By Aaron Moran (Ireland)
Why Do You Wear That Stupid Bunny Suit?
28 days…6 hours…42 minutes…12 seconds, this is all the time Donnie Darko has left until the world as he knows it ends forever. Donnie is not you normal 16 year old, he is introverted, medicated and stalked by a 6 foot tall bunny rabbit in his dreams called Frank, who warns Donnie of the oncoming Apocalypse. Donnie lives in a white American town called Middlesex which is a definition of suburbia. This is the place where first time writer-director Richard Kelly decided to set his cult masterpiece claiming it was very similar to the world he grew up in.
The movie is set in 1988 on the eve of Halloween. Kelly assembled an incredible cast for his debut with the wonderful Jake Gyllenhaal as the titular anti-hero of the piece giving an incredibly nuanced performance using just the tilt of his head to make him feel charming or intimidating in equal measure, the film also boasts the talents of the late Patrick Swayze as Jim Cunningham as the towns resident self help guru with a dirty secret, also in the cast is Drew Barrymore playing Donnie’s rebellious English teacher and Donnie’s parents played brilliantly by Mary McDonnell and Holmes Osborne.
In the course of the film Donnie meets Jena Malone’s Gretchen Ross a similarly odd and confused young girl who is attracted to Donnie through his quirks. The film contains a great eighties soundtrack with everything from Echo and the Bunnymen to Joy Division. The film is most definitely Richard Kelly’s who balances Donnie’s apparent descent into madness with the satirical quality of the self help videos that appear throughout the film. The film is cult classic with an endless amount of lines to quote and several images stick in your memory for the foreseeable future, the film is brilliantly layered with themes of madness, time-travel, religion and the state of modern America.
The film can viewed many times and there are moments where it is up to the viewer to the decide what happens, this is most evident in the films enigma of an ending which requires several viewings before the average viewer can give a proper answer on what they think really happens in the third act. The film is a masterpiece in modern film-making and deserves its place as one of the most discussed films of the decade.