It has been 10 years since Richard Kelly’s admirable and ambitious directorial debut Donnie Darko was released to an unsuspecting film audience with his mix of teenage angst and paranoid schizophrenia, it has become a cult movie for anyone who is. familiar with the zeitgeist of the 1980s.
In his breakout performance, Jake Gyllenhaal plays Donnie Darko, a psychologically disturbed high school student who sleepwalks and has visions of a demonic rabbit named Frank, who tells him that the world will end in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds. . Although prone to aggressive and strange behaviors, Donnie remains the typical teenager of conservative Republican parents who are supportive and concerned about his well-being. In a strange plane crash, the engine of a jet that has mysteriously disappeared hits the roof of Darko’s house, taking out Donnie’s bedroom, although fortunately due to his sleepwalking he has ended up on one of the greens of the local golf course; At this point, the story goes back 28 days and charts the way to Armageddon.
Despite regularly seeing a psychiatrist (Katherine Ross) and undergoing hypnosis, Donnie’s visions of Frank become more frequent asking him to carry out random acts of violence, inspired by the Graham Greene short story “The Destructors”, one of the favorites of his liberal English teacher (Drew Barrymore). ; first he inundates the school by leaving an ax on the head of the bronze statue of the school mascot “El Mestizo” and then, exhibiting his revulsion for phonies, a quality he shares with Holden Caulfield, the hero of “The Catcher in the Rye “by JD Salinger. , sets fire to the mansion of a local motivational speaker (Patrick Swayze) exposing him as a fraud and a sexual deviant.
Donnie begins dating the new girl from school, Gretchen (Jena Malone), who had to move out and change her identity when her emotionally disturbed father stabbed her mother; She empathizes with Donnie and provides comfort for his growing anxiety. In an attempt to avoid Frank’s prediction, Donnie begins to investigate the possibility of altering the future and his science teacher (Noah Wyle) explains Stephen Hawking’s wormhole theory that could lead to a portal to a parallel universe, He also gives you a book called “The Philosophy of Time Travel” by a former school teacher, Roberta Sparrow, who now lives as a hermit and is known to local children as “Grandmother Death” because every day she goes to Check your P.O.box and it gets in the way. of oncoming traffic.
At this point, the film shifts from psychological drama to sci-fi fantasy as Donnie becomes absorbed in Roberta Sparrow’s book and, with Frank’s help, seemingly masters the ability to bend time. In the film’s climactic sequence on the last day of the world, Donnie’s mother and younger sister are flying so they can participate in a dance competition. Donnie and his older sister (Maggie Gyllenhaal) decide to throw a Halloween party during which he escapes with Gretchen to explore Roberta Sparrow’s basement. They are jumped by two of the school bullies and held at knife point, in the fight, Gretchen is hit in the middle of the road and her unconscious body is hit by a car driven by someone wearing Frank’s rabbit costume. .
Donnie realizes the devastating effect his actions have had on his loved ones and goes back in time to be in his room when the jet engine fires. It is suggested that his mother and younger sister are on the plane when he falls from the sky, but I’m not sure how to undo Donnie’s actions completely avoids his fate, but they are all present when his body is taken out of the house, which seems to suggest that maybe it was all one big paranoid hoax. Gretchen walks by and has to ask a neighbor who is on the stretcher so it appears that Donnie has sacrificed himself to save her.
Richard Kelly is clearly influenced by David Lynch’s films, especially Blue Velvet and genre-modifying films like Being John Malkovich, which play on the conventions of linear narrative. Blu-ray marks a radical improvement in picture quality that comes in full 1080p 2.35: 1 transfer, unfortunately the 5.1 DTS-HD mix while excellent for displaying 80s music, especially Gary Jules, the successful A cover of the Tears For Fears song “Mad World” has left the dialogue comparatively low in the mix.
It’s fair to say that Donnie Darko is an excellent apprentice piece, but the overly complicated plot gets a bit muddled even in the Director’s 2004 revised version. It amuses me that the idea behind the 6 foot rabbit Frank seems to be undoubtedly inspired by James Stewart’s tough black farce, Harvey, Elwood P. Drood’s invisible friend; although Richard Kelly claims that he wrote the script long before seeing the 1950s classic. We have yet to see something so dazzlingly original of him, so as time passes Donnie Darko may well be remembered as his play. faulty teacher.