Perhaps one of the most referenced and influential films to date, Donnie Darko leaves its audience in a state of awe, mild confusion and gobsmacked as they explore the life of one schizophrenic teenager, a "stupid bunny suit" and a string of crimes. Directed by Richard Kelly, it features astounding performances from Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Drew Barrymore.
Though I watched this movie for the first time at age three, I believed that it deserved a revisit as there would have been a lot of information and the general point of the film unrecognised to my young mind. Upon re-watching this film, I was more aware of the sadness and tragedy that lies behind the theatrical appearances of Frank, the 6ft rabbit and the transparent blobs protruding from the bellies of party-going teenagers.
The messages presented in this film are so relevant, a complete salad bowl of love, loss, life and death that change in intensity using audio aids of classic 80s tracks or non-verbal performances to convey thoughts and feelings.
The acting in this film is flawless and each character has been constructed well and given the correct amount of care in creation. Jake Gyllenhaal as Donnie Darko the protagonist, is a teenaged boy with elements of paranoid schizophrenia. While often medicated, it appears as if his condition worsens by the sights and actions in which he is involved. Whilst dealing with his mental health issues, he is conveyed as philosophical, abrasive and creative and at times, threatening and overpowering.
Another thing to truly love about this film is that it is open to interpretation. Considering that mental illness is discussed and quite predominant, one might go as far to suggest, "was it all a psychological dream?" While not a cliff hanger, the film ends strategically perhaps to leave the audience with more questions worthy of reflection and time consuming theories.
Along with the ingenious storyline, acting and precision of the film making, this movie also contains a beautiful soundtrack that may have a lot more in common with the film in terms of message and relevance than one might think. (CONTINUED IN COMMENTS) - 4 days ago