I just don’t know. I mean, I really have no clue at all. No, that’s not true. I have lots of clues, and I have theories and ideas, and they all end up falling apart when I try to articulate them.
Now, I should note that I probably missed the first twenty minutes of the movie, but I’m not unfamiliar with what happens at the beginning, so I don’t feel like I’m missing the key ingredient that makes it all work.
I also don’t feel like I can say anything substantial without running real risk of ruining it for others, although I’m not sure exalcty how that would work since I don’t know that I believe anyone could really come up with a straight reading of this movie.
The fact is, ??Donnie Darko?? probably doesn’t stand up to specific, detailed dissection, any more than, say, many Phillip K. Dick novels do–for instance, ??Martian Time Slip??, which is brings somewhat to mind (it might bring it more to mind if I remembered it better, but I’ve only read it once and, well, it’s pretty convoluted.
But, like the best of Dick’s work, even when it doesn’t stand up to careful logical analysis, even when it just doesn’t quite work, it’s amazing to watch. It’s wonderful to see someone try that hard even if they fail spectacularly. And I don’t think ??Donnie Darko?? fails spectacularly, though I do think it fails in some respects–I can’t imagine how it could not.
I will say that it has one moment in it that I found gut-wrenching; I don’t know why, but there are occasionaly scenes in movies that make me physically ill. I often feel stupid about it, but there’s something in their simple random reality that my mind rebels against.
The car crash in the otherwise mundane ??Patriot Games?? is one (in part, I suspect, because I had, a short time before, been in a fairly violent crash, even if I came out unharmed). The final scene in ??The Piano?? between Holly Hunter and Sam O’Neill is another. I can’t think of any others off-hand, but I suspect you’ll recognize the scene I’m thinking of in ??Donnie Darko?? when you see it.
Of course, it’s now creeping up on Midnight, and I’ve got work to do tomorrow, so I think I’m gonna check out now. Perhaps I’ll type up some “Where’s Mike been” updates at the coffee shop in the morning.