Saturday, April 2, 2005

Donnie Darko

Over at the Internet Movie Database, there are few surprises among movies IMDB users have voted as the best science fiction movies of all time. "Star Wars" is joined by "The Matrix," "2001," and "Alien" among others.

One surprise is a movie which is ranked in the top 15 of all time, despite having been written by someone fresh out of film school who had the audacity to insist that he be allowed to direct it, having cost only $4.5 million to make, and having flopped in its original limited box-office release, bringing in only $500,000, only to become a "cult movie" upon its release on video.

That movie is, of course, Donnie Darko, a sort of bizarre fusion of 1980s teen movies like The Breakfast Club or Ferris Bueller's Day Off and sci-fi thrillers. If you've seen The Butterfly Effect, this is the movie it was trying to emulate.

The plot? Simply put, a psychologically disturbed teenager has visions of a giant evil bunny-rabbit that tells him to commit acts of destruction because the world's going to end. Sound bizarre enough yet? If not, throw in wormholes, time travel, Patrick Swayze as a character you'll love to hate, Drew Barrymore, and some great one-liners.

If this movie's so great, why do I only think it deserves 4 stars out of five? Because ultimately, all the things that look like they're being taken care of in the movie aren't taken care of at all. Exactly how that comes to be, and why, I can't say without spoiling it. You'll have to watch it yourself.

Donnie Darko is rated R, probably because there's some violence, destruction, implied drug use and typical 1980s teen humor. In my opinion, it's just barely an R as opposed to PG-13.

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