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Liu Xing is a scholarship boy from China, newly arrived in Salt Lake City, a graduate student in cosmology, in Utah to study in Professor Reiser's prestigious program. Back in China, Liu Xing's parents are proud of him, and he dedicates himself to fulfilling their hopes. All the graduate students in the program work on projects that extend and further Reiser's model of the origins of the universe. Liu Xing does well until his own theories move him away from Reiser's. Will Reiser and the department recognize Liu Xing's brilliance? Can the young man's benefactor, Joanna Silver, intercede? Written by
Eye-opening, touching, disturbing, sadly realistic portrayal; Should be viewed by all
Dark Matter is an excellent, deep, and poignant film with a controversial yet VERY CLEAR message.
To effectively describe and review this film is no easy task. Some reviews range from "it's anti-Western" and "should be boycotted" to "beautiful and touching" and the like. It is very clear to me that those former reviews were written by individuals with little capacity to understand cultural norms and the pressure to succeed whereas the latter more positive reviews were deduced by those who 'know better', for lack of a better term.
Dark Matter was filmed in Vancouver BC Canada and area. There is a very large Chinese population. Moreover, as is clear in the film, there is a large population of Chinese students and immigrants that move there for a 'better quality of life'. Having lived in Vancouver and the West Coast for over 20 years (where this was filmed), Dark Matter, its story, and the conclusion came as no surprise to me. Sadly, this story demonstrates extremely well the cultural and general 'bias' that continues to permeate and perpetuate cultural divide and misunderstanding in many parts of North America, and not solely in academia.
There are moments where one can't help but smile (as I found myself doing) and there are moments of clear despair, confusion and ultimately major let-down as a Chinese student strives for much-needed success but is held back for a variety of reasons. These particular reasons were obvious to me however each viewer will likely draw their own opinion and conclusion as to what happened. And what did occur in the end is not far-fetched at all but is disturbing and ultimately quite sad.
Ye Liu and Meryl Streep are very strong and complex characters and it is amazing to watch the dynamic between the two, as well as the more complicated and difficult dynamic with other students and Professors.
So many elements in this film are so well done that it is impossible not to be drawn in. And one can't help but feel for the main characters (I don't want to cause spoilers, so I will leave it at that).
A lesson. A true story. An important film which must be seen to see Ye Liu's character unravel in a common fashion, although most similar stories/true accounts do not end so violently.
As much as I enjoyed the film, it also left me quite sad; sad that so many people refuse to acknowledge a very common reality and throw out the "this film is Anti-Western!!!" comments. That is not the case however there is a cultural clash.
It is difficult for me to write more about this film. Watch Dark Matter with an open mind and, although basically impossible, do not judge. I do not condone what happened, but I understand WHY.
Take some time to view this film. It is important for everyone.
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