Donnie Darko

Donnie Darko ★★★½

A film that’s very much a surface level edgy teenager’s highschool fantasy, Donnie Darko is packed with a multitude of concepts ranging from murder to time travel. However, while it tries to seem smart and highly philosophical, and to a certain extent it does succeed at being witty, Donnie Darko very much tries too hard. 

Thankfully this film is pulled together by its lead actor, Jake Gyllenhaal. Without his performance I don’t think it would have worked as well. There’s also some fun camera work and good pacing to the story.

It’s just all too high-level for being an edgy high-school teenager popcorn film. This is something you watch in your youth, much like fight club, and you come away thinking you’re so smart because you got the surface level Philosophy. Maybe you could relate to Gyllenhaal’s Donnie Darko because you’re “broken”. 

One thing that came to mind is how maybe this film is a commentary on parents who provide “support” without ever actually being present in their kids lives? Donnie sees a shrink throughout the film and you have a variety of scenes where the parents are meeting with the shrink, teachers/principles at school, and yet they never meet with Donnie and ask him how he’s doing. They just hear it from the outsiders who judge his character. That’s an issue we have with some parents and their kids. I don’t know.

This is a film-bro movie much like Fight Club, which is often taken at face value without being analyzed any further. However, I don’t know if Donnie Darko has the same depth that Fight Club has. At least, I couldn’t pull more than what I saw right in front of me. 

Maybe I need to watch it again sometime to better understand the story.

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