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Randy's Review

Created Dec 27, 2011 01:37PM PST • Edited Dec 27, 2011 01:37PM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Perfect 5.0

    I loved this movie. Sitting here, I’m trying to find a reason to rate this as less than perfect, but I can’t seem to do it. The story was clever and very well-written. At many points in the movie you find yourself asking “what the hell is going on?” This is a good thing, because it keeps you attached, and you want to find out the secret behind this mysterious and troubled teenager that is Donnie Darko. I don’t know why I am now just discovering this movie. Now I know why it’s proclaimed as the #1 cult movie in the world!

    This is the type of movie that I can only describe as, and excuse my language, as a “mind-f**k.” You know… like Inception. It’s one of those movies that when you get to the end, you have to go lay down for awhile, because your brain is overwhelmed trying to process what just happened. The way that everything ties together in the story to produce the final result is just… mind-blowing. Such an outstanding concept.

    Warning – you may have to watch this movie multiple times to fully understand it. It relies on some scientific concepts, which are important to the comprehension of the story… pausing the DVD may be necessary to read the passages that flash on the screen here and there. However, after watching this movie for the first time, I watched it three more times that same week, out of pure enjoyment. And I have found that you WILL enjoy this film more and more each time you watch it, in addition to gaining a better understanding of the ending, and why it happened, why it had to happen like that, what led up to it, etc. It’s really very genius.

    When watching this movie for the first time, you will not see the true cinematic masterpiece that this movie really is. The first time around, you will be encompassed in the story, trying to wrap your head around a foreign concept and attempting to gain some understanding of Donnie Darko’s journey through a tangent universe. However, when you watch the movie a second time, and a third time, and have the ending in mind, you notice things… GENIUS things. The way this movie was put together is absolutely incredible. Little hints and secrets and bits of foreshadowing run throughout the entire movie with allude to the amazing ending.

    There is one scene in the movie, towards the beginning, that is absolutely genius in terms of cinema. The first time around, this scene means nothing to you. There is no dialogue, and no action. There is a song playing, as a camera pans through the hallway of Donnie Darko’s high school. During this scene, the camera pans from side to side, showing various people who, at this point, the audience is not familiar with and means nothing to them.

    However, when you watch this movie a second time, after already seeing how everything plays out, you realize how truly great this small, seemingly unimportant scene is. It is at this time that the audience is introduced to every single person who plays a role in how the movie ends. Every single character who somehow affects Donnie Darko’s life and helps contribute to this ultimate fate is introduced in this scene, a work of pure brilliance.

    Definitely give this movie a shot! Like I said, it may be confusing at first. However, to truly appreciate this film, you have to watch it more than once. And believe me… after you see the incredible ending, you’re going to want to watch it again and again.

    Who the hell is Frank?! Why is that bunny talking?? Why is this happening to Donnie Darko? All questions that you’ll want answered… and you’ll get that answer with the incredible ending that still has my head spinning.

    The story moves a little slow at times… but bear with it. It’ll all be worth it in the end. If you enjoy figuring out mysteries, watch actively… think critically… try to put the pieces together! The director was genius in the way he throws so many little hints and clues in there as the story progresses. With additional viewing, you will gain greater appreciation for this truly brilliant film.

  3. Great 4.0

    Not a fan of Jake Gyllenhaal (Donnie Darko). Never have been. However, he was great in this. He played the troubled teenager role very well, and his tormented soul really came through to audiences. Also, he collaborates with his sister, Maggie (Elisabeth Darko, Donnie’s sister) in this movie, and they worked nicely together.

  4. Male Stars Great 4.0

    Jake Gyllenhaal (Donnie Darko), Holmes Osborne (Eddie Darko, Donnie’s Dad), Patrick Swayze (Jim Cunningham, Book Author), James Duval (Frank “The Bunny”), Noah Wyle (Physics Professor).

    I love Noah Wyle… my old favorite as Dr. Carter on the long-running TV series “ER”.

  5. Female Stars Really Great 4.5

    Maggie Gyllenhaal (Elisabeth Darko, Donnie’s sister), Jen Malone (Gretchen, Donnie’s girlfriend), Drew Barrymore (English teacher).

  6. Female Costars Very Good 3.5

    Another rising star… small cameo from a very young Ashley Tisdale (Disney teen star).

  7. Male Costars Great 4.0

    The beginnings of some rising stars! Look out for small roles from the following people, relatively unknown at the time, but now, not so much ;) See if you can spot them… See how young they were?

    Seth Rogan, Jerry Trainor (Nickelodeon star)

  8. Perfect 5.0

    Suspenseful… thrilling… mysterious… captivating… exciting… can you think of any others? Kept audiences glued to their seats wanting more… wanting to know the answer. Lighting, sound, music, progression from scene to scene… all helping deliver the proper mood.

    Very well put together. Donnie Darko is an exciting thriller.

  9. Direction Perfect 5.0
  10. Play Perfect 5.0
  11. Music Perfect 5.0
  12. Visuals Perfect 5.0
  13. Content
  14. Risqué 2.0

    Very mild movie. It is suspenseful, and action-driven. Some things are suggested, but it is not bad. The main focus is the story itself, and Donnie’s journey through the tangent universe.

  15. Sex Innocent 1.0
  16. Violence Fierce 2.5

    The end is a shocker. {No Spoilers, ruins the movie}. But what happens at the end causes you to jump in your seat a bit, because you’re not expecting that. It is not characteristic of the movie thus far, and it a bit of a surprise.

    Not terribly brutal, but not all kittens and bunnies either. It’s a very dark film, sometimes frightening at times.

  17. Rudeness Salty 2.5

    Very amusing give-and-take between Donnie and his sister, Elisabeth (Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal, sisters in real-life… kinda amusing!). The language is not so nice, but it is a realistic interaction between teenage brother and sister, which I enjoyed.

  18. Surreal 3.0

    I don’t know how to rate this one! The story revolves around the concept of a tangent universe, and is driven by a series of scientific theories regarding alternate universes.

    The keyword being… theories. While it appears that the movie is backed up by science, I’m not so sure. This is a tough one! I’m interested to hear other people’s thoughts on this!

    While it appears that many things in the movie are far-fetched and illogical, science suggests that such events could actually occur, pending the correct conditions and circumstances. Very interesting! This is what I meant when I called this movie a “mind-f**k.” I really can’t think of a better way to describe it.

    I’m very interested to hear other peoples’ thoughts on this!!

  19. Circumstantial Surreal 3.0
  20. Biological Surreal 3.0
  21. Physical Surreal 3.0


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