D.J. Haza presents the next entry in his series of films to watch before you die…
Donnie Darko, 2001.
Directed by Richard Kelly.
Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Drew Barrymore and Patrick Swayze.
Donnie Darko is a psychological thriller that sees its main character, Donnie (Jake Gyllenhaal), trying to figure out the significance behind his dark visions. Troubled teenager Donnie seeks the help of a psychiatrist in order to help him deal with his demons and troubled past.
The films begins with Donnie being lured from his bedroom during the night by a dark rabbit-like figure, Frank (James Duval), who instructs him that in 28 days 6 hours 42 minutes and 12 seconds the world will end. Whilst Donnie is out of his room an airplane engine falls from the sky and crashes through his ceiling. Donnie wakes on a golf course and returns home to find the emergency services there. No one knows where the engine came from since there were no airplanes reported to be flying anyway near the vicinity at the time of its fall.
As the film unfolds Donnie’s story gets darker and darker. Frank convinces Donnie to commit a series of crimes that involve burning down a house, flooding the school and stealing his father’s gun. Frank also explains time travel to Donnie and it becomes a huge feature of the film. As the 28 days until the end of the world draws closer a series of events take place that see a host of tragedies.
I wont spoil the ending for you, but Donnie Darko is a cleverly thought out and intriguing film that has an eerie edge and dark nature to it. Although a little complex for some the film isn’t overly complicated, but does include and explore the possibility of time travel. Although the film didn’t perform particularly well at the box office and missed out on earning back it’s production budget it has gone on to earn itself a huge cult following.
Donnie Darko is a film you must see before you die because it is has a menacing and eerie presence that hints towards catastrophe at every opportunity. Accompanied by a dark pop music soundtrack the film will take you to a strange and uncomfortable emotional and psychological place.