment on the degree of realism, as I'm not familiar with the original incident, but I for one can't see the point of judging the quality of a film (exclusively) according to how realistic it is. I agree that there were a few scenes that came across as a bit too sentimental, but overall the film worked well and was perfectly convincing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Different! 28 Jan 2012
This is a little strange and is not what I expected from the film and the description, as it is more about the downfall and deception of the student. However, I watched this film because of Meryl Streep and she is, of course, amazing in this film.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By BigAl82
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
There are far worse films out there but this one failed to move me. Even the climax was lacking. I must have missed the point. Aidan Quinn is still hot tho. Based on actual events. Elephant is better. It's a short film but it tended to drag. I guess I'm not really a science-y guy.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good film 18 Feb 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is a good portrayal on the effects of alienation and how it can have disastrous consequences ,it gives some insight into how a person can reach the point when they feel compelled to commit acts of atrocity .
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.3 out of 5 stars  30 reviews
53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clashes: Cultural, Linguistic, Scientific, Emotional 18 April 2009
By Grady Harp - Published on
DARK MATTER is a film that will polarize audiences: for those who seek understanding of the clashes between science and 'religion' and the matrix from which tragedy grows the film will appeal, and for the audiences who demand tidy stories with happy resolutions the film will not please. Apparently 'based on true events', this story has many layers that invite discussion and reveals some facts about the American Academia that many would rather not know.

Liu Xing (Ye Liu) comes from a poor family in Beijing, but rises to hopeful heights due to his exceptional scientific intelligence and is invited to a prestigious university to study with Cosmology professor Jacob Reiser (Aidan Quinn), the author of the Reiser String Theory - the entire universe is tied into a compact single ball of cosmic wax. Liu Xing encounters initial success not only academically but also as a fresh young student, barely able to speak English, who is taken under the wing of the kind matron of Chinese culture, Johanna Silver (Meryl Streep). Liu Xing develops his own theory that the universe is united by massive amounts of unseen Dark Matter. When the student's theory conflicts with Reiser's theory, the negative results begin to affect each of the characters: Liu Xing sees his dream of earning a PhD in Cosmology and winning the Nobel Prize for his theory destroyed by the powers of academia and as he watches his fellow Chinese students succeed, he is plagued with low self esteem as he attempts to support his family in Beijing with money earned selling cosmetics door to door. The downfall of a simple genius destroyed by the inner workings of academia leads to unimaginable tragedy.

Billy Shebar's screenplay tinkers with the story's credibility with a heavy dose of sentimentality at times, but director Shi-Zheng Chen keeps the story moving by allowing the audience to witness frequent glimpses of Liu Xing's humble Beijing home life. The star of the film is the very talented Ye Liu, but Streep and Quinn carry their rather minor roles with great dignity and understatement. This is a moving story, too frequently repeated in our campuses to overlook. There is much more to this film than first viewings reveal. Grady Harp, April 09
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars GENIUS GRAD STUDENT FALLS INTO A SHARK TANK 20 Sep 2009
By David R. Eastwood - Published on
DARK MATTER is a harrowing movie about a young genius's attempt to earn a Ph.D., share his ground-breaking ideas about the universe, and improve the lives of his parents and himself. Well scripted and well acted, it rings true.

SPOILER ALERT: at the end, after being repeatedly thwarted by his major advisor/professor and his committee, he "goes postal." All of us who follow the news can recall similar horrific conclusions to real-life stories of academic pressure and frustration.

Looking back on my own career, as a retired college professor who taught for 37 years and who spent 6 years earning my own advanced degrees, I can vouch for the general nastiness of the academic world since the late 1950s. Most academics, despite pretensions to living in an Ivory Tower, swim in a Shark Tank--and sadly many of those who succeed in that environment become the sort of shark-like person who perpetuates it. Power corrupts, whether in government, businesses, or our universities.

Viewers/reviewers who were expecting any sort of upbeat ending to this film were probably not paying attention--or perhaps were imagining they were seeing an academic film that was kindred to A BEAUTIFUL MIND (2002) or GOOD WILL HUNTING (1998).

Liu Xing (Ye Liu), Johanna Silver (Meryl Streep), and Jacob Reiser (Aidan Quinn) are the three main characters (stars) of this film--respectively the genius graduate student, the helpful and sympathetic culture maven, and the powerful, egotistical, self-promoting professor.

Watch this at your own peril. By the way, I do not plan to recommend this to many of my academic friends: most of them are good souls with tender hearts, who would find it stirring up far too many bad memories about their own careers.
27 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellant movie on non-western cosmology breakthrough 16 April 2009
By Michael A. Scheurich - Published on
Excellent presentation by Meryl Streep, Aidan Quinn and Liu Ye about a young Chinese student in America whose advanced theories on the universe exceeds that of his professors causing a rift between him, the American establishment and traditional western religion as well. This film demonstrates how jealousy and ambition within American Academia and American religious institutes has sent cosmology discoveries back into the dark ages. It's a sad but true tale of how the scientific world has been influenced by the infiltration of Western religious dogma.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars In the Dark 12 Dec 2010
By E. Hernandez - Published on
DARK MATTER (2007) was quite a shock to me, not the least of which was comprised of how bad the film was as a truth-based tale. As pure cinema, it was also rather dull, silly and lackluster.

