SUMMARY: Donnie Darko is a movie for those interested in the deepest of thinking and the sought understanding of the way the world works.
Writing/Directing - 9/10
Acting - 10/10
Quality - 10/10
Art - 10/10
Overall - 10/10
FOREWARD: Before I go into my review itself, I would like to mention a few things. The first of which being that I have only given two other movies 10/10 ratings (Stripes and The Aviator, which both get "higher tens"). That can give a feeling of how serious I make a 10/10.
Another thing to note is that I will explain what each field means when the field is introduced in detail.
The next is about how I came about this movie. A few hours ago Bob practically had to force me to watch it (it was one of those times where I'd rather play more Thief: The Dark Project). From there, I saw...
Unfortunately, it is very hard to go into detail without spoiling parts of the movie, so much of this review will be held with utmost care. Keep in mind that from here on out, a very vague spoiler or two may come out, but spoilers will be avoided with the intention to not ruin the movie while getting my point across.
Writing - It was clear from scene one that this movie was written with care. It is a very complex movie that had me raising an eyebrow to some astonishing detail. The characters played their roles as if they were people, and thus were always acting how they should, but not in a predictable fashion.
The story as it develops is admittedly a little steady (the movie's climax is almost non-existant), and there will be a significant plot point or two that you will not figure out unless you goto the website (which is one big spoiler-free puzzle (there is one spoiler which is marked)) or get the DVD.
The movie as a whole is very solid in what the writing intended.
Acting - Jake Gyllenhaal did a fantastic job in October Sky (as Homer Hickum), but his job in this movie (as Donnie Darko) is astonishing. I never realized that someone could act so well until some of the times when I saw Donnie Darko prove that he has a mind, and that he isn't afraid to use it. Jake Gyllenhaal doesn't hold back when it comes to any emotion that needs to "properly" be expressed.
The other characters match the writing an directing in their perfection as well. None of their performances seem fake throughout the entire movie. You don't see them meeting cues as if they are acting these roles, but you really see the reactions, the conversations, and the reality behind the story that they are telling for the audience. None of the acting is that of people that want to be seen, and thus all of the characters are a lot more realistically paced in turn.
The acting is evidence of a seasoned crew who aren't playing families or teachers, but instead are a family and teachers.
Quality - By quality, what I mean is the overall detail in the touches that are made to the scenes, costumes, writing, acting, everything. The wholes get their sections, but the extra mile is here.
With that said, I must say that the music is the absolute perfect music for the times it appears, and is also timed at perfect moments. Come the end of the movie, I leaned back on the couch in understanding purely from the music, before what it represented even came into view.
The special effects aren't flashing except when they really mean to be flashy. You won't see a whole lot of it, and most of it is just there to serve its purpose. When it serves its purpose at some times, it's minor. At other times, it is vibrant, and full of textures and all that good stuff.
The costumes aren't flashy or attention-grabbing. It's a no-name town in Virginia (1988), so good. The scenery doesn't take the cheap way out either. The rooms you see are specifically detailed without looking exaggerated or staged.
Art - The art of the movie is the overall creativity with it. Is there meaning to it, is it clear the crew put thought into it.
This movie is so full of art, I won't even describe it. You will see the art when you watch it. That's how confident I am that you will find this movie very artful if you watch it.
Final notes - Donnie Darko is a movie that I am sure I will look back at in five years and raise an eyebrow about. It is a movie that gets in your mind, and questions many things you may wonder about humanity, mental illness, and existance as a whole. I recommend that this movie is watched, because it is an experience for any working mind.
Jun 21 2006, 1:36 am