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Donnie Darko (2001)
Full of questions, but no answers
Donnie Darko the movie is quite a bit like Donnie Dark the character. It raises questions worth pondering, it searches for truth, it wants to see good in humanity, it challenges many assumptions, and it tackles many issues with passion. However, also like its namesake, the movie is restless and desperate. It jumps from issue to issue like Donnie, searching for hope, but finding none.
His psychiatrist asks him the question, "Do you feel alone?" He responds, "I don't want to." He explains to her that he wants to believe in God, that the debate could go on and on forever, but that there's no point because there's no proof. No proof, no point. The movie concludes that weather or not there is a God, if we can't prove he's there than it doesn't matter, so we should just live the best lives we can live.
Donnie ultimately realizes that his impact on the world only causes negative results, so he 'heroically' jumps in front of a plane engine to save the world from himself. It was a touching end, but strangely unsatisfying. To think that he was only able to do evil was as chilling as the thought of there not being a God.
**END OF SPOILERS**
As far as movie making quality the movie was top notch. The acting was excellent, and often stellar. The movie's pace was a thoughtful but gripping, and the story was original and fresh.
However i found the the 20+ F-words to be distracting and in poor taste. Also the strongly sexual conversations and sub-plots were poorly handled. If they wanted to deal with those kind of issues that's fine, but they didn't, they just threw disjointed sex around until it dirtied their story and characters.
However captivating and gripping a movie (and character) it was, i don't only take story, quality, and acting into consideration when rating a movie. I also take message into my decision, since message is a huge part of what why we tell stories. And the message in this movie was hopelessness. It raised questions it didn't know how to answer, leaving you with a more or less well entertained, but bitter taste in your mouth.
A movie with the potential of 10 stars, but ultimately failing were it really counted.
I think a lot of people have a hard time with a grown man playing a little puppet. They think its either ridiculous or far fetched. However, i submit that Roberto has accomplished a truly awe inspiring feat. There are at least 100 ways this movie could have been made wrong. But he pulls the wonderful innocence and original creativity right out of the book, in an expert adaptation.
I think the whole point of the story of Pinocchio is imagination, how interesting to have the part of an odd little puppet played by an adult. It's a sign of our own over-cynical way of thinking that many people can not see the genius of doing it this way. they are too used to realism, and i think many people's imaginations are tempered by the one sided approach many film makers take. I love realism as much as anyone, but i also love fantastic and wild impossibilities. People say its ridiculous to see a full grown man play a puppet boy. but perhaps don't you think its a little ridiculous that said puppet boy is running around getting into trouble in the first place? And yet we like the story. Why? because of the imagination. So whats so far fetched about an excellent comedy actor playing the part? On a sub note, the sets were fantastic, and the costumes and special effects were masterfully done. Roberto's acting was great, and the humor was innocent and well timed. You just can't take the movie too seriously.