High on the Carpathian Ridge is where Donnie discovers his destiny. And it is here we start the story. A story that values the importance of life's decisions and the soul's quest for morality. Jake Gyllenhaal is perfectly cast as the boy named Donnie Darko who begins to have visions of a creepy man rabbit named Frank. The first of these encounters takes place on October 2, 1988. While sleepwalking, the rabbit tells Donnie the world will end in exactly 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds.
Director Richard Kelly has created a thought-provoking period piece, that is very open to personal interpretation. The film has a colorful and varied cast that rotate around Donnie's and his ascent out of modern purgatory. While living in the comfort of suburban Virginia, and attending a private high school, Donnie could be in any teen drama. But Kelly frequently flips the story over, and exposes the dark underbelly of human nature.
With an abundance of satire, hit 80's music, dark imagery and stellar acting, the film's time travel theory feels almost trivial. I saw it as a polite nod to the "Back To The Future" films of the 1980s. When Donnie's mother confronts him near the beginning of the film and asks pointblank: "Where do you go at night?" I felt this was a broader question being perhaps directed at all of us. Are dreams part of an alternate universe? Are we all interconnected spiritually, through dreams? Donnie Darko asks more questions than it answers. It's my kind of movie.