Donnie Darko

(dir. Richard Kelly) (2001)

A lush, Gothic, teen exploitation film of superior calibre. Donnie (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a typical, upper middle class, cringing dork with anger issues and a friend called Frank, who appears to be a cross between a pooka and Satan Bunny.  Frank informs Donnie that the world only has till the eve of Halloween to live.

"there will be so much to look forward to."

“there will be so much to look forward to.”

Jam-packed with ideas, some of which should lie on the cutting floor: we have surreal visual homages to the paintings of William Blake and John Martin, a soundtrack oddly reminiscent of Badlands, a rock video sequence with (of all things) Tears For Fears songs, Drew Barrymore as an irresponsible teacher of literature, a terrific Jack Palance-style turn by Patrick Swayze as a dubious motivational speaker on the subject of ‘controlling fear’, Katherine Ross as a mushy Jungian psychologist, a ‘Grandma Death’ who keeps crazily checking her letterbox, a crippled plane, and a slice of hokum concerning the dynamics and philosophy of time travel.

All in all, good atmospheric fun and worth a few viewings, although TVC is wracked with doubt over its “commitment to Sparkle Motion!”

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