Saturday, November 06, 2010

I love the film that blurs distinctions

Like Miles Davis' music and the reasons why the sky sometimes glows in red, pink and purple as the sunsets, I enjoy the 2001 film "DONNIE DARKO" without fully understanding it.
Richard Kelly's film is like a puzzle that I never quite piece together.

I realize it's a polarizing film, with the adherents deeply in love and the film's critics resolutely dismissive.

Here are three reasons why I cast myself among the film's devotees:

1. As I mentioned, the film is like a puzzle for me, particularly as I attempt to make sense of the distinctions between present and future, mental health and mental illness, good and evil and life and death. Perhaps the film is saying there are fewer distinctions between these themes than we realize.

2. The cast is excellent. As I watched last night on DVD, I paid particular attention to the fine work by the late PATRICK SWAYZE, who expanded his range in "Donnie Darko" by playing a motivational speaker with haunting secrets behind the veneer of respectability.

3. The music is perfectly place, especially the use of late-80s gems such as "Head Over Heels" by TEARS FOR FEARS and "Stay" by OINGO BOINGO.

It's OK to like what you don't understand. In fact, it's more fun in many ways.


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