Another Thursday, another #TBT Review folks. In the spirit of creeps and spooks for Halloween, I saw Donnie Darko was a recommend on my Netflix account. Now, this has been a movie I have wanted to see after hearing endless praise from my inner circle and the internet. The problem was this movie was never available to stream or rent via iTunes for the longest time. Only Netflix would come in the clutch for me like it did today and I finally watched. Doing some slight research I found this movie did not do very well in the box office and almost was straight to DVD due to its release being so close to the 9/11 attacks. However, people have deemed this movie a cult classic and billed as one of Jake Gyllenhaal’s best performances in his career.
I think I’m the one person who has seen this movie and dislikes it. The entire first 1/3 of the movie I was totally on board for. A mentally ill kid who has a dude in a demon bunny costume haunting Donnie Darko (Gyllenhaal’s character) and making him do some pretty fucked up shit? The demon bunny telling him the world was ending in his vision? A plane engine falls from the sky and almost kills Donnie but was saved thanks to his demon bunny telling him to leave the house? Yep, this movie was starting hot out the gates. Where the wheels fall of the track, in my opinion, is when the bunny tells Darko asks time travel and then Donnie finding the book about it. Time travel, really? That’s what the major plot device is in this film? I don’t mind time travel in my movies, but in a physiological thriller type movie I say NO THANK YOU SIR. I will say that the overall theme of time travel used in Donnie Darko isn’t terrible, but they lost my interest as soon as it was introduced. Basically time travel was used so Donnie could return back to when the plane engine crashed through his room so he would die in the wreck, basically retconning the entire plot of the movie. I feel like that was a time travel device I’ve seen in multiple movies and the whole stream thing that it introduced as the actual time travel thing and not a physical machine was weak as hell, but from a mental patients mind sure, why not?
The cast also I had a problem with. As a whole I only really cared about Donnie and his English teacher played by Drew Barrymore. Both played there roles with some conviction and overall I did like both characters for their subplots in the movie. I think this is probably Jake Gyllenhaal’s third best performance behind Nightcrawler and End of Watch. Seth Rogen and my dude Crazy Steve from the critically acclaimed show Drake and Josh have some cool cameos, but other than that I really didn’t like anyone else. Donnie’s girlfriend I had 0.0 interest in, as well as all of his family, friends, the bullies, teachers, and so on. I’m not sure if it was intentional or not for a meaningless cast, but I digress. As far as cinematography, sound design, and other movie nerd stuff I enjoy? Well, it’s no Blade Runner 2049, however I like the dated feel of the scenes for a movie set in 1988 and the soundtrack was good but not something that was revolutionary.
Donnie Darko was a movie I think if I never saw in my life, I don’t think I would have missed much. I think I had a problem more with the plot more than anything, which sucks since I heard this was suppose to be a classic cult movie that I do enjoy. If you haven’t seen this movie and you have Netflix, it’s something I’m not going to recommend or stay away from it like the anti-christ. I’m sure if you have Netflix, you are going to be deep into season 2 of Stranger Things this weekend (THANK FUCKING CHRIST WE BACK WITH THE ONLY SHOW I KEEP MY NETFLIX SUBSCRIPTION FOR) so I guess if you have a free hour or so, give Donnie Darko a whirl. Or don’t, I don’t care. Who am I to tell you what to watch or not anyway, am I right?
Score: Maybe/Maybe Not