It´s really hard to find a smart film about schizophrenia. Because of the hallucination and delirium, most approaches are stupid or try to be funny. Psychosis is a serious matter. This film respects the topic and gives a glimpse of a psychotic experience. Not only the space-time continuum becomes visible, but all the conventions are shown in their arbitrary and violence. Social roles, the school, the others, oneself.
This has been one of my favourite films since I first saw it 6 years ago. After your first viewing you'll sit looking at your black screen thinking 'what the fuck have I just watched', but the more you watch it the more you understand the plot and deeper meaning, which is kinda cool. I suggest watching the directors cut, a lot better than the cinematic release.
Tell me if I'm crazy but I keap rewatching the opening scene like it was the most important part to understand this movie. Or, just because I feel such a self-awareness and I'm so involved with the movie that and I'm a part of it. The music gives the perfect timing. The people are living their lifes in their corners. And Donnie. Where is Donnie? We are Donnie all through the movie. Trying to figure out where we are.
When a film is confusing because it genuinely forces you to think about what you just saw, it's a great film. When it's confusing because it relies on a universe of rules completely made up for the convenience of a legitimately nonsensical plot, it's just stupid.
Revisiting DD for the first time since being a teenager highlights just how much it is a "teen movie"—one for teens smart enough to listen to Joy Division but not experienced enough to know that Ian Curtis isn't a role model. Parts that once seemed cathartic now seem juvenile, and its too-much-too-soon sensation may have hurt Kelly more than it helped him. But it is a great first film, even if we're still waiting.
The mainstream breakthrough for Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal as siblings who are both excellent here. It is an interesting story that asks "if one can choose one's own destiny, life and eventual death when that moment arrive". Strong supporting acting help as well. Love the 1980s atmosphere but the director's cut ruin the mystery and should only be seen by fans after seeing the original version.