'Donnie Darko' may be the weirdest movie I have ever seen.

Amazon.com: Pop Culture Graphics Donnie Darko 27x40 Movie Poster ...

On October 2 1988, a troubled teen named Donnie Darko is woken up and led outside by a mysterious figure who turns out to be a man in a large rabbit suit named Frank who tells him the world will end. Frank then begins to manipulate Donnie into committing crimes.

I had never seen this movie before and this is not what I expected and I don't mean that in a negative way. I vaguely knew about it and went into it pretty much blind and I think that was the best choice. This movie has a lot more substance than you would think. The sci-fi elements blend very well with the psychological elements in a story that seems confusing on the surface but it's pretty straightforward.


Jake Gyllenhaal's acting is phenomenal. This was the movie that made Hollywood pay attention to his acting. There is a darkness in his performance that is also present in subsequent films like Zodiac and Nightcrawler.  Donnie isn't a very likeable character but I felt a kinship because he has his likeable moments. There was also a sense of compassion surrounding our relationship with Donnie. He's a troubled kid and you sympathise with him. Jake Gyllenhaal's performance really elevates the film and without him, this movie wouldn't be as good.

This movie also has an immensely talented supporting cast. Maggie Gyllenhaal, Drew Barrymore, Jenna Malone, Patrick Swayze even Seth  Rogen and Ashely Tisdale have cameos. They all do a job but the best performance is Jake Gyllenhaal as the title character. The supporting cast in this movie much like 'Nappily Ever After' exist mostly for the main character to bounce off of. Even though Drew Barrymore is good as Karen Pomeroy, Donnie' Teacher most of the performances range from good to passable. There isn't one from the supporting cast that really stands out.

We spend so much time with Donnie that I didn't give the other characters a lot of thought, much like the movie.


This movie was released in 2001 but is set in 1988 and it shows. A lot of the dialogue and jokes don't hold up. However, the inappropriate jokes come from characters that are supposed to be unlikeable. That doesn't excuse what they say but there a semi-valid reason for it.

As I mentioned earlier, the supporting characters don't have as much development as Donnie does, which makes me less likely to care about them. That's disappointing because a lot of care was put into writing that character that feels like a real person with real emotions and it would have been nice to connect with another character the way you connect with him.

Richard Kelly the director hasn't worked a lot since this movie, which is a shame because the writing and execution are so original. There are 3 different genres in this movie sci-fi, horror and thriller and all three create a unique tone that stays consistent throughout the film. When the tone does shift it's done very seamlessly that it's barely recognisable.

Thematically, this film has a lot to unpack. Apart from the strong sci-i elements, it's also a coming of age story. We see Donnie grow over the course of the movie and come to terms with his shortcomings. This film also has a strong spiritual element as well.

CGI/Set Design

This movie isn't special effects heavy and because of that, the special effects that were used don't look that bad even though it doesn't hold up very well in 2018.

There isn't much to say about the set or costume design because that's not the focus of the film. It all looks very average and normal, which isn't a bad thing especially when you look at the movie as a whole and its subject matter.

I do have to say that the bunny suit Frank wears is horrific and could easily give someone nightmares.


The cover of Mad World used in this movie is famous and has been used in everything from vines to the musical episode of Riverdale (don't ask) and even though you only hear the song once in the film, it sticks you and was in my head as I wrote this blog post
Here you go...

Overall the score is nothing to go crazy about. This is the kind of film where the score doesn't matter. That's not what your focus should be and it doesn't contribute much to the movie. I barely paid attention to it which is out of character for me.

 Overall Thoughts

 This film is a slow burn that leaves you thinking. Even though I watched this movie last night I'm still thinking about what the movie means.

There is a huge amount of love surrounding this movie and I can understand why. This movie occupies a unique pocket. There aren't a lot of movies like it. That being said it doesn't hold up very well due to the large amounts of teen angst, odd jokes that are very problematic. It could also leave you very confused if you don't give it your utmost attention.

This is one of those films that needs to be watched more than once because it's easy to miss little details the filmmakers put in it. Although I don't know if I would watch this movie anytime soon.