By: T.J. “sometimes I doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion” Mulligan
Requested by: thepriesttheycalledhim
I remember finding out about this movie in the summer of 2003. I had just graduated high school and my friend Mike mentioned that he had heard a lot of chatter regarding this film from friends who had seen it. One night while walking around a Meijer, basically just killing time, we stumbled across a DVD copy of the movie at a reasonable price. Mike picked it up and we headed home to watch it. By the time the credits rolled I wasn’t sure what I had watched, what my opinion on it was or where the last 2 hours of my life had gone, but I didn’t really care. For the next few days all I could think about were the different parts in the movie, trying to mentally piece them together so that it at least made sense to me. Its ability to stick with me is what lead me to purchase it. Since then I’ve watched it a number of times, but haven’t actually sat down to watch it again in about 3 or 4 years.
Since this is basically just a running commentary with the picture I feel obligated to note that there are potential SPOILERS AHEAD. Also, in case you’re curious, this is the original theatrical version of the film (or at least the original DVD release version).
0:01 - We have Jake Gyllenhaal, our titular Donnie, waking up on the side of a road next to his bike. He looks out at the landscape then backward, flashing a nearly sinister grin. Cue title card.
0:03 - Donnie’s dad is a total Troll Dad.
0:06 - They seem like such a normal family… outside of the clear emotional issues Donnie has.
0:09 - Our first glimpse of Frank, Donnie’s (kind of) imaginary friend in a rabbit suit. This is all happening after he took his medication and this is the first time I’m noticing that.
0:10 - “28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes, 12 seconds. That is when the world will end.” It’s always good to have a definite time line for that sort of thing.
0:13 - At this point we know that the jet engine that crashed through the Darko home landed in Donnie’s room, which certainly would have killed him. And at this point I know that keeping a coherent running commentary going throughout this movie is going to be difficult.
0:16 - Donnie’s friends are straight-up cocksuckers.
0:17 - This montage is easily one of my favorites in cinema history, due in no small part to the use of “Head Over Heels” by Tears for Fears.
0:21 - What kind of teacher makes a new student pick their seat based on sitting next to the person they think is cutest? Way to single out that person on the first fucking day.
0:25 - It’s still odd to see Seth Rogan in this flick, stuffed in the background.
0:26 - I can’t be the only one who sees this and immediately thinks of Majora’s Mask.
0:35 - Seriously, douchebags.
0:44 - Come on, who hasn’t wanted to yell at a teacher for teaching dumb shit?
0:52 - I’ll probably now be looking up footage of the football game they were watching after I’m finished.
0:55 - The fuck is this guy’s deal?
1:01 - Donnie Darko: Making paranoid schizophrenia look kind of okay since 2001.
1:13 - Fucking Sparkle Motion.
1:17 - Never good to be accused of possessing a “Kiddie Porn Dungeon.”
1:27 - Really, the fuck is with this guy? Aren’t people around town concerned about this dude?
1:44 - Another excellent montage to cap off the third act, this time with Gary Jules’ haunting cover of “Mad World.”
1:48 - End Credits.
This is a film that multiple viewings can never really ruin because you’re still trying to piece together exactly what happened. Some of the dialogue is a little rough from time to time but the look is good, the cast is solid and the open-ended quality of the story is played out really well. Still a quality flick, right here.
I give Donnie Darko 4 glimpses into a chest portal out of 5.