Very, very strange. Very, very good.
Russ has been on my case several months to see this movie. He watched it one night after work while I was asleep and he really liked it. So, I borrowed it from Sean and it sat on my shelf a few months...so we finally gt around to watching it last night. Luckily, it managed to make me forget all about Rollerball, don't ask me why my husband was watching that, I DON'T KNOW.
Richard Kelly might be the new David Lynch. The circular pattern and tangent universe themes are similar to the themes of several of Lynch's films, although Kelly did something Lynch would never do. Lynch would never make his characters aware that they were manipulating the pattern. For example, Donnie was fully aware of the 'deus ex machina,' whereas Lost Highway's Fred Madison certainly was not. Another similarity to the Lynchian universe was the seedy underside revealed of some of the Middlesex townsfolk. No one was quite what they seemed.
Speaking of seedy undersides, Patrick Swayze did a pretty good job, all things considered. Didn't he just play a serial killer in a film too? I guess he's trying to change his image. Good luck, Johnny Castle.
Jake Gyllenhaal was okay, I guess. He's being groomed by Hollywood to be the next Tobey Macguire...but does Hollywood really need another one? He could be so much more than just another Spider-Man.
So the film is set in 1988. Not really sure why. My guess is that Kelly wanted a legitimate reason to have an 80s soundtrack - there's really no other reason for the film to be set then...of course it is a bit more comfortable to watch Donnie stumbling through Frank's messages than having him just looking things up on the internet. Yeah, having the internet may have complicated things just a bit. (Speaking of internet - go to donniedarko.com - it picks up right where the film left off and explains quite a bit.) Back to the soundtrack - Killing Moon by Echo and the Bunnymen - ha. Head Over Heels by Tears for Fears - ha ha.
Go buy this DVD now. And before you ask - NO, IT WAS NOT A DREAM. Jesus, The Wizard of Oz has ruined filmmaking forever.