I’m so fucking sick of Donnie Darko. No, it isn’t because I didn’t “get it”; even though if that were true, I’d still hate it. Hmm. Let’s go with one reason, even though there are many more: the innately circular logic (the biggest gripe and HOLE in the film).
The whole point of the movie is that a dead friend wakes Don up in the middle of the night. When at the same time a rift in space/time creates a funnel above Don’s house which spits out a jet engine from its opposite end. The engine plummets towards the Darko house, specifically Don’s room. Frank the Rabbit (yeah, that’s right… the cool guys that know a lot about movies call him this) wakes Jake G. up just in time to not be crushed by the airplane engine. This sparks a chain of events that clearly follows a predeterministic philosophy. Don causes mischief at the school, resulting in cancelation the next day… Unnecessary shit… Unnecessary shit… Resulting in Don meeting a girl he never would have met on a different space-time continuum. Unnecessary shit… The girl ends up dying from this chain of events (the entire movie). Unnecessary shit… So Don, who successfully travels back through time, finds himself back in his bed the day the engine of doom falls towards his room. This time, instead of getting up, he stays put; allowing the engine to crush him, saving his would-be girlfriend’s life.
So, essentially, the entire film’s a waste of time. It takes us on a journey with the main character off into this path of a possible future. When, in the end, what happens is what would’ve happened without the entire journey to begin with! Why does this film exist? It goes out of its way, literally changing the course of the future, in order to change nothing.
Now, the obvious rebuttal to this GIGANTIC flaw behind the movie is this: yes, that is all true, but without the Rabbit-Guy pulling him out of bed, he wouldn’t have met the girl, which resulted in him making the choice between living and dying (to save her). The rebuttal equals choice; a great point in itself, and normally would work to refute this hole in the logic. But the movie takes such a strong predetermined stance, that choice doesn’t (I should say shouldn’t) come into play.
There’s a part in the movie, when Don’s finally tapping into time-shifting, where every single person follows a predetermined path in the form of translucent arc/funnel out in front of themselves. This alone proves Donnie-Darko-Determinism. We don’t control our own futures, in the Darko universe, we follow a path that’s already been laid before us.
Other than the “funnel-paths”, there’ the fact that the whole chain of events works out perfectly (pre-determined) to ensure that Don sees what he needs to see; in order to make the decision to let the engine kill him at the end. Here, the path totally contradicts the outcome. Determinism leading directly into Consequentialism (which makes ZERO sense). These two directly oppose one another… they CANNOT work together in a narrative to form a conclusion!
Ok, now that’s only one point as to why I hate this movie. But everyone thinks its genius. When in fact its a self-righteous, smug, pretentious piece of cinema; which makes it unlikeable to begin with. But the only thing worse than a self-righteous, smug, pretentious piece of cinema is a self-righteous, smug, pretentious piece of cinema that contradicts itself. Donnie Darko’s a decent short-story/film, at best:
A kid awakes from bed via personal choice in order to live a day that leads to the death of a friend, caused by the choices he’s made. When given a second chance, he decides to stay in bed (and die) in order to save his friend.
That’s it… all the other shit reeks with the stench of un-nessessity. The movie would work, but still suck, if the Rabbit-Guy didn’t manipulate Donnie into doing things; if he did them with free will. But there is no free will, until the end, which would’ve happened without free will! What. The. Hell. Give an audience some credit. Please.
An axe stabbed through the bronze statue of the school. Who did this? Why did they do it??? Miserable.
Richard Kelly’s playing with ideas he can’t either comprehend, or can’t explain. Either way he needs to stop. Now. His latest film “Southland Tales” has been disliked by critics all-over the map. With a Tomato Meter rating of 34%, and a consensus which reads: “Frustratingly incoherent and unpolished”; I can’t help but wonder why, O brother why, is ‘Darko’ liked by the same groups of people?
My belief is that Richard Kelly’s career was blessed with Knight-Shamalayn-Syndrome. When he made his feature debut, everyone loved it; because (it pains me to say this) it was original in a way… AND… Each and every person believed they were the only ones to truly “get it”. These two things hid the fact (from critics especially, but goers to), that each of these movies actually suck balls. They take liberties to ensure their ending makes sense.
Kelly’s next film, pretentiously titled “The Box”, treads similar waters. IMDB summarizes it this way:
“A small wooden box arrives on the doorstep of a troubled married couple, who open it and become instantly wealthy. Little do they realize that opening the box also kills someone they do not know …”
Holy shit. Where does this guy live? Anyone else want to picket outside his gates (you know his house has gates)? If Donnie Darko is my generation’s “cult-film”, than I’ve lost all fucking hope. For real.
“There it is. There it is.”