This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Logan’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Donnie Darko is a weird, weird movie. It's an incredibly odd, strange, surreal movie about a mentally ill teenager who has recurring visions of a big spoopy rabbit man who tells him to do shit and also that the world is going to end. And then it throws time travel into the mix to further complicate what the hells going on
There's multiple different interpretations to the whole thing. Maybe it really is all time travel, and we're brought into this alternative reality, where everything is predetermined in order for Donnie to save the world and stop these realities collapsing in on themselves.
Maybe we're just in the mind of a mentally ill teen, seconds before he dies, and all of this movie besides the opening and ending is just a reality he's constructed where he has these powers and he does cool stuff like rebel against the system by talking back to the authorities, vandalising the school, and exposing a pedophile.
Maybe it's related to religion. We see that the school is clearly very religious and close-minded in its ideals, which we constantly see Donnie clash with, question and rebel against in his own way.
Or maybe it's none of that. Or maybe it's all of that, and like 20 other interpretations. This movie is able to succeed as it's left loose and open enough that you can come to multiple conclusions, but also even if you're like me watching it, trying to piece everything together, it's still incredibly enjoyable to watch as a weird psychological coming of age horror.
I didn't know much about this going into it, but this movie is actually really funny. Wether it be those deliberately cheesy classroom PSA's, Donnie's acts of rebellion, all the weird deliveries and awkward pace of conversations between him and Gretchen, the comically exaddurated devoutly religious teacher, Seth Rogen's random appearance and his first ever line on screen being "I like your boobs".
This whole movie has an early 2000's aesthetic to it. The camera is doing all this speed-up/slow-down shit, that weird fake liquid effect that 2000's movies loved using, the soundtrack, the editing. Even in the performances and the writing, it has a very 2000's campy vibe to it, but it feels like a lot more controlled version of that aesthetic. A good way to describe it is if Sam Rami made an arthouse film (which makes sense, since they flat out just go and watch Evil Dead in the movie)
The performances were all super fun Jake Gyllenhaal is great. His kinda awkward, weird energy fits this role really well. All of the supporting cast are weird and somewhat overexadurated, but they're still all great
As much as I'm still trying to fully understand and interpret the meaning behind everything, I still know at least that I really loved this movie, even if I've not fully comprehended my take on what's going on, I still really enjoyed it and will probably continue to think about it for years to come.
Watched as part of Film Club