Wednesday 7 January 2009

Byron ponders over S. Darko

I am a big Donnie Darko fan. I remember watching it at the cinema just before everyone went crazy about it in Britain. I watched it another 5 times in 5 different cinemas and almost killed myself to get the Region 1 DVD before the to find out more about the wunderkind Richard Kelly and his amazing film.....

I then watched the Richard Kelly written Domino as well as Kelly also wrote and directed. I have now decided that the young "Wunderkind" is an uneven nutjob....a warning...your fave filmmakers should have made more than one film lol.

Donnie Darko is still one of my favorite films. The original theatrical cut had the perfect balance of mysticism and emotion for me. Gyllenhall's fantastic lead performance, a solid supporting cast, Kelly's seemingly assured direction and strangely heartwarming story....

But I digress. Because this blog entry is about the even more bizarre entity named S. Darko.
S Darko is the sequel to Kelly's original film. The only thing is...Richard Kelly isn't involved and the only cast member left in the film is Daveigh Chase. Chase played Samantha Darko (the youngest sibling) in the first film and is now the lead (and hot btw and this girl was the ghost in the ring!)

So I checked out the synopsis which reads:

S. Darko takes place in the summer of 1995, seven years after the original film. It follows Donnie Darko's younger sister, Samantha (Daveigh Chase), who, in the wake of his death, has found herself at age 17 with a broken family, mired in feelings of insignificance. She and her best friend Corey (Evigan) set off on a road trip to Hollywood in a bid to 'make it big', but their journey is cut short when their car breaks down unexpectedly, leaving them stranded in a small desert town. When a meteorite happens to crash-land nearby, Samantha is plagued by bizarre visions telling of the universe's end and it appears that their breakdown was part of some grander plan. When she finds out she was actually adopted by the Darkos, and that she is in no way related to Donnie, she must face her own demons and, in doing so, save the world and herself

Now I don't know about you but in reading this full synopsis....doesn't this kinda fuck up the original film somewhat? I don't want to sound like the sad fanboy geek here...however in making Sam Darko a kinda fucks with a lot of plot points of the original story. Kelly's film was far fetched in a few of his ideas (the man's quite an original filmmaker but he over reaches) but when it came to the family dynamic of Donnie Darko he got it right. In listening to the commentary he even hints that other members of the family hold similar symptoms and that it flows through the bloodline (i.e The Dad is an insomniac too etc). But despite the hints that flow through the movie. The film is about Donnie and about him being the chosen one so to speak.

Kelly's film is written in such a way that despite how ambiguous the film is to many. It wraps up quite neatly. People around the character have a "feeling" about him and are connected for reasons they are not short about but Donnie is the balance. Maybe it's just me but it works that he's the Jose Mourinho of the bunch, the special one if you will.

Passing the mantle like they have to the younger sister (a step sister btw) seems so cheap to me. It renders the end of the first film almost pointless in the grand scheme of things....unless....

The film wasn't called S Darko. Is it just me or is the only reason it's connected to Richard Kelly's 2001 film is so it could get green lighted? Sure fans of DD would complain that S. Sparko would be very close to their cult favorite but if you look at the synopsis the film is quite salvageable without the Darko name. In placing the Darko name on the film, it's lodged the Darko universe within the movie as well, and considering that no one who was involved in the first film is one this one it just seems false.

Ok I'm rambling slightly. However we all know that when we watch this movie side by side S Darko won't have any resemblance to Donnie but will throw in the Donnie name and backstory to try and appear hip, cool and cult. Bit of a shame.