Movies About the (Coming) End of the World – Donnie Darko
Like its cousin film Rebel Without a Cause (1955), Donnie Darko is a teen film that is also about the end of the world. The end of the world is imagined in a setting more familiar to us than alien invasion: American high school! Bullying. Halloween. Talking to a therapist. Taking medications. An upcoming presidential election.
What if you’re a troubled teenager with “intimidating” grades, and you start having visions of the impending end? You start receiving flashes of insight into a whole new universe, and a gradual understanding of your own role in it. Alienation does not come from a foreign source but from within, through a portal. Donnie Darko had a rocky release, too close to September 11 to become a hit. But since 2001 it has enjoyed a cult life unlike many other films, a life extended on the Internet.
Watch Donnie Darko (USA: Richard Kelly, 2001) (Amazon Prime Video, YouTube$) (release version of director’s cut, whichever you choose)
A) Ask 3 discussion questions of your own regarding the film. The questions can be about specific techniques used in specific scenes, the characters, the (very complicated) plotline, unexpected outcomes, the ending.
B) Answer 3 discussion questions posed by other students.
C) Respond to at least one other student’s post with polite agreement or disagreement, giving evidence for your point of view. Answering another student’s question doesn’t count for this part.
D) Read: Intro, â€œThe Fantasy Filmâ€; also read Lambie article, https://www.denofgeek.com/us/movies/donnie-darko/247061/donnie-darkos-perfect-study-of-teenage-isolation (Links to an external site.)
Bring up an interesting issue from each of these writings that would start a discussionâ€”so two comments.