Foraging for good movies on IMDB, I came across this movie “Donnie Darko”, which had amazing user ratings, and I decided to watch it. My first thoughts after watching it were “What the hell was that? Did the writers even want the viewers to understand?”, and the answer is simply a no. The movie was designed to be interpreted differently by different audience and just intended to present a vague idea of a parellel universe and time travel. Then I stumbled across this link (http://www.donniedarko.org.uk/explanation/), explaining the whole concept and I realized what a creative movie this was, overshadowed only by the abysmal script and direction.
Donnie is a high school kid (played by Jake Gyllenhaal), who has emotional problems and hallucinates a six-foot tall bunny rabbit, which looks more like a devil from a mediocre horror film. After the bunny rabbit, Frank, saves Donnie’s life, he feels obliged to repay the debt and commits various crimes as instructed by the rabbit. This is what is presented as the theme of the movie but its nowhere near that simple. Frank is a total mystery and seems to have traveled through time to approach Donnie. The plot keeps getting stranger and stranger and when the seemingly interminable movie ends after 2 hours and 13 minutes, you are left confused and disappointed.
Although the faults in the plot are seldom forgiven if the acting is top-notch, actors do not live up to the expectation. There is nothing extraordinary coming from Jake Gyllenhaal (he was a rookie then and has improved exponentially since) and young Jena Melone as Donnie’s girlfriend also doesn’t seem confident enough to pull off the easy role. Holmes Osborne and Mary Eileen McDonnell as Donnie’s parents are the only ones who stand out but unfortunately their role is minuscule and trivial.
The biggest problem with this movie is its insipid script, that just keeps going on and on with nothing riveting at any point. Instead of punctuating on the complicated plot and trying to enthrall the audience with it, the writers resort to redundant and gratuitous scenes that only bore and confuse the viewers. No one bothers to speak the real plot out loud and expect us to discern and comprehend everything from the facial expression of the actors (who don’t do a good job with acting). The amazing potential of the innovative story is drained by the awful script and cannot be redeemed by direction, acting, music or any other department. Although the script decimates the whole movie, there are some engaging parts like the one where Donnie publicly insults a famous motivational speaker Jim Cunningham, or the one where the authorities are assessing the damage done to Donnie’s school after someone breaks into the school at night.
I will go with a 6 on 10 for this, but it could have easily been a much better movie if not for the dreadful script.