"Why are you wearing that stupid man suit?"
A troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a large bunny rabbit that manipulates him to commit a series of crimes, after narrowly escaping a bizarre accident.
Richard Kelly's flawed but utterly promising debut is one of the best things that could happen to post-2000 cinema. In fact, I use the word 'flawed' with caution because it isn't the most appropriate term to describe the slight imperfections featuring in Donnie Darko. It feels a little like Kelly wants to add too many ingenious elements and gimmicks and the screenplay often is a little messy. Nevertheless, it's a project that breathes its own personal atmosphere and the creativity nearly drips from the screen. What makes this film so unique and fresh is the half-apocalyptic, half depressing tone. We're welcomed in a bitter 80's setting and meet Donnie (Jake Gyllenhaal) who's living in a socially strict suburban town called Middlesex. Donnie is a not-so typical teenager who suffers from severe hallucinations and bizarre states of mind. It even gets worse when he has a near death experience, as he starts spotting a giant ugly bunny that tells him the world is coming to an end. What follows is a blend of almost-brilliant sequences, an outstanding 80's soundtrack and slightly too many digital effects. That's not a bad thing, though, because you especially remember the good sequences like Donnie rebelling against his superficial teachers and hilarious Smurf-speeches. Jake Gyllenhaal is great and there are sublime supporting roles for Mary McDowell, Patrick Swayze and Holmes Osborne (he's the coolest father one could have). Special mention goes out to the gorgeous Maggie Gyllenhaal in her (too small) role of Donnie's sister Elizabeth. Richard Kelly has talent. That's not an opinion, that's a fact and even those who dislike this film should reckon this. Just look at how he pans the camera over the high school playground while 'Head over Heals' by Tears for Fears is playing. That's pure class!