Since then, it has received strongly favorable reviews from critics and has developed an enormous cult following. This has resulted in the release of a director's cut, as well as a sequel that I would much prefer never having to talk about.
When I decided to review Star Knight as the first film in Science-Fiction month, a lot of it was because it was fresh in my mind. I knew that if I didn't do it then, it probably would have never gotten done. Donnie Darko is different, because there is a lot of things that I would like to say about this movie.
As you can probably already guess, the film depicts the experiences had by the title-character. Donnie Darko is a troubled teenager from Middlesex, Virginia. Like a lot of teenagers, he has all of these feelings flowing through him. He feels angry and confused. He has a rebellious angst that isn't unlike many others in that time in their life. Unlike them though, he has visits from a large-figure in a rabbit suit named Frank. Frank tells him that the world is going to end at a specific time in twenty-eight days. (Perhaps not coincidentally, that's also the time it took to film)
He speaks to his psychiatrist about some of these visions and is giving medicine to wash away what he is seeing.
Similar to Star Knight, Donnie Darko is one of the most unorthodox and bizarre films that I will be looking at in Science-Fiction month. However, unlike Star Knight, Donnie Darko is one of the best movies that I have ever seen. Period.
The ideas flaunted around in this movie are thought provoking and presented in a way that doesn't feel self-congratulatory. Answers aren't handed to you, but it's left up to the reader to draw their conclusions. I remember whenever I watch the commentary for the film. There were all of these small little tidbits and details that I had missed that only further worked to piece the story together. Moments of obscure symbolism and little things like that are good for after a film and can even help you appreciate it even more, but in my opinion, it comes all down to that one feeling you have right after the credits start to roll.
I left this movie feeling mesmerized. Everything felt mystical and like it had significance and like it meant something. It's the kind of film that you can continue to dissect and pick apart only to discover more depth. Even if he didn't have more than a couple of sentences worth of dialogue, I think Frank may very well be one of the coolest characters that I have seen in the film.
The film relies heavily upon the concepts alone, but I believe that there is certainly enough depth for this movie to provide entertainment-value other-wise. There are commendable performances from Drew Barrymore, Jena Malone, and Patrick Swayze, and while they are all mostly forgettable in-comparison to the protagonist, they help to keep the film afloat. Jake Gyllenhaal does very well with his role. When he has the opportunity for extensive dialogue, he carries off with the angry, confusion, and angst that I was talking about earlier. When he is possessed or alone, he takes something of a less is more approach that I appreciated as well.
In conclusion, because I don't want to completely start rambling, I believe that it's a phenomenal film. The acting, musical score, effects, and cinematography all work to the benefit of the story, which I believe is an amazingly creative script. If you watch any of the movies that I recommend this month, I hope its this one.