The true event on which it's based, consisting of plasma physicist Dr. Gang Lu and his crimes at University of Iowa in Iowa City in 1991, speaks eloquently not only to the suspicion/racism shown toward the Chinese in America, but most loudly to the problem of graduate students and their dissertations. However relevant, all this had nothing to do with the true story.

This weirdly paced, phantasmagoric rendition of the true story stars the beautiful and charismatic Liu Ye (CURSE OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER) as Liu Qing, a highly strung theoretical physics student attending some mythical college. His 'doctorate' professor, a true bastard named Jacob Reiser (a very sinister Aidan Quinn), hates the Chinese. When he accepts Liu as his student, one can see the look of a wolf in his eyes. He's going to destroy this particular student because the student is light years ahead of them all.

As a run-up to the film, "The New York Times" ran the true story of this unfortunately unhinged student in its SCIENCE section: "A Tale of Power and Intrigue in the Lab, Based on Real Life" (27 March 2007). It speaks of the pressures of the Chinese college students, especially in the face of the "one-child policy", which places the entire burden for the family on the one child.

What I saw here first and foremost was Einstein's life all over again - something similar was done to him as a college student. Though he did not kill anyone, he certainly lost his mind and it took him a year to recuperate. He wanted nothing to do with science during that year, from age 19 to 20. Einstein, had he been weaker, could easily have done what Dr. Gang Lu did.

The evil Prof. Reiser (Quinn) is nothing like the professor who mentored Gang Lu in real life - but he reminded me of several teachers who had it in for Einstein, and were responsible for his ejection from school. Anyone who fails to see the horrid rat race science has become should see this film.

Admittedly, with unnecessary and weird diversions from Meryl Streep (rich, Chinese-loving matron of the arts) and Eric Avari (I LOVE him - he plays the querulous old has-been professor and I see no point in his character), it's a lot to navigate.

Gang Lu was one of a series of students invited to Iowa (ca. the 1980s) to study plasma physics, the first wave of Chinese students invited after China began to open itself. Many of these first students either failed miserably or "simply disappeared", according to "The New York Times". I ran into such people during my stay at college - they were trying to change America over to communism. I recall telling them they were very wrong if they thought they could do that!

Oddly enough, Dr. Gang Lu, who had been awarded his doctorate in plasma physics in May of 1991, was enraged that another's thesis and not his had been chosen for a $2,500 prize. Dr. Lu apparently saw that other post-graduate doctor as "his perceived rival". Clearly mentally imbalanced, Dr. Lu shot all his victims in what amounts to a childish rage.

What I saw in DARK MATTER was something unfortunate, if I may quote a reviewer from another film: this movie manages to be simple and complex simultaneously. It is also erroneous in its storytelling. We cannot understand Liu Qing without the small details I have revealed here. In the real event, few can say what drove Gang Lu to his terrifying and mad deed.

Dr. Gang Lu killed five and paralyzed one before killing himself. He left five letters, one in Chinese and four in English, which have never been made public and it seems they never will be. All I know is I shiver when I recall that case, because it happened not far from my home. The man was a psychotic brute, who thought nothing of gunning down those who opposed him. Legend has it that when the news first broke, all his Chinese colleagues, when they heard the gunman was Chinese, said it was Gang Lu.

With the way schools, science and racism remain today, it could happen again and again. See this film and take from it as much as you can. Personally, I am deeply disappointed in this art-house pretense instead of a true, dramatic 'retelling' of the tragic story of 28-year-old Dr. Gang Lu. One thing I must protest (sadly, of course) is the film had to try to protect the survivors of the real-life tragedy. If only the producers had obtained some sort of permission to render a realistic telling of that story... but they chose to do this instead. In a way it is a betrayal, because we know of no such crimes in America as this movie shows - in a way it is dishonest suggesting it is even based on a true story.

Let this film, then, stand as well as it can as an object-lesson. I doubt it will do any good.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Broken dreams 18 Nov 2009
By Reader - Published on
This compelling movie explores what happens to a young, bright man, talented in physics (cosmology) who leaves China to become a graduate student at the US university. His eagerness to please his academic adviser, strong personal desire to bring honor to his family and youthful ambition puts him at odds with his peers, university professors and politics of academia.

This young man's only support is compassion of a local socialite who has sincere personal interest in Chinese culture and who take her personal interest in this bright, young man.

When things start to fall apart like house of cards for this young, brilliant man he falls into a deep end from which there is no escape. This is an amazing study of human conflict, cultural differences and shattered dreams.
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