EJ Paras’s review published on Letterboxd:
“Some people are just born with tragedy in their blood.”
Dark, eerie, and also darkly funny. Donnie Darko is a movie that asks us about our fears, and the idea of control: what we can control, and what we absolutely cannot. Donnie just doesn’t want to be alone. I think a lot of us can relate to that: when the world cuts to black, what do we hope to be there after? Or is it just learning to cope with this supposed darkness. Sometimes it’s easier just to understand, but will we ever understand it all?
Jake Gyllenhaal is committed and crazy in one of his earlier and more memorable roles. He plays manic, crazy, sad boy to a T, and it’s no wonder why guys like him and, I dunno, Evan Peters from American Horror Story get romanticized for playing these… troubled characters. The supporting cast is also quite stellar, with a lot of recognizable faces going along Donnie’s ride and journey. My favorite performances (aside from Gyllenhaal) being Jena Malone, Katharine Ross, and Patrick Swayze. Shoutout to Drew Barrymore, for her role as executive producer and actress — without her efforts, this movie probably would’ve never seen the movie theaters. Even though it was a box-office bomb, it’s obviously endured and become a cult classic.
Donnie Darko is about fear, and the hypocrisy in the institutions in which we seek out our answers to our fears. Religion, doctors, self-help gurus. It blends what’s real and what’s fantasy quite seamlessly. It’s an alluring viewing, and it’s consistently captivating.
The soundtrack is also pretty dang awesome. Donnie’s skeleton onesie with “Love Will Tear Us Apart” playing in the background? He walked so Phoebe Bridgers could run.
“The search for God is absurd?”
“It is if everyone dies alone.”
“Does that scare you?”
“I don't want to be alone.”