The Engineer

The Life and Times of Donald F. Simmons

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Donnie Darko

Finally got to watch Donnie Darko last night, which has been on my short list of movies to see for several months. Very briefly Donnie is a highschooler visited by an man-sized evil rabbit called Frank, who encourages him in acts of violence and tells him the world will end in 28 days. Many strange things happen as Donnie does/does not take his medication. Plus a discussion of the sexuality of Smurfs.

The movie's writer/director Richard Kelly's first effort, and is an impressive piece of work. The casting is great (there are a lot of familiar faces like Patrick Swayze as a promotional speaker, producer Drew Barrymore as a teacher at Donnie's school, but they all work) as is the whole look of the movie. I really liked that Donnie's home life wasn't a stereotypical "bad family", his parents were supportive of him and his problems, kudos to Holmes Osbourne and Mary McDonnell. The only weak point is the lack of payoff at the end; I'm not saying we needed all loose ends tied neatly up, but the movie just seems to stop more than anything else.

It came out in late 2001 but was quickly pulled from any real distribution, as the whole alienated youth theme, plus a subplot where an airliner engine mysteriously falls on the Darko house was obviously too damaging to inflict on the American public after Columbine and 9/11. But it lives on in video. I'll definitely watch what Kelly does next.


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