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Next on Netflix: Down the ‘Darko’ rabbit hole

8 December 2013 By Eva Niessner, Staff Writer No Comments

There are probably few movies that are as polarizing as “Donnie Darko.”

The initial reaction after finishing it is usually either, “That was the coolest thing I’ve ever seen in my life” or “I have no idea what just happened.”

There are those that praise it as a work of philosophical genius, and those who think it’s a bizarre mess.

You can decide for yourself after watching.

Donnie (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a troubled teenager living in suburban Pennsylvania in the late 1980’s.

He’s sullen, lashes out at his family and sleepwalks, ending up in strange places.

One night while wandering, Donnie sees–or thinks he sees–a man in a frightening rabbit costume named Frank, who tells him that the world will soon end.

Upon returning home, he learns that an airplane engine has fallen out of the sky and into his room. Had he been in bed, it would have killed him.

Frank begins guiding Donnie into committing crimes, in order to change the course of the future and prevent the end of the world.

But it becomes increasingly unclear as to whether or not Frank is real, and only at the end do you understand why the actions Donnie has taken are necessary (Sort of. I didn’t really understand, until I watched it a few times).

The film has a huge cult following, and any major fan of “Donnie Darko” would argue my explanation of the plot was overly simplistic. And it is.

But the entire point of the movie is that there is more detail and complexity to everything than meets the eye, and my editors probably won’t give me an extra 4,000 words to try and explain every theory associated with the movie.

What I can tell you is that Gyllenhaal does a great job being a creepy teen, and Drew Barrymore, Patrick Swayze and a pre-”Hunger Games” Jena Malone are a treat to watch.

Add that to an excellent ‘80s soundtrack, and you’re ready to kick off your winter break with mind-bending scientific theory.


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