What can I say about Donnie Darko that hasn’t already been said? Not much to be quite honest, it’s a cult classic and held in very high regard by a hell of a lot of movie goers. I somewhat agree with this, it’s definitely a solid movie that has surpassed other, similar movies that released around the time period. Remember The Butterfly Effect? Yeah, me either. Drama movies are one thing, but throwing in the supernatural or the ambivalent nature of life into a Jake Gyllenhaal role and you’re bound to turn heads.
But that’s where the main problem lies for me, as I don’t consider myself a Gyllenhaal fan. Granted I’ve not seen Zodiac or Prisoners just yet, but I have seen Nightcrawler and Nocturnal Animals and have since concluded that I’m not really a fan of Gyllenhaal. Blasphemous as that statement may be, his leading role in Donnie Darko is a solid enough start and possibly the best performance I’ve seen so far from him. That’s not really a commendation though, especially given his inconsistencies elsewhere, but at least this starring role was solid enough to keep me invested.
The same cannot be said for the rest of the movie though, which although dark and eerie, just didn’t sit well with me. I wasn’t uncomfortable or freaked out, if anything I was a little bit bored. The premise is an interesting one, but it just doesn’t capitalise on it all that well. Freak show visuals with a general inconsistency in the writing leads to some very mixed results throughout.
Irksome, a bit dull and a one hit wonder, director Richard Kelly is consistent enough in bringing some nice direction and breaking a few tropes of the strangely paranormal style dramatic genre. I don’t know what genre or style of horror/thriller this would be, it’s a strange case study that as it turns out isn’t as interesting or as engaging as I’d hoped it would be.