Monday, May 26, 2003


A Video Review of "Donnie Darko"

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

Jake Gyllenhaal is most often confused with Tobey Maguire. He was even up for the role of Spider-Man which Maguire ably snagged. He’s done some eclectic films in the past from Bubble Boy to The Good Girl. Eclectic is where he parallels Maguire. Maguire’s early film choices were quirky as well and this is why I believe big things are in store for Jake Gyllenhaal.

Jake plays the title role of a disturbed young man haunted by his delusions which started when a jet engine fell into his bedroom, no really. Also featured here are the always amazing Drew Barrymore as a put upon but well meaning English teacher and the interestingly cast Patrick Swayze as a motivational speaker whose psychobabble has infected a local school district. The science teacher Noah Wyle is as good here as he is as Dr. Carter on "ER." Capable but good.

Set in 1988 it has a wonderful 1980s new wave soundtrack. The principal standout is a quiet mellow version of Tears For Fears' "Mad World" at the end of the film. Powerful.

Donnie Darko is a tale of a disturbed young man who begins to follow the directions of a six-foot rabbit named ‘Frank.’ Now just back off before you begin to make any comparisons to the classic Jimmy Stewart film Harvey. This is a whole different animal. Frank gives young Donnie orders of a sociopathic nature getting him into more trouble than your usual high schooler.

This dark story descends from there into a spiraling vortex of delusion and science fiction. It keeps you guessing from one moment to the next as to what is really going on until the shock ending. Very disturbing, enthralling and must see.

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