“Donnie Darko” is a surreal, fast paced, ambiguous cult flick that leaves the audience with more questions than answers, but in a good way. And, oddly enough, it’s a teen film, but not one filled with slapstick comedy and quotable one-liners or continuous love scenes. Rather it’s more of a film about teens, that teens wishing for something more seem to be drawn to. Jake Gyllenhaal plays Donnie Darko, a high-school teenager with mental problems and a supposedly schizophrenic side. He often talks to imaginary friends, and the latest is some person dressed in a bunny suit named Frank. Donnie's home life is normal for the most part. His parents are not the typical kind who argue and bicker at every convenience so that we are reminded they are a dysfunctional family. When Donnie curses at his sister, their mother simply says, "please stop," while the father grins. Meanwhile, every night Donnie sleepwalks and often leaves the house, ending up in hilly streets or golf courses. He takes medication, and sees a therapist who frequently hypnotizes him. Then a strange event takes place. A fallen airplane engine crashes through Donnie's room. The plane in question minus an engine is never found. The event changes everybody. But Donnie sees this as some sign, as evidenced by Frank who tells him he has 28 days before the world will end in some sort of apocalypse. But is the bunny foretelling the future or the past? Who will listen to Donnie? His parents? His dubious physics teacher ? His English literature teacher? His new girlfriend? Or is the town's reclusive neighbor known as Grandma Death who has the answers?
November 16, 2007