“Donnie Darko”: What Makes it so Appealing?

“Donnie Darko” is a cult classic, but what’s it about?

The themes of Donnie Darko still hold true today.

SC Times

The themes of “Donnie Darko” still hold true today.

Matlyn McShane, Columnist

“Donnie Darko” is a psychological sci-fi film about a high school student named Donnie Darko. It was released in 2001, and starred popular actors such as Jake Gyllenhaal, Patrick Swayze, and Drew Barrymore. The movie takes on a lot of heavy topics, such as mental illness and schizophrenia.

“Donnie Darko” starts out with Darko, the main character of the movie, sleepwalking out of his house. He walks to a golf course nearby, and when he’s there he sees a large, demonic-looking bunny tells him the world is going to end in 28 days. When he gets back to his house, he finds that a jet engine has fallen on top of his house, crushing his room.

As the countdown to the end of the world continues, Darko becomes more and more paranoid, and he keeps seeing the bunny, named Frank. Throughout the movie, it’s hard to tell whether Frank is real, or just a figment of imagination in Darko’s wild mind. At the end, a boy who goes to Darko’s school takes off the costume, but it’s apparent that he hadn’t been in the costume the whole time. The movie ends with Darko traveling back in time, and making sure that he was in his room when the engine fell on it. He does this because he has grandiose delusions. This is a mental illness where one has an unreal belief about themself. Darko believes he caused the “end of the world.”

I believe this movie is genius. The way it takes a psychological film and mixes it with science fiction, and even a little bit of humor. “Donnie Darko” even leaves you with an ending that is left to the watcher to interpret. The movie is a perfect way to get inside the mind of someone struggling with serious mental illness and schizophrenia. Darko’s aesthetic was tackled with beauty as well. The camera angles, the lighting, and the scenery give the perfect vibe for the movie.

“Donnie Darko” is a remarkable film, and it has incredible views. The casting was great, and from the set to script, it honestly seems perfect. People like myself can agree that the movie is great for making you think, and its unpredictable twists and turns are great for surprises.