Ryan_McL’s review published on Letterboxd:
"The children have to save themselves these days because the parents have no clue."
Despite premiering before George W. Bush was president (first showing was 1 day for his inauguration), this still finds itself as the first piece of Bush era art. Kelly himself seems to have a prescience to himself, both with his story that his producer told him it wouldn't be possible for a jet engine to fall off a plane, until it did while they were filming, and SOUTHLAND TALES being prophetic in America's future.
DONNIE DARKO finds itself at the end of the last "great" (though really horrible) Republican presidency, that of Ronald Reagan. The political undertones never take the forefront, as they're undertones, but knowing Kelly's viewpoints it's clear to me that he views Reagan and George HW Bush as symptoms of the problem plaguing Middlesex.
Kelly's directing is a little rough around the edges, as to be expected by a young filmmaker working on a small budget, and yet his directorial choices fascinate me in a way no one else's, not even my favorites, have. All of his song choices, especially Mad World at the end, are excellent. His shot compositions are great. One that struck out to me was when Donnie and his classmates are leaving the school bus, and the camera is placed at a 90 degree angle before tilting back to 0.
I would get into the deeper themes of the film, but I already know that I'll have much more to say when I revisit this in the future. Not even gonna hesitate in calling this an all-timer.