Xplodera’s review published on Letterboxd:
“Exactly how can one suck a fuck?”
I think that for a long time, I really struggled with movies that I felt were complicated to comprehend - because I felt that if I didn't fully understand the makers intent with the movie, I didn't "get" it. The more I've dived into movies that I feel opens for a lot of discussion and interpretation though - the more I've realized that anybody's interpretation of a piece of art should be valid, no matter how much it may differ from the minds of the writers of the movie.
So with that said - to me, Donnie Darko is in many ways a movie about mental health (or issues, depending on how you look at it). Whether or not the man in the bunny-suit is real or inside Donnie's head, or the discussions of parallel universes - goes over my head for most of the time, but the movie still manages to be very gripping. Much is thanks to Jake Gyllenhaals acting, which is just amazing and he manages to constantly make it look as if Donnie is near his breaking point - but much is also thanks to the character he plays.
Donnie is obviously a very troubled person, he has a different view of life and suffers from some kind of depression - but it's also obvious how oblivious or ignorant of this the grown ups are. The world around him (and mostly adults) constantly trivializes mental illness and in the middle of this is Donnie, with a view of the world that no-one seem to share - especially not the obnoxious motivational coach (played brilliantly by Patrick Swayze) that Donnie rips apart in one of my favorite scenes.
However, there seems to be one that can understand Donnie, and that is Frank in his Bunny suit that seem to accompany Donnie for most of the time. He could be seen as a kind of schizophrenic catalyst for everything that weights Donnie down inside - and with his talk about the end of the world he gives the nihilistic and isolated Donnie something to believe in (dare I even say, look forward to?). So in this world of ignorance, Donnie closes more to Frank (which could mean himself) until a point where the movie reaches its great climax.
No matter how you look at Donnie Darko though, I think it's an amazing and fascinating ride. It has a few issues - the cgi is poor and some of the acting (especially the adults) are a bit flawed - but its unpredictable nature makes it a unique experience. It can be surprisingly funny but also perfectly dark thanks to Jake Gyllenhaal's superb performance.
It's not only one of my favorite movies of all time - it's one of my favorite experiences.