Saturday, January 15, 2011

Donnie Darko

As I noted in my last post, some of the unfortunate elements/scenes in The Lord of the Rings films appear to be financially driven. In contrast, Donnie Darko (2001) never "plays to the gallery." That's one of its many endearing (although some might argue maddening) elements.

I'd be curious to hear what others think of this film (like it? hate it? indifferent?) I watched it a second time last night and while I still haven't grasped everything going on the movie, it's one of those rare pictures you can return to again and again and take something from it each time. It's a haunting film that resists easy analysis (there's a web site dedicated to its explanation, but I've resisted looking at it in depth, as I would prefer not to atomize the film). Normally films featuring time travel and the implications of such give me a headache; for some reason this one worked.

Also, thanks to Donnie Darko I can't listen to Duran Duran's "Notorious" anymore without thinking of Sparkle Motion.

(The geek in me was proud to immediately recognize the identity of the unnamed "linguist" who noted that"cellar door" is the most beautiful pair of matched words in the English language, per Drew Barrymore's conversation with Donnie. Readers of this blog should be able figure it out).


Eric D. Lehman said...

"Wake up Donnie!" Great film. I have used it in the past, and will be using it yet again this semester, in my Science Fiction class(really Speculative Fiction, but I can't call it that because blah blah blah). Students love it, and I get great analytical essays trying to figure it out.

The 'director's cut' is surprisingly worse than the original - maybe sometimes directors do need restrictions.

Trey said...

I really like this film. It's always great to stumble upon a gem like this by accident, which is who I did.

While I haven't seen the director's cut, what I've heard about it echoes Eric's appraisal that it isn't as good. I hear it explains things that were better left ambiguous like in the theatrical release.

Lagomorph Rex said...

I actually like the directors cut.. the movie also used to have a highly interactive website. That had notes from the psychiatrist and from other psychotic episodes the main character had suffered.

I'm not sure if it is still up or not.. and yeah that bugged the heck out of me about 'cellar door' from the first time I saw the movie..

Welleran said...

Great movie (the director's cut not so much). I really like the ambiguity about what it all "means."

Brian Murphy said...

I'm glad to hear from some other fans of the film!

You're all the latest (the first being the guy who originally recommended the film) warning me to avoid the director's cut. Normally I prefer director's cuts of my favorite movies (see the extended Lord of the Rings, Blade Runner, etc.), but it does sound like it's almost a completely different film.

Scott said...


I love this film. In the version I have, the book about time travel is viewable page-by -page (it's not a long book)in the extras. The book actually explains a lot of what's going on in the film...but not everything. I like to watch films that require the viewer to think a bit every once in a while...stuff like David Lynch's , or Jordoworsky's The Holy Mountain, for example.