Posted on 5/29/10 07:28 PM
Donnie Darko has to be one of the most interesting films I have seen in a long time. Words such as strange, inverted, and intriguing can hardly do it justice.
PLOT: The film begins with the title character, Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal), lying in the middle of the street. Once home, we come to realize that Donnie often leaves the house at night, for reasons unexplainable to his parents. From early in the film, it is quite clear that Donnie is not quite right. On the morning of October 2, 1988, Donnie is awoken from his sleep by a mysterious voice, who leads him outside. The voice came from a six foot tall rabbit, whose costume is truly wonderful. The rabbit, named Frank, informs Donnie that the world will end in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds. In the meantime, a jet engine falls from the sky and lands in Donnie's empty room, meaning that had he not been awoken by the rabbit, he would have been killed. This simple truth is all Donnie needs to follow the demented instructions of Frank, leading him to acts of arson, violence, and unexplainable cruelty.
MY THOUGHTS: The film itself is unarguably artistic in its demeanor, and I don't doubt that this was an important goal in director and writer Richard Kelly. However, the plot of the story is undisputably pushed to the forefront. Throughout much of the film I found myself thinking, "What the hell is going on?!" That is one very unique aspect to this film, the audience never really does understand what is going on. We are merely observers in the dark fantasy drawn up by Kelly. We are there to interpret, not to understand. "Donnie Darko" may best be described as eerie. The atmosphere plays a huge role in the film, creating a feeling of impending doom.
NOTABLE ASPECT: The performances in the film are top-notch. The very best came from the young Jake Gyllenaal. He plays this character with such drive and he seems to really understand the viewpoint of his troubled character. The true versatility of this actor is unparalleled, from a space-dwelling dreamer in "October Sky", to the bronc-riding bisexual in "Brokeback Mountain" to this demented character, Gyllenaal has proven himself to be a real actor.
CONCENSUS: Although many will be instantly turned away by the very mentioning of a "sx-foot-tall talking rabbit", I really think that you should give this film a chance. If you do decide to watch it, make certain you are seeing the director's cut version, which is much more complete and enjoyable. Yes, this film is strange, but it may be remembered as being one of the smartest films from the beginning of the decade. One critic wrote that you will either "love it or hate it..." Let's just say I loved it, in all its artistic and odd ways. 4/4 stars.
Principal Cole to Donnie: "So...let's go over this again. What exactly did you say to Ms. Farmer?"
Ms. Farmer: "I'll tell you what he said! He asked me to forcibly insert the lifeline excercise card into my anus!"