“Donnie Darko” Review ✦✦✦✦✦

11 January, 2017

Year of Release: 2001
Director: Richard Kelly
Screenwriter: Richard Kelly
Director of Photography: Steven Poster
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Patrick Swayze

Synopsis: A teenage boy who experiences daylight hallucinations narrowly escapes death one night and soon feels compelled to carry out a number of antisocial acts in an attempt to restore equilibrium within his already fragile universe.

Donnie Darko Review:

Created as the bible for the frustrated and misunderstood, “Donnie Darko” features an encyclopaedic play of themes in which a rebel with a very pressing cause becomes the saviour of a dying universe. Literally sacrificing himself for the sins of others, Donnie finds his meaning through destruction; a starkly realised concept in a film so deeply concerned with the bane of the teen condition.

Playing out like a new film upon each viewing, “Donnie Darko” is an ode to the underappreciated as Richard Kelly places the burden of adolescence on a fresh-faced Jake Gyllenhaal. Making cult cinema history alongside 90s icon James Duval, Gyllenhaal discovers himself on film, refusing to be shackled into a typecast role and spreading his wings while Duval hides behind the mask that would come to define his entire career. The film allows the young Gyllenhaal to have his moment, as Kelly creates his own Dean or Brando while paving his protagonist’s path towards self-destruction.

“Donnie Darko” appeals to the loner and the outsider as it taps into the pubescent mind without providing definitive answers to its complex chain of events. If existential crisis is the context then life is the trajectory as fantasy and drama collide within cinema’s very own Immaculate Conception. “Donnie Darko” is a nostalgic, inimitable creation. A masterpiece hidden in the strangest of places. A film that’s as much of an anomaly as the tangent universe within which its narrative resides.


Review Date
Donnie Darko