- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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A masterpiece that demands multiple viewings.
What I think many miss in the story is the theme of religious belief as a creative act; apocalyptic visions viewed in past centuries as enlightenment (I mean reading passages from Ezekiel from the Bible could pass for a 21st century schizophrenic's paranoid hallucinations).The main theme of this theme is a complex play on sacrifice - for example, the old lady and author of the book central to this movie, sacrificed her prior holy life for a life as a science teacher and then recluse; and of course the main drama of the film is Donnie challenging his fate as a sacrificial lamb. And as a direct sarcasm to the simple "solutions" proffered and swallowed whole in the film, there degrees between sacrifice and total self-interest are presented. What makes it a masterpiece to me is the fusing of a polyglot of genres that makes a successful movie - teenage rebel movies, sci-fi, social/political critique, magic realism, superhero movies etc. in order to bring a great weight and complexity to the subject of sacrifice. Of course there are subsidiary themes that are given some ample commentary on - the degree at which wisdom/intellect is so great to be madness, and how intellect can trump stupidity and violence. Despite its brooding and dark touches, it is a positive film that still withholds complete happiness, but at least a potential of one act of misfortune promising a greater good. The trick of Donnie Darko is to reduce to reveal the thematic and philosophical richness of the movie that enriches what could have been a maudlin and overly sentimental or cliched story. By avoiding such a trap and presenting spots of biting sarcasm without reducing the weight inherent in the film, Darko maintains its masterpiece status.
This film is worth watching especially if you enjoy the 80's and 90's music and stars (Smurfs, Drew Barrymore, etc). It has great qualities that make you want to keep watching.