framely’s review published on Letterboxd:
I’ve always felt like this film has some really, really interesting ideas, but most of them were poorly executed. There’s also some concepts the film could’ve explored a lot better.
I’ve never liked the characters that much either. Donnie’s fine, I guess. Jake does a good job. But everyone else is so flat and uninteresting, probably because they’re all just there to help Donnie go from one place to another, which would be fine if they weren’t so annoying as well. The bullies and the conservative teacher feel like they could belong in literally any movie, because of how basic they are. Some characters, like the two friends, didn’t even need to exist. The dialogue was really bad as well and Donnie’s relationship with Gretchen doesn’t feel as strong as the film needs it to be.
This is the third time I’ve watched this and I’ve read articles, even watched videos about it, and I get why people love it, it’s pretty complex and I guess some people relate to Donnie more than I do, but I just feel like Richard Kelly took a bunch of cool ideas and concepts and then wrote a film in the laziest way possible, and directed it in the same way, and the end result is this messy, boring thing.