I have no idea if Richard Kelly will ever come out from underneath Donnie Darko’s shadow (we’ll find out later this year when Southland Tales is finally released). His debut feature is just so wonderfully made, blending traditional sci-fi concepts (time travel, parallel universes) with 1980s nostalgia and a solid undercurrent of high school angst and alienation. It’s a little messy in places due to its ambitions, but it still works in all sorts of beautiful and mysterious ways.
The film is full of great scenes: the Smurfs discussion, Donnie’s dismantling of Jim Cunningham’s philosophy, Donnie and Gretchen’s first kiss, and of course, Sparkle Motion. But this one, where Donnie and his psychiatrist discuss death and God, and Donnie confesses his great fear and loneliness, always hits me the hardest.