Donnie Darko doesn't get along too well with his family, his teachers, and his classmates; but he does manage to find a sympathetic friend in Gretchen, who agrees to date him. He has a compassionate psychiatrist, who discovers hypnosis is the means to unlock hidden secrets. His other companion may not be a true ally. Donnie has a friend named Frank, a large bunny which only Donnie can see. When an engine falls off a plane and destroys his bedroom, Donnie is not there. Both the event, and Donnie's escape, seem to have been caused by supernatural events. Donnie's mental illness, if such it is, may never allow him to find out for sure.Written by
Despite persistent rumors, Richard Kelly insists that none of the characters in this film are based upon USC teachers or students. See more »
When Donnie's science teacher begins talking about Roberta Sparrow's book, Donnie puts the Slinky around his neck. The camera cuts to Donnie taking the book and cuts directly back to a rear angle of Donnie to show the Slinky still taut around his neck, which it would not be if he had released his grip on one end of it. See more »
Nothing more than tricks... but, god, how they work.
Sweets. They are not nourishing, but they're delicious.
This is how I feel about this film. If I make a conscious attempt at explaining why I like "Donnie Darko", I can see no real meat in it. I got no lessons from the flick, I hardly got a story... Forget what others say about this movie as "philosophical", "clever" or "trascendent". It's not. But, my!, how such a young director almost manages to make you believe it is... I don't know about you, but I call that talent.
Yes, the movie is empty. The story goes nowhere, there is no message, no moral, but the way it's all wrapped up keeps you salivating throughout. Don't think it's mere flashy fireworks, though. This is not a case of style over substance. It's something more complex, and that's where "Donnie Darko" distances from the rest. This movie is freaking special, is full of personality. I wish more films had this character. The charm of this film relies on a lot of pieces that fit like a giant puzzle:
-Chosen time (1988) is strangely proper (you'll have to see this movie to understand it, sorry).
-The movie is BLUE. Its photography is blue, its characters are blue, its story is blue. Everything is blue.
-Music is great.
-Emotions are overwhelming. They come from everywhere and at the same time. You don't know what's happening, but what might be happening actually affects you.
-I can see some Lynch influences. The scene where the gym teacher talks to Donnie's mother at the doorstep is 100% Lynch.
-Some scenes are, almost, scary.
-This is one of the movies that present the idea of "beyond" in a most seductive way. You feel there's something more than this world. It never gets explained, but heck, I don't care.
-Finally, and most important, the main appeal of the movie is that it throws together unrelated concepts in such a way that they feel ghostly linked. The movie is a melting pot of vague ideas, that, thanks to a great direction, get connected in the subconscious.
Exactly because of this, I understand this movie has so much appeal for some people, and so little for others. If you fall in the trap, it will touch you, and this movie could mean the world to you. If you don't, it won't, and you won't see more than a bag of tricks. Whatever the category you fall in, you have to recognize the skill of Richard Kelly. The execution of "Donnie Darko" is more than remarkable.
I like to think of "Donnie Darko" not as a movie, but as a niche some people feel comfortably unsafe inside, that people being 25-30 year olds with an affection for sci-fi and darkness. The more you fit in this role, the more you'll get into this.
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