Donnie Darko Donnie Darko: Allusions Harvey – a film starring Jimmy Stewart about a man, Elwood Dowd, whose pal is a 6 foot rabbit Elwood is viewed as crazy yet he brings joy to all; he may be insane, but the world is limited He is crazy but in “movie logic” that’s better than being Normal Other Allusions, film & lit It’s a Wonderful Life: hero learns life is better off with (than without) him Lit: Alice in Wonderland; Catcher in the Rye; Hamlet; Bartleby Christ figure/ savior/Chosen One Darko: Genre (Type) Film draws from a # of genres (types) of film, making it more interesting/complex Genre refers to a kind of film – western, romance, noir, sci fi – that audiences expect certain things from (characters, plot moves) Films difficult to identify by genre are often best Or, directors can alter generic forms: Million Dollar Baby alters the “Rocky” formula Teen Rebel Genre Popular genre with these elements – Teen or teen hero who “gets the Truth” Parents/teachers who are dull & “Establishment” Rebellion (even violence) seen as restorative Music usually “tells” us how to feel, who to like If this is the suburbs we must be in Banality-ville Like so many films (and some books) modern suburbia is the metaphor for dullness, soullessness, vapidity American Beauty, The Ice Storm, Blue Velvet, Ferris B., tv’s Desp. Housewives Crack the surface: pain, loneliness, perversion, secrets… Some escape; some thrive; others surrender… Sci Fi Genre Use of f/x Often deal with divisions human/inhuman; self- determination vs. fate (or machine); sane/insane Otherworldly setting (though comment on our world) Romantic (dark) comedy Love is thwarted by some Force, but triumphant Hero/heroine believe in true emotions; audience wants them together Dark comedies disallow normal progress of romance Avenging Angel/Superhero Genre Hero uses violence to rid world of evil and/or to allow good to triumph Hero is often dark, troubled himself (Think Batman, Spider Man…etc.) Also “vigilante” films in which some Angry Everyman takes justice in his own hands b/c “establishment” fails Some key lines that point toward themes: 1. When Donnie asks his mom what it feels like to have a crazy son, she says, “Wonderful.” 2. Donnie gets defensive when Gretchen says he’s weird, and she reassures, “That’s a compliment” 3. When Donnie asks Frank-the-bunny why he wears that ridiculous rabbit suit, Frank responds, “Why are you wearing that stupid Man suit?” 4. “We all die alone.” Some questions… Is the world better off with or without Donnie? Why the backdrop of the Bush/Republican years (Bush, Sr.)? What purpose does Cherita serve? What is the chained mastiff symbolizing? What does “cellar door” mean?
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