Sunday, November 27, 2016

Donnie Darko

Movie Name: Donnie Darko
Year of Release: 2001
Director: Richard Kelly
Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Mary McDonnell, Holmes Osborne, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Drew Barrymore, Noah Wylie, Patrick Swayze, Beth Grant, Daveigh Chase, James Duval, Seth Rogen, Alex Greenwald, Katharine Ross, 
Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 8
Watch it on Amazon

"Donnie Darko" is director Richard Kelly's debut, and has become a cult film since its release in 2001. The film follows the story of high school senior Donnie Darko, a brilliant young man who's been dealing with some issues and is currently attending therapy in order to verbalize some of his frustrations. Following a random accident that almost kills him (and his family), Donnie starts listening to and seeing a giant rabbit who instructs him on what to do about certain occurrences at his school and some of the people that come into his life. The giant rabbit by the name of Frank, also warns Donnie about the upcoming end of everything. In parallel with all this, Donnie develops an interest in time travel, and how multiple realities can occur. It all falls into place one evening when Donnie's parents are out and he decides to throw a party, the precise date foreseen by Frank.
Even though "Donnie Darko" wasn't seen by many upon its release, the film has steadily gained a cult following. "Donnie Darko" manages to combine a smart screenplay, one that marries the nostalgia for 80s teen films, with science fiction themes (time travel) and also characters that have a foot in the indie world (characters that discuss politics, and where teenagers actually have a darker side to them). It's a film that doesn't balance character development in an optimal way, but it manages to have lots of threads that eventually tie together harmoniously, featuring a great cast (particularly with Jake Gyllenhaal showcasing the talent he'd further develop in other features) and a great score from Michael Andrews.  It's a film that rewards upon multiple viewings. Here's hoping the director gets back to directing further features.