Donnie Darko Reviews
( I Think) When it begins everything that follows for the next hundred minutes has happened already. That's one way to look at it. Another way would be to see it as pure surrealism like John Carpenter's In The Mouth of Madness or David Lynch's Mullholland Dr. Such films are conundrums, but the question is whether or not you are capable of watching a movie that leaves you frustrated intentionally. If surrealism is your thing, you will probably have luck with Donnie Darko. It is a good one for a movie goer.
Up until the climax, we are led to believe that this is a film about a young suburban middle- class boy (Donnie) who has schizophrenia and one night envisions a large satanic looking rabbit (the anti-Harvey) to tells him to do some pretty bad things if he wants to survive the end of the world in 28 days, something hours and something seconds.
The people in this film are weird, though not as much so as Mulholland Dr. (In part because the acting here is more toned down, usually) One could argue though that there are too many characters. Some of the screen time that is dedicated to the supporting cast could have gone to Donnies story, which is more important. His conversations with Frank (the rabbit) are intriguing but they are too short and too few.
The climax is one that takes Donnie Darko and turns it inside out. There is no literal resolution to the thriller side of Donnie Darko, only what the viewer chooses to make of it. Is it a great movie? no, but its partial originality and evocative direction are enough to make it worth a watch. 1/2 Star 1-15-2004 (Updated)
My he was really good in here.
Thought the movie was a bit messed up. It was a bit complicated for my taste.
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!