Donnie Darko (2001)
One of my personal all time favourites, Donnie Darko is an unconventional mix of science fiction, horror, and drama which creates a truly unusual stroke of genius. Donne Darko is so brutally honest in regards to existence, love, and death that it will leave you choked up and deep in self reflection after each viewing. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal (Zodiac) as a troubled teen who becomes close with a talking rabbit, the ravishing Jena Malone (Into the Wild) as his love interest, and Patrick Swayze (Point Break) as an inspirational speaker with hidden secrets, everyone in Donnie Darko is not who they seem to be.
Donnie Darko (Gyllenhaal) is sleep walking one night as usual while at his home a horrific event has occurred and he unknowingly escaped death. Darko has troubles communicating with his family, peers, and teachers but attends therapy to help convey his emotions and better understand his problems. On a casual day at school, Donnie finds companionship in a young woman named Gretchen (Malone). One night, Donnie is awoken by a giant rabbit who tells him the world will end in 28 days. As time passes, the rabbit named Frank tells Donnie to carry out destructive operations. Nearing the time when Frank’s prophecy will occur, strange events begin to happen and Donnie Darko is faced with a life threatening decision.
Dealing with time travel, mental illness, and meaningful relationships, director Richard Kelly had his hands full with translating this heavy tale to the screen. Now, Kelly may not have done much since, but Donnie Darko is a cult smash that secured his name from ever being forgotten. Kelly uses a firm hand to confront the delicate themes throughout Donnie Darko and is able to expose the roots of self deception and external disguise, intentional or not. Jake Gyllenhaal is analytic, innocent, and terrifying as Donnie and gives his best performance to date. Many have been turned off Donnie Darko with its confusing plot and shady underlying themes. Donnie Darko requires at least a second viewing and some light reading to fully understand, but once you do comprehend, it is sure to knock you off your feet.
Donnie Darko: 9 out of 10.