Thursday, April 22, 2004

All hail to the power of DVD. It gives movies a second chance. Take a movie like "Donnie Darko," an absolutely stunning, mind-bending trip of a movie, that received very little attention when it opened in theaters in September 2001 – possibly because part of its plot has to do with events disturbingly similar to what happened Sept. 11. But this gem should be ranked with other visionary 2001 movies such as "Memento" and "Moulin Rouge." Now, it's getting a second chance, with this excellent news about an impending theatrical re-release. I can't wait to see it myself, although a little irked that I'll probably have to buy the DVD again eventually too, but so it goes...
The plot of "Donnie Darko" defies easy description, but basically follows the tale of Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal, "October Sky"), a peculiar suburban high school student during fall 1988. Donnie is being spooked by visions of a menacing 7-foot-tall giant rabbit named "Frank" who warns of the imminent end of the world. But this isn't quite like Jimmy Stewart's giant rabbit hallucinations in "Harvey." First-time writer/director Richard Kelly's movie is packed full of ideas and a sense of wonder that permeates every frame. From the strong soundtrack of '80s music from Tears For Fears and Joy Division to the eye-catching special effects to the richly-drawn characters and performances, it's clear this is a labor of love for Kelly. A strange hybrid of drama, horror, coming-of-age movie and science fiction, the movie demands multiple viewings to catch all the nuances. Fans of equally creative directors like Terry Gilliam ("Time Bandits") or David Fincher ("Fight Club") should rush to see this one. "Donnie Darko" is a movie that will make you think and stick with you long after the final haunting scene.

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