Donnie Darko (2001) – The Philosophy of Time Travel

Jake Gyllenhaal as Donnie Darko has a mental illness. He has always been possessed by his imaginary friend to commit various criminal acts. He has supernatural powers where he can see the future. Richard Kelly’s “Donnie Darko” is one of those mindf*ck movies. You know, movies where you will stretch your head halfway if you just watch it once. When you watch it, you don’t get anything about clear information. This is a kind of movie you don’t need to be focused on the plot. It’s a movie about interpretation and theory from yourself. There is a connection with these characters and other information. You have many things in this movie such as mental illness, imaginary friends, hallucination, and time travel. It correlates them with a timeline, the Bible, God’s destiny, and sacrifice.

“Donnie Darko” is quite hard when you try to explain it without giving any piece of the premise or minor spoiler. This movie is like “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “Memento”. Jake Gyllenhaal’s Donnie is a high school student. He has a normal life, a family, and also friends. He didn’t have too much trouble outside when he met Frank. Frank is his imaginary bunny friend. The movie starts with Gyllenhaal just woke up in the middle of an empty road. Somehow, he doesn’t know why. We presumed this movie would have a lot of storage. Sure, you’re right.

The movie seems solid but not too monotonous. The setting reminds you of coming-of-age in the 2000s. The plot holes aren’t very important even though the small details not ruined to the tone of the film. Gyllenhaal’s Donnie is quite terrifying especially when Frank possesses him. The shades of darkness filled Gyllenhaal’s entire body. The movie uses, at the very least, comedy as coming-of-age humor in general. The movie has many various tropes in it. Besides our main character, there are family, girlfriend, best friend, bullies, teacher, therapist, and many more. The movie, nothing else, just focuses on Donnie itself. Nothing else and the supporting characters are just lifeless. But, the script is well-written as well.

Jack Gyllenhaal as the man who bears a lot of burdens is such a terrifying performance. He is so well compared to his other movies. His eyes and expression always stare blankly but like an insane man. He acts as two personalities in perfect with back and forth ways. Patrick Swayze is awesome as well regardless he is not too much focused. Jolene Purdy as Cherita Chen is just an innocent character and driven character for Donnie. The movie is also the first debut of Seth Rogen. His first quote was really interesting yet strange. He said: “I like your boobs”. It just sums up his entire career since this movie.

“Donnie Darko” is a terrifying debut by Richard Kelly as a director and writer. He combines the whole atmosphere, leaving many interpretations and twist. There is so much puzzle. If you watch more than one time, you’ve more knowledge to say about this movie. Gyllenhaal gave such a performance from the intensity of his gesture and acting. The soundtrack in this movie is a kind of horror and jarring. At the end of the movie, Gary Jules’ and Michael Andrews’ “Mad World” echoed in my mind. It’s one of the most popular songs and it fits with the segment. This is one of those movies, one of those movies you want to explore more.

4 out of 5 stars.

Salman Al Farisi

An Indonesian who loves to watch and read everything. A literary student who likes to write about reviews and essays on Crackdown Review. But, I just wannabe critics who love arthouse than anything.

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