Donnie Darko

Well, I finally saw Donnie Darko. It’s become somewhat of a cult classic. Everybody who sees it talks about how awesome of a movie it is. And when I say “everybody,” I do mean everybody. Of course, there are not a lot of bodies that have seen this movie.

To start, in the first scene where you meet the family the film establishes that the parents are Republicans who think voting for Dukakis (the film is set in 1988) is idiotic. Of course, the hip daughter who is going to Harvard wants to vote for Dukakis. The plot of the film involves their son who is schizophrenic, has daytime visions of a man in a rabbit suit who tells him to do destructive things, and gradually decays into an unstabler mental state (thanks to the rabbit). My point here is that isn’t it obvious that all messed up kids come from conservative/Republican/uptight/WASP households? Hollywood certainly thinks so. Frankly, this plot device is annoying, boring, and hackneyed. Please, Hollywood, see if you can come up with a more creative source for a messed up child. Also, later in the film we meet a teacher who is a Christian (or at least some kind of uptight fundie) and is shown to be a rather pathetic, foolish woman. Oooo, didn’t see **that** one coming!

The film was well shot, acted, and scored. No complaints there. The plot was interesting enough, delving into aspects of psychology, time travel, and free will. It was one of those “hip” plots with small hints tying bigger elements of the plot together. I’m guessing on a second viewing I’d “get” a lot more of what was going on in the movie.

I thought I was going to be a bit more positive in this review, but I’d still say it’s worth seeing. It just didn’t live up to the hype, and I can’t understand why everybody thinks it’s great. But this is nothing new with me; I’m often clueless about these things.

__Pros__: Good acting, well shot, good score, interesting plot, dude in a rabbit suit, plummeting jet engines.
__Cons__: Trite plot devices and characterizations.

5 thoughts on “Donnie Darko”

  1. If you can stomach a very large amount of profanity and obscenity, some pretty graphic violence, and some disturbing gratuitous orgy sex (a few minutes at the beginning as a flashback intercut with a conversation), yes. It’s a heist story with some interesting characters. Seeing Ben Kingsley play a foul-mouthed mobster was interesting. I’ve only seen it once, I might watch it again, but it’s not something I’m going to keep on my shelf.

    Oh, and the rabbit-man shows up very briefly two or three times, but I have NO idea what it means, or why he’s there or anything. It was just weird.

  2. Steve,
    I finally saw the movie. I think that your notion that the film establishes the Darko family as staunch conservatives is a bit strong. I’m really not one to ignore negative conservative stereotypes in film, but I really don’t think that’s what’s going on. It’s implied that the Darko parents are at least Republican leaning, but the film shows these parents being supportive of their rebellious son’s eccentricities (even after Donnie cussed out his Christian teacher, they bought him a “bunch of new S#!%.”).
    In summary I’m joining “everybody” and saying that I loved it. But I’ll also admit to being a huge fan of self indulgent art and surreal films about destiny and rebellion.

  3. Well, I didn’t mean to give the impression that they were staunch conservatives (because they certainly weren’t that), but I did find it interesting they were portrayed at least to be right-leaning.

    Thanks for your input. 🙂

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