Donnie Darko (2001)
9/10
Now and again a small movie....
22 September 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Now and again a small movie comes along and dramatically shifts the views of the audience and intrigues the viewer and makes them think. What the Bleep: Down the Rabbit Hole, 1984, Animal Farm and Donnie Darko all entrance the viewer to think.

Donnie Darko's plot is a maze of emotion and ideas that won't make sense to people if they don't watch carefully. The movie begins much like Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, more commonly known as Alice in Wonderland. During the beginning of the film Donnie is very bored with his life and then he sees Frank, the white rabbit, much like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, Frank is also obsessed with time and tells Donnie when the world will end. Donnie Darko (DD) also focuses on mirrors, same with Alice in Wonderland's sequel Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There, In DD, Jim Cunningham, the motivation speaker, tells people to take a good long look in the mirror, but one should realize what might rise when you look deep into the abyss and the abyss looks back at you. In Alice's second adventure she travels through a mirror into Wonderland, in DD, Donnie and Frank see each other through the mirror. At the end of the movie, Donnie wakes up in his bed where he first heard Frank, like Alice who woke up under the tree where she first saw the White Rabbit. The events of the movie could have been a dream, since a dream time line can be short or feel like days. In the movie, Donnie falls in love, does things that are inhumanly possible (put the axe through a pure bronze statue), exposed the true colours of several people and brought change to almost everyone else he knows. It could very well be a representation of his sexually frustrated mind, his anger at bullies, authoritative figures and his medication. Not to say that that the events of the movie could be a drug trip, much like the original Alice in Wonderland could have been.

The audio side of the movie is quiet dramatic and adds incredible depth to the movie. An example of this is whenever Frank is on screen there's an eerie electronic sounding buzz telling the viewer that there's something is not right. The audio also pushes the sound of certain objects in the movie, such as camera flashes and other machinacal noises. Even silence is used in a few scenes to create a distant feel. DD also features a selective and well fitting soundtrack of several 80's hits that fits perfectly within the scenes. Such an example is "Love Will Tear Us Apart" by Joy Division plays when Donnie and Gretchen make love. The song is about lead singer Ian Curtis' failing marriage, which was one of several reasons that drove Ian to kill himself. Donnie's love for Gretchen is torn apart when she is ran over by Frank. When Donnie appears to go back in time or wake up, it's wondered if it's better never to have loved, then lost.

Donnie's death at the end of the movie brings an end to the other world, may it be a dream world or alternative reality. Donnie's death is instantly felt by all the other main characters who have a moment of silence. The viewer wonders if the alterntive world impacted the other characters or if they came to the conclusion by themselves. Since the human mind is capable of such tremendous power and studies show that humans only use a small percent of brain capacity is it wondered if Donnie's thoughts of what happened in the other world was transmitted to the others. This concept of the human mind being able to alter ideas is not a new theory and is explored in 1984 and several other films.

Was Donnie's adventure real? Could such things happen, or was it just a drug induced dream about a giant rabbit, time travel and love? All the answers are in the movie and most people will have to watch carefully to discover for themselves.
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