Donnie Darko (2001)
Review by Todd McCarthy
A sprawling, surprising, often muddled plunge into the feverish imagination of a disturbed teenager, Donnie Darko has plenty of problems. But most stem from a young filmmaker overswinging on his first time up to the plate and hitting a deep fly out rather than a home run. This overweaningly ambitious picture will be difficult to market without strong critical support, but it deserves further exposure and heralds the arrival of a very promising writer-director in Richard Kelly.
The opening moments alone show the hand of a natural born filmmaker. At dawn along a remote mountain road, a teenage boy awakens next to his bicycle; he seems surprised to find himself where he is, perhaps even pleased to discover that he’s still alive. He then peddles happily home, only to become involved in a family argument spurred by his Harvard-bound sister when she announces that she’s for Dukakis...