Donnie Darko

Richard Kelly (director)

The Opening Sequence
Watch these sequences until you can confidently discuss use of camera, key sequence, characterisation, mise-en-scène, editing, setting, music/sound, special effects, plot and dialogue for each of them.

Tim Minchin Explains some of the film!

Some guy explains a lot more!

Average School Day

Cellar Door

They Made Me Do It!

Click here for a full copy of the film script

Word version of script.

I don't Want To Be Alone.gif
Donnie Darko Quotes

Characterisation: Donnie
Portrayed by Jake Gyllenhaal.
Eponymous Hero - Does everything for the greater good, stands up for Cherita, stands up for Gretchen, defies evil Jim Cunningham, stands up for the Smurfs!
Eponymous Anti-Hero - He just wants to see what happens when he tears the world apart, anti-authority/establishment, calls his mum a bitch, tells Kitty farmer where to stick her book.
Has superpowers - only uses them when sleepwalking - manipulates fire, water, time, has telekinesis, has super strength.
Is vulnerable - asleep on the road, asleep on the golf course, filmed from high angles, confused close-ups, has mental problems, jet engines land in his bedroom, gets threatened by psycho's with knives, shy smile, doesn't want to die alone.
Is intelligent (possibly a genius) - Headmaster calls his test results "intimidating," sees through Jim Cunningham's bogus religion, gives smart analysis of The Smurfs, helps Gretchen with her homework, gives best answer to The Destructors in English class.

Here are some typical questions from Section D of the Critical Essay Exam:
You must be able to write an essay on any of these questions.
You must be able to discuss all of the features mentioned in the rubric.

Remember, your introduction only needs to be two or three sentences long. One to explain what the film is about - the other to explain what your essay is about. In the second sentence steal most of your words from the question. E.g.
Donnie Darko, written and directed by Richard Kelly, is a film where the central character can definitely be described as a hero; it is an unconventional teen drama which crosses several genre boundaries and explores themes such as mental illness, teenage angst and time travel. In this film the central character Donnie can definitely be described as a hero. This essay will examine how he is introduced and then developed throughout the film.

Answers to questions in this section should refer to the text and to such relevant features as: use of camera, key sequence, characterisation, mise-en-scène, editing, setting, music/sound, special effects, plot, dialogue . . .

10. Choose a film or TV drama* which has a character who could be described as a hero or as a villain.
Explain how the the character is introduced and then developed throughout the film or TV drama.

11. Choose a film which you think is typical of its genre, for example: action, romance, comedy, horror . . .
Explain how the film makers have used the features of the genre to create a successful film.

12. Choose a scene or sequence from a film or TV drama* in which an atmosphere of mystery, or horror, or suspense is created.
Describe what happens in the scene or sequence, explaining how the techniques used by the film or programme makers create this atmosphere.

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