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Donnie Darko Essay

Brief Summary

Donnie Darko is a contemporary film which can be regarded as a psychological thriller which was released in 2011. Richard Kelly is known as the writer as well as the director of the movie. The story in circles around a mysterious teenager who has a troubled life. Vande the teenager means a mysteriously dressed man who is wearing a rabbit costume. The mystery man informs the teenager that the world is going to end soon at dawn in a mere time span of 28 days 6 hours and 12 seconds. As soon as the teacher receive this news, he witnesses a number of disturbing events which initiate the rest of the story of the entire movie.


As far as the lighting of the movie is considered since the overall genre of the movie is horror/sci-fi, the lighting is kept dark with a lot of Shadows whereas a dim light can be seen at a distance. The shadows in the background of the movie give viewers a hint as to the gloomy and depressed character of the man hidden in the darkness. The dim light at the end of the Horizon shows that happiness in life is very confined and appears for a small minuscule of time. Since most of the characters of the film are dramatic and unsavory, their character is highlighted by the eerie darkness devouring the entire scenery. A little and faded amount of lighting assists the onlookers to think of the plot as troublesome and uneven which get clearer and clearer as the movie progresses.


As far as the costumes are considered the main character of the story is seen wearing pajamas. The incongruous costume is synchronous with the overall theme of the entire film which is enlightened as a psychological thriller. The character is seen out of the house in his Pajamas which show a state of a troubled mind and highlight his vulnerability. The state of his costume also imply that the character is at a place where he considers himself out of place in the society as well as where he is residing. The disconcerting thoughts etched all over his face go well with his costume suggesting something bigger is at play and that some mysterious event might have been occurred that might have no knowledge about.

The Actor

The main actor of this film is a teenage boy. The character perfectly portrays the widely held connotations for all the adolescents in the world. Teenagers are generally thought to be irrational, hormonal, filled with emotional turmoil and angst which are perfectly portrayed in the main actor of the film. The expression of these emotions is very important since their portrayal attributes that the film is an actual psychological thriller where many facts are presented as a part of problems faced by the hero’s mind. A troubled mind also suggest that the character is inexperienced and distressed. The storyline revolves around his discovery of his own self and another well since he is young and has a lot of new experiences, mysteries and opportunities to explore, decipher and unravel which are perfectly portrayed by the instability and uncertainty of his character.


Next comes the scenery of the movie. The landscape and the fire of mountains along with a vivid horizon suggest that the film was shot in a remote area. The choice of a far-off location with the dark background ascertains the film’s existence as a psychological thriller because the whole dilemma is taking place in a distant locality where no one could help anyone, for the establishing the theme of the movie as scary and presenting the actor’s isolated state of mind.

The far-off setting also represents the state of mind of the main character who might be lost both physically as well as mentally. The extension of the landscape over the entire frame of the movie suggests that the character is very small and wonderful in front of the scheme of plans of the entire universe which is still a mystery to him and he continually fails to understand the mysterious way things are unraveling in front of him. The director and the story writer of the film want to ensure that the effect of the film’s events has a wide-ranging in back on the mind of the audiences hence he makes super to portrait the vastness of nature in the entire frame of the movie.

The Props

The only props that appear in the entire span of the film include a bicycle shown at the very start of the film. The male actor of the story is seen riding a bike which may be synonymous to the cyclic nature of his mind and the constant rotation of the bike wheel might represent his confused state of thoughts and how they are intermingling together to make some sense of the events that are about to happen. The representation of bicycle as a prop might seem insignificant to the viewers, but the presence of them in the picture is a beautiful portrayal of the film as a psychological thriller where the main character himself is a victim to his confused state of mind and intercepting thoughts. However, the character seems to find Independence and freedom as he is able to explore the area freely on his bike. The imposition of bike also presents an important and significant question to the entire range of audiences, forcing them to ask, “How did he get here? And more importantly, where is he going now?”

The very start of the film shows a scene which is totally compelling and hypnotic. The main character of the film Donnie Darko is shown instantly wrapped up by the vision of a large bunny rabbit who forces him to get involved in a number of crimes. The film also involves a number of religious references which vehicle all over the film. The references are crucial since they hold the metaphorical importance of absolving someone from their sins or guilt.

The overall cinematography of the film shows a number of contrast in sound and vision to give the audience an eerie feeling of something scary and mysterious going on. The character is widely misunderstood by all of the members of the film, helping him gain sympathies from the audience who strive to understand him and the position he is in. The fact that this world is unnatural and does not seem as if it is going to be resolved until the final scene of the film, where the viewer’s feeling that the cause of death is resolved in the simplest terms, a jet engine falls on Donnie, but the viewer is left with the feeling that it is a totally random event that happened to an unfortunate boy who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I personally believe that the film was an attempt at a perfect picturization of the confused state of mind of a young teenager and the mysterious way in which the world moves around. We as humans often fail to understand that then maybe other things at play which cannot be seen or deciphered by an ordinary human mind which is portrayed beautifully by the director’s efforts.



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