Donnie Darko

Donnie Darko ★★★★½

Still one of the films I revisit every year when Autumn starts rolling round because it just gets me in the mood. Donnie Darko is a movie I appreciate more and more each time I watch it. Mainly due to its meticulously detailed, yet endearingly mysterious storytelling and fascinating take on a sci-fi time travel tale. Also I discovered that the director's cut is the inferior version in many regards, so watching the more streamlined and abstractly told theatrical cut has only strengthened my fondness.

There's a ton of great film-making on show here while retaining a down to Earth sort of feeling which only empathises the mystery and haunting of the dream-like sequences where Frank the bunny show up. I still get chills watching the cinema scene as well as seeing Frank first show up on the golf course. Tackling an end of the world, time-travel story in such an understated way is also still pretty unique. All of the low-stakes, day to day stuff going on as Donnie silently causes havoc and talks to his imaginary bunny friend is amusing and often endearing from an emotional standpoint. I really appreciated the ending this time around, really nailing an emotional stinger to punctuate the build-up from the opening scene.

We're at the point where we can call this film a classic now and it's definitely worthy of such a status. A shame Richard Kelly only really has this that can be fully appreciated in his filmography, as the theatrical cut shows that he can be pushed to make something fantastic.

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