DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

You met me at a very strange time in my life...

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Darkmatters does s darko

S. Darko: A Donnie Darko Tale (15)

Dir. Chris Fisher

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

ONE WORD SUMMATION: Manipulated-Living

“Look up there on that screen and try to visualise what you think God’s plan for your life is...” Pastor John, S. Darko

Life is one long insane trip. Some people just have better directions…

This genius tagline from Donnie Darko is very true when comparing the two ‘Darko’ films. I love Donnie Darko and now having witnessed S. Darko (which my son suggested they should have called ‘Sammie Darko’) I think the torrent of negative reviews it has attracted are somewhat unjustified.

Donnie Darko swept along on the genius that Richard ‘Southland Tales’ Kelly imbibed into it. S. Darko however travels in the slip stream of Donnie, it’s an engaging, thought provoking trip that seems uncertain of its freakiness just as Donnie has seemed so surely through the wormholes of tangent universes.

Is S.Darko a terrible movie? No – not in it’s own right, but is it terrible in the light of it being the sequel to one of the best films of all time?


What’s it all about then? Well, this is the tale of Samantha Darko (yep, ill fated Donnie’s little sister) played again by Daveigh Chase- who has grown up all oddly sexy in a kind of Alicia