Movie Review:Donnie Darko
-- Josh Mackler бо04
Rarely has a story about a schizophrenic adolescent obeying
a giant imaginary rabbit proclaiming the impending apocalypse
been conveyed so effectively. Donnie Darko, directed by Richard
Kelly, does not merely tell the story, it takes the viewer
along for the ride. Donnie Darko, played by Jake Gyllenhaal,
is a suburban high school student living during the late nineteen-eighties.
He lives in a town called Middlesex, a place bursting with
satire and twisted irony.
Donnie's unstable mental condition has previously made him
destructive, but he is receiving therapy and taking medication
to suppress his illness. Apparently the medication is not
working, since it seems to conjure his big bunny friend, Frank.
Frank, who appears to be a man dressed in a demented bunny
suit, saves Donnie at the beginning of the movie from being
smashed by a falling airplane turbine engine, so Donnie owes
Frank his life. Frank gets Donnie to do "bad things," which
range from flooding his high-school to torching a perverted
writer's house. Somehow Donnie gets away clean every time,
although in the end it does not really matter, because the
world will end by the end of the month.
If the movie has not started to warp your mind yet, just
give it a bit longer; it will. Donnie begins to experience
odd time travel phenomena, which puts all other time travel
movies to shame. All the nasty paradoxes caused by time travel
are somehow compensated for by the unusual ending, which will
not be elaborated on here, but the viewers will understand
where I am coming from once their minds get a chance to regain
their footing after being slapped silly by the conclusion
of the film. The explanations of time travel, and the resolution
of what would appear to be paradoxes is far above that of
any other film.
There is an endless slew of events which occur during the
progression of the movie, including the realization that Donnie,
no matter how screwed up he is, still has more common sense
than most of the citizens of Middlesex. All adults in this
quaint suburban town have haphazardly adopted a seminar called
Controlling Fear, lead by Jim Cunningham, played by Patrick
Swayze. The whole Controlling Fear seminar is laughable, but
eerily familiar to all those who remember the late eighties.
The movie's ability to reproduce the late eighties is astounding
and includes an exceptional soundtrack. Donnie Darko seems
to be the only one who has the guts to tell everyone how they
are being shortsighted by accepting the Love-Fear idea without
The only aspect of this movie which could be criticized is
its tendency to be categorized as a horror film. The scenes
with Frank are made to seem as if Frank is some sort of spawn
from hell, ready to lunge at Donnie and disembowel him at
any moment. The reality of the situation is, that Frank could
not even touch Donnie if he wanted to, because they are separated
by some sort of dimensional field, and, besides, Frank never
desires to hurt anyone, he simply wants destruction. The inability
to distinguish this film from a horror film at times seems
to draw people from it who would otherwise enjoy it. Regardless,
Donnie Darko is a twisted yet extremely humorous depiction
of a world not too far from the truth, and should be enjoyed
by anyone with an open mind and inquisitive nature.