Donnie Darko is a film that aspires to be a goth/arthouse/Lynch film, and is adored by preps, jocks and clueless hipsters who go to film school. They can't get off on Lynch, and think that he's just pretending to be deep, but this film really resonates with them for some strange reason.
I wish I had seen this movie as a teenager. No idea how it slipped past. But it would've been the best film ever if I had watched it at 17, simply because I saw so much of my old angsty-teenage self in Donnie and his frustrations. Watching it now, I still appreciate it, especially the music and the scenes with Frank. If only you could send a film back in time to remind yourself that you're not alone in what you feel.
+1 star if you watch it as a teenager since it perfectly captures the mindset of the alienated adolescent (or, at least, it certainly felt like that to me when I first watched it at 16!) A hard film not to like. It really shouldn't work, but it does - mostly courtesy of the brilliant score! "I'M NOT AFRAID ANYMORE!"
Richard Kelly's debut was a failure on release that was rightly discovered by the home viewing market and established it as a cult classic and influence. The scripting was excellent and actually improves with re-watching. Casting was exceptional with many of its young performers previewing the work to come. The film's Mobius strip style framework is quite brilliant with its mix of time travel and teen angst.