Donnie Darko (2001)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Never gets old.

There are very few movies I would consider perfect. As much as I love movies, it’s hard to really call a film perfect and far easier to call it, maybe, almost perfect. There are a few films, however, that get the honor of receiving a 100% from me, most of which I can count on one hand. Donnie Darko is a movie I hadn’t seen in years, but I was pretty sure it would be rated highly, if not a perfect score. Low and behold, here it is, and every time I watch it, I’m blown away. It’s not for everyone though. For instance, if you can’t comprehend movies that really make you think, than it’s not for you, but if you enjoy intellectual and dark mysterious flicks, then boy do I have a film for you.

Something is happening to Donnie Darko. When an imaginary rabbit by the name of Frank visits him in his sleep, he continues to tell Donnie that he is from the future, and the world was ending in less than a month. From there on out, Donnie begins to see things that he can’t understand nor explain. He begins to think that time travel may or may not have something to do with it all, and as the film carries on, the entire mystery begins to unravel itself.

The movie definitely works on its own, but people will be left wondering what happened in the end. It’s a movie that you can’t just be satisfied watching once, because there is so much to take under consideration. Everything that happens in this movie, no matter how trivial or boring you might initially think it is, is incredibly important to the story. There is actually so much I wish I could tell you, but so much material is actually spoilery to those who haven’t seen the film. Just know that for years, people made theories, diagrams, and articles trying to explain the movie. All are fascinating, but none are confirmed. It all depends on what you prefer in a movie, and I’m pretty sure anyone can enjoy at least a part of what this film has to offer, if not all.

It’s so weird. The movie feels a lot older than it actually is, which is normally a negative for my reviews, but in this case, it helps add to that feeling of strange…incompleteness that the film has locked into place from the very beginning of the film. It feels old, and then you have people like Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal, and a surprising appearance by Seth Rogen that reminds you this film isn’t as old as it appears. It’s just a very dreamlike, hazy-feeling film. It’s incredible really.

Regardless of post-viewing theories and explanations, the movie itself for a first-time viewer is still enticing as you try to figure out if Donnie is a crazy psychopath slowly transforming into a mass murderer, if he’s just dreaming the whole thing, if this Frank really is a time traveler, if it’s just some hooligans, or something else entirely. It’s an enigma. I think a majority of the theorists out there understand what this film is going for, but that blasted fake sequel, S. Darko following around the life of Donnie’s sister, Samantha – ruined everything. Heed my warning, everyone, don’t watch S. Darko. It’s not that the movie itself is terrible, it’s just…what it does to this film is terrible.

Other than that, I’d say that the acting and characters in this film are exemplary. The writing is insanely smart and complex – but so, so well done. This movie is made to make you think, so if you don’t like thinking about movies after they are done, look somewhere else. This is every bit as philosophical as it is psychological.

The Good:


The Bad:


Memorable Quote:

Gretchen: “Donnie Darko.” What the hell kind of name is that? It’s like some sort of superhero or something.

Donnie: What makes you think I’m not?


3 thoughts on “Donnie Darko (2001)

  1. Yeah, this is a classic. Still a tad confusing after all these years, but that’s fine with me. Something tells me that one day, Richard Kelly will come back to the movie world and give us another unforgettable masterpiece that’s more like this, and not like “The Box”, or dare I even mention, “Southland Tales.” Sheesh!


  2. Great review! This is my favourite film of all time so I’m glad you listed nothing wrong with it aha, love how everything is thought about in this film, throughout there’s the foreboding soundtrack and the story is by far one of the most complex I have ever seen. 5/5 FILM!


  3. Nice Dave. This movie is insanely awesome, I agree. It’s nice to see you rate it so highly, I thought I was going insane watching this movie. Jake Gyllenhaal is very very good here. Love it.


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