"S. DARKO: A DONNIE DARKO TALE"
Blu-Ray Review
by Kevin Carr


    MOVIE: *1/2 (out of 5 stars)
    BLURAY EXPERIENCE: ***1/2 (out of 5 stars)

    STARRING
    Daveigh Chase as SAMANTHA
    Briana Evigan as COREY
    James Lafferty as IRAQ JACK
    Ed Westwick as RANDY
    Jackson Rathbone as JEREMY
    Zulay Henao as BAELYN
    Elizabeth Berkeley as TRUDY

    Rated R
    Studio: 20th Century Fox

    Directed by: Chris Fisher

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WHAT IT’S ABOUT
It’s been seven years since Donnie Darko died in his bedroom after a jet engine fell through his house, saving the world from total destruction. His sister Samantha (Daveigh Chase) has been trying to make sense of it all, so she has run away with her friend Corey (Briana Evigan), finding her way to a small western town. While staying in town as their car is repaired, Samantha and Corey find themselves embroiled in more mysterious circumstances, which blur the lines of reality, death and time.

WHAT I LIKED
When it was announced that someone was making a sequel to the modern cult classic “Donnie Darko,” fans were enraged. Even though I enjoyed “Donnie Darko” quite a bit, I wasn’t upset. Unlike most, I honestly believed that there was more to the twisted world behind Richard Kelly’s film, which could be explored effectively.

The result of this sequel-mania is the tepid film “S. Darko,” which has some nice elements to it but ultimately doesn’t fit together as a movie. Still, there are parts that are worth noting.

First, both Daveigh Chase and Briana Evigan do fine acting jobs in the film, especially considering the dialogue they are given. Both bring a humanity to their roles and make their own presence on screen at least interesting.

The warping of time, reality and death has some potential in this movie, and the production delivers a very similar tone to the original.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
Unfortunately, a good idea and good acting can’t help a flawed script. In the behind-the-scenes materials, writer Nathan Atkins goes to great lengths explaining how much of a “Donnie Darko” fan he is and why he was justified in making the film. Sadly, this results in a murky subset of fan fiction that would have been passed over on the internet were it not assigned to him.

The filmmakers do their best to retain the elements of the film that make it worthy of the moniker “A Donnie Darko Tale.” There’s the creepy rabbit head. There’s the weird CGI pseudopod that leads characters around in a dream-like state. And there’s the future dead talking to the living. Unfortunately, these elements are jammed together in a poorly constructed screenplay and executed with confused direction that results in what appears to be more imitation than original thought.

It’s been reported that Richard Kelly has completely disowned this movie, and for good reason... of course that’s before you realize that this was the guy who gave us the similarly incomprehensible “Southland Tales” a few years back.

BLU-RAY FEATURES
The Blu-Ray of this film provides a little more than just the content of the movie, which can help justify a rental. In both “The Making of S. Darko” and the commentary with the filmmakers, there’s some much needed explanation as to why this film was made in the first place. At the very least, after watching this, I understand where they were coming from and what they were attempting (even if it never quite worked out in the end).

There’s also a handful of deleted scenes and a “Utah Too Much” featurette which focuses on an impromptu song from the actors, honoring the location shooting of the film.

WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Casual fans of “Donnie Darko” that won’t get too upset at what they’re watching.

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