tek's rating: ½

Donnie Darko (R)
20th Century Studios; A.V. Club; Dread Central (Blu-ray) (Blu-ray/DVD); fansite; IMDb; Rotten Tomatoes; TV Tropes; Wikia; Wikipedia
streaming sites: Amazon (IMDb); FandangoNOW; Google Play; iTunes; Vudu

Caution: vague spoilers, I guess, maybe?

So, this came out in 2001, but I didn't see it til 2013. It had some pretty good hype, so I always assumed I'd like it. Now that I've seen it... I'm afraid I didn't like it as much as I wanted to. It was interesting, I guess, but I just don't quite see the appeal, not on the level of the movie's devoted fans. Um... I should say I got it on a 2-DVD set that includes the 2009 sequel, S. Darko, which apparently fans of this movie don't like.

Anyway... the movie is set in October 1988. Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal) is this teenager with schizophrenia. And um, he's got parents, of course (his mother, Rose, is played by Mary McDonnell), and an older sister named Elizabeth (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and a younger sister named Samantha (Daveigh Chase). And he seems to have a couple of friends, who aren't as smart as he is. And he sees a psychiatrist named Dr. Thurman. And he has what appears to be a hallucination of a guy in a creepy rabbit suit, named Frank. Frank tells him the world is gonna end in 28 days. And he gets Donnie to sleepwalk. Which meant he wasn't in his bedroom when an airplane's jet engine crashed into it, thus saving Donnie's life. So he felt that he had to do whatever Frank told him from then on, which included some bad things.

There's... a lot going on in the movie. There's an old woman named Roberta Sparrow, who seems to have dementia or something. But Donnie eventually learns that she had written a book called the Philosophy of Time Travel, years ago. And Frank is from the future, I guess. So... I dunno, there seems to be some connection. Also there's a new girl in school named Gretchen (Jena Malone), who has a troubled past, and who starts dating Donnie. And there's a guy named Jim Cunningham (Patrick Swayze), who has this sort of new age-y program, which is supported by Donnie's high school. And there are a couple of teachers who I guess Donnie likes, and talks to a bit. There's also a teacher he doesn't like. And... there are some other kids at school who just seemed kind of random to me, for the most part. Honestly, the whole plot of the movie seemed kind of disjointed and random, which I think is probably intentional. I don't want to say I didn't follow everything that was going on, because... it wasn't that complicated or nonsensical, but it was all definitely kind of weird, and some things that happened didn't really seem important to me, as far as the overall plot was concerned. And even the things that clearly did matter were... meh, I dunno. It's like the screenplay itself had schizophrenia, or something.

Um... anyway, things do eventually start making a bizarre sort of sense, I guess. And things get very dark. And then things get weirder, in a way I don't entirely understand, except that time travel is apparently involved- which was to be expected, I just have no idea how it actually happened. (Or at least, the way it happened seemed even randomer than all the other random stuff in the movie.) And I guess... one thing getting worse makes other things get better? I dunno, the whole thing reminded me a little bit of The Butterfly Effect, which I liked a lot better than this. Still, this was definitely an interesting movie, even if I sort of didn't really... feel it.

It did, however, contain one of the funniest lines I've ever heard: "Sometimes I doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion." Oh, and the whole Smurfette discussion was amusing. Probably there were some other good bits I've already forgotten.


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