Rated R for language, some drug use and violence.; Rated R for language, some underage drug and alcohol use, and violence.
Written and Directed By: Richard Kelly
Staring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Mary McDonnell, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Holmes Osbourne, Daveigh Chase, Patrick Swayze, Drew Barrymore, Jena Malone, Noah Wylie, Katharine Ross, Patience Cleavland, and Seth Rogan
First of all, Papa Smurf didn’t create Smurfette. Gargamel did. She was sent in as Gargamel’s evil spy with the intention of destroying the Smurf village. But the overwhelming goodness of the Smurf way of life transformed her. And as for the whole gang-bang scenario, it just couldn’t happen. Smurfs are asexual. They don’t even have… reproductive organs under those little, white pants. It’s just so illogical, you know, about being a Smurf. You know, what’s the point of living… if you don’t have a dick? -Donnie Darko
As far as out there films that have been subjected to being puzzled over and analyzed Donnie Darko is on the top of that list, and after years of hype I finally see what the talk is all about. My son has referred to this film as DONKEY Darko , which I really enjoy as a title, mostly because I’m easily amused. There is a clear theme and story, and a very strong point of view that writer and director Richard Kelly takes, but any film this outside the box is going to be subject to interpretation, and that is what really makes a movie of this nature so provocative.
The surface story gives two alternate possibilities to what is happening to Donnie and gives the audience the opportunity to come to their own conclusions, and of course everyone is going to have differing opinions. My own interpretation probably fallssomewhere in the middle. What is the real genius of Donnie Darko is the scope and imagination it has, and the brilliant execution in which it’s delivered. It gives the viewer the opportunity to perceive the film as they would imagine it, just as the film itself seems to be exploring the world perception of the universe, society, and even as specific as adolescence, all behind the mask of a malevolent bunny.
Outside of the controversial topic matter there were some pretty sound performances by Jake Gyllenhaal and particularly Mary McDonnell. Donnie himself was a sympathetic character in spite of some of the things his character did. He created a real empathy by making his character be at the whim of his situation instead of being the dictator of his destiny. His solitude even when within a group gave an overwhelming feel of sadness, and only furthered his feel of isolation. Mary McDonnell playedDonnie’s mother, which wasn’t the biggest role but became the greatest source of interest for myself. Her inner conflict was subtle yet set such a strong tone for each scene she was in, I was overwhelmed by the pathos of it.
The writing itself was so intriguing. I was enthralled by the dialogue and particularly Donnie’s perspective on things. The quote above about Smurfettes place in the Smurf-world and being a spy for Gargamel was both hilarious and a completely interesting thought that was original thinking and showed that Donnie was really unlike most people. Even our first encounter with “Frank” the demonic time traveling alien rabbit, Donnie reacted to it as though it would be natural to run into the frightening face of an evil bunny in the middle of a golf course at night while most people would have responded in terror.
What Donnie Darko boiled down to was a very original movie that turned out to be one heck of a character study. There was a personal and intimate feel throughout that gave the audience that fly on the wall type feeling. This is a must see movie if you are a fan of cinema. It simply never stopped being interesting. It was a film that was completely original in concept and execution and gave you something to actually think about while also being entertained. When it comes to the movies you can’t really ask for much more than that. DonnieDarko lived up to all the talk surrounding and made for a movie that will probably only get better with repeat viewings.