Donnie Darko

Director: Richard Kelly
Year Released: 2001
Rating: 2.5

Perennially sulking Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal) sees the image of fate in the form of a demonic bunny rabbit (named Frank) after taking his prescription pills (Ritalin? Rispendol?) that tells him to do 'evil things.' If the sound of 'demonic bunny rabbit' sounds pathetically idiotic to you in print, don't tune out so quickly: the rabbit-creature is a most ominous force, and the movie is several notches above other teen-social commentary pictures, destined for some sort of cult status. It is a little over ambitious, perhaps, and the further along it goes, the more unraveled the delicate plotting gets (the third act is the weakest). Characters are divided into "phonies" (school toughs, Donnie's friends, the gym teacher, the principal, Patrick Swayze's child molester/self-motivator) and "non-phonies" (Donnie, his girlfriend, Noah Wyle and Drew Barrymore's teacher-figures), the final voice-over more post-Matrix armchair existentialism than heartfelt litany for the lost souls of youth. Most importantly, though: it is daring.