Friday, April 1, 2016

Movie review: Donnie Darko

Donnie is a troubled teen to the extreme. With obvious mental issues Donnie makes friends with Frank, a 6 foot tall evil doomsday-prophesizing rabbit who convinces him to do strange things. Add in sleepwalking, family drama, teachers who are strangely fanatic, and a new girlfriend and Donnie basically implodes.

Jake Gyllenhaal (Donnie), Holmes Osborne (Eddie), Maggie Gyllenhaal (Elizabeth), Mary McDonnell (Rose), James Duval (Frank), Patrick Swayze (Jim), Drew Barrymore (Karen), Noah Wyle (Prof. Monnitoff), Katharine Ross (Dr. Thurman), Jena Malone (Gretchen).

This movie starts off strangely before zipping completely off the reservation into some dark, twisted, hallucinogenic mind altering space of warped craziness that is as far from logical and coherent as is possible. But toward the end of the film, everything is brought back together in a brilliant finish that brings coherence to the rest of the film. You may not get it on the first viewing, or even the second, but there is a logical moral point in the plot and it is conveyed in the film.

Acting was pretty good in this one considering many of the now big names were quite inexperienced at the time. Jake G was impressive in his role, displaying a good range of emotion. Malone was good in her supporting role as well and I loved McDonnell who always brings strong emotion to a role.

Sets, background, sound and dialogue were all nicely done but really of little consequence. Special effects supporting Donnie’s delusions were the important part and they were pulled off well considering the main effect was a freaky bunny head.

Overall this is a strange, warped journey that will likely appeal to a very limited audience. If you want to just be entertained, forget this movie. You have to think to watch this movie and if you can’t keep an open mind you will absolutely hate this film.

Plenty of foul language, drug use, and some violence but this one should be okay for older teens and above.

Released: 2001
Reviewed: 3.25.16
Star rating: 3 out of 5
Genre: Sci-Fi Fantasy, Sci-Fi Drama, Sci-Fi Cult Classics

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