I’ve know for a while that this film has a huge cult following, but for some reason or another never got around to watching it. Last night I had nothing to do and was surfing through Netflix and came upon this movie, and thought to myself, ‘Why not?’ I had absolutely no idea what this movie was about. No clue at all. I think I’ve seen bunny memes on the internet that I didn’t understand, but that’s it. Watching this movie from scratch, even though it was released two decades ago or something, was possibly one of the best things that has happened to me in all of my relationship with cinema.
The movie starts off with Donnie waking up in the middle of the road after one of his sleepwalking episodes. Before too long we can see that Donnie’s not only a regular teenage rebel, though it may seem so at first sight. He’s also touched in the head and possibly schizophrenic. Nevertheless he’s nice, a good guy, and extremely intelligent. This is the type of character that I love: Noble, brilliant, and broken. And then things start getting weird. Like… very weird.
Incredible phenomena start to happen that warp Donnie’s perspective on issues like time, space, and God. At the same time, he falls in love with a pretty girl that has a dark past, his only anchor to reality as things get increasingly out of his control. A series of events lead Donnie to become more reckless, as if he were on a mission, but he doesn’t know of what. Everything ends when he makes a climactic choice that changes his life forever.
At the end of the movie, we’re left with the choice, as an audience, to decide whether Donnie’s hallucinations were part of something greater than himself or whether he was just a garden-variety schizophrenic.
If we accept the extraordinary version of events, Donnie is a hero. He saved his girlfriend’s life and the universe by sacrificing himself, and he did it gladly. He died alone, just like he feared, but he was happy. This is a sad but beautiful ending for the movie. And I believe in it. I believe in the entire movie. At the end of it, I loved Donnie. I fell in love with everything about him.
So… I guess I just joined the cult following. ‘Donnie Darko’ officially became one of my favorite movies of all time.
Then I watched it again… and things got even weirder. Check out my post: My 2nd ever viewing of Donnie Darko…what the f@#$ does it all mean?