Donnie Darko

Donnie Darko ★★★½

Second watch. I’m right now on a trip of rewatching movies that I haven’t loved (or even liked) on a first watch (Three Billboards, 28 days later, Baby Driver and now Donnie Darko). I’m still not entirely sure what to think of this film, there’s a lot I love about this, but there’s also a good amount of parts about this that always annoyed me.

The main character is an edgy teenager, pretending to know everything about the world (he doesn’t), lecturing and judging his own teachers in their faces etc, and even though I think most teenagers are like this, the film sympathizes with the edgy teenager, portraying the teachers as stupid individuals and it all comes off just simply edgy. I don’t very much like the main character, which wouldn’t be as much of a problem as well, if the film wasn’t this pretentious. The slow-mo scenes, the edgy dialogue, the music choices - it pretends to be deep, but it simply isn’t. I understood the plot of Donnie Darko, but the plot, the themes, the dialogue - nothing is even remotely “deep”. If the film didn’t pretend to be a fantastic film every second, it would’ve been fantastic.

But it doesn’t matter that much for me because, the concept and the ideas are fantastic, the performances are good and especially the atmosphere is unique. The film creates a dreamy and dark atmosphere with a mix of early 2000s teen movies visuals and it works, it works wonderfully. I love the style of this film and the structure, the quick glimpses of the time-travel book and the timer. It creates tension just with some nice ideas, a good atmosphere and dream-like camera-movements.

Also my favorite moment of Donnie Darko will always be the exact last-shot. I love the ending, but at the end it’s always getting clear that the film’s plot never was any big (in some ways like Exotica), but the ideas thrown into it made it appear to be more complex as it actually is. Not really a flaw, actually something I quite admire.

I get the love, I get the hate - I’m more in the middle spectrum, but at the end I’m left with the exact same feeling as on my first watch (the last-shot) and not many films accomplished the dark atmosphere Donnie Darko created

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