- Two-Lane Blacktop (1971)
- Trainspotting (1996)
- Rain Man (1988)
- Fatal Attraction (1987)
- Targets (1968)
- An Education (2009)
- Mirror, The (1974)
- Fargo (1996)
- Fight Club (1999)
- Do The Right Thing (1989)
- Report (1967)
- Is "The Sting" The Best Gambling Film Ever Made?
- Pink Flamingos (1972)
- Ox-Bow Incident, The (1943), Or 28 Angry Men
- Rome, Open City (1945)
- Spring in a Small Town (1948)
- Drive (2011)
- Vinyl (1965)
- Seconds (1966)
- Rosemary's Baby (1968)
- A Hollywood Invasion of Casino Halls
- Thin Man, The (1934)
- In The Heat of the Night (1967)
- All In: The Poker Movie, Player’s Best Tricks
- Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
- Lone Star (1996)
- Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965)
- Slacker (1991)
- Shame (2011) Or Who the Hell is Steve McQueen?
- Wicker Man, The (1973)
Donnie Darko (2001)
Darko and Brilliant
Genre: Drama Mystery Sci-Fi
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal (Brokeback Mountain • Zodiac), Jena Malone (Life as a House • Into the Wild)
Directed By: Richard Kelly (Southland Tales • The Box)
Overview: A troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a large bunny rabbit that manipulates him to commit a series of crimes, after narrowly escaping a bizarre accident. -IMDb
As the tagline (Dark. Darker. Darko.) suggests, Donnie is a troubled teen, and not in that middle-class-ennui-at-not-having-the-latest-iPhone way. Donnie is less Emo and more Medicated-Schizophrenic-Sleepwalking-Hallucination troubled. He sees a psychiatrist, he fights with his siblings, and one night while out sleepwalking, a jet engine crashes into his bedroom. From that point things start getting a little weird. Donnie makes a new imaginary friend named Frank. Frank is a pretty scary bunny the size of a man that speaks to Donnie and guides him in vandalism and other crimes, crimes that cause a ruckus in the school faculty, but also have ironically poetic/poetically ironic consequences. We follow the story of a twisted boy as he tries to get through October, including sharing moments with a new girlfriend, the aforementioned evil bunny, sharing rows and insight with his teachers, and a strange old lady who lives down the street nicknamed Grandma Death who, in a weird roundabout way, turns him onto learning more about time travel, of all things.
She's crazy. Crazy like a TIME TRAVELLER!
Dr. Lilian Thurman: Do you feel alone right now?
Donnie: Oh, I dunno. I mean I'd like to believe I'm not but I just... I've just never seen any proof so I... I just don't debate it anymore, you know? It's like I could spend my whole life debating it over and over again, weighing the pros and cons and in the end I still wouldn't have any proof so I just... I just don't debate it anymore. It's absurd.
Dr. Lilian Thurman: The search for God is absurd?
Donnie: It is if everyone dies alone.
Now, rather than being a haunting thriller about a teen's angst-riddled descent into/ascent from madness, an interesting enough plot already, Donnie Darko is a film far more profound and with many great twists. Discussions on Death and God add an element of the existential, a depth that was unnecessarily wonderful. Most notable, however, is the exploration of the theme of mental health, the best storyline Donnie Darko has to offer. Going deeper than stability and instability, perversion and purity, Godlessness and zeal, Donnie Darko explores characters that are juxtaposed between philosopher kings and emotional retards, as illustrated by the cheesy, vacuous self-help video-swill the faculty teaches their suburban children.
Donnie: [shouts] First of all, Papa Smurf didn't create Smurfette. Gargamel did. She was sent in as Gargamel's evil spy with the intention of destroying the Smurf village. But the overwhelming goodness of the Smurf way of life transformed her. And as for the whole gang-bang scenario, it just couldn't happen. Smurfs are asexual. They don't even have... reproductive organs under those little, white pants. It's just so illogical, you know, about being a Smurf. You know, what's the point of living... if you don't have a dick?
Ronald Fisher: [pause] Dammit, Donnie. Why you gotta get all smart on us?
Of course it’s not all deep. Most of the script is delivered in such a hilarious fashion that I’m surprised that Donnie Darko isn’t also billed partly as a Comedy. The soundtrack is memorable, each song chosen with meticulous care. Beautifully shot with a Hell of a brilliant ending, Donnie Darko lives in the best of both cinematic worlds - incredibly successful at the box office and still a cult classic, and not surprisingly sitting at #146 on IMDb’s top 250. Proven fun and straight-forward enough to appeal to the masses while still having enough cinephile-savvy moments of genuine genius in the writing, cinematography, fantasy and in loveable and despicable characters, Donnie Darko is a nearly perfect film, and certainly one I regretted not revisiting sooner.
Clearly a tip of the hat to Harvey, a film where the imaginary bunny is ... nice.
Performance: 8 Cinematography: 9 Script: 10 Plot: 9 Mood: 9
Overall Rating: 90% (Darko Shines Bright)
There's movies that you watch that make you remember why you toil. Donnie Darko is one such film. I also found Patrick Swayze’s role to be one of the best I’ve seen in his career.
Yes, that includes Road House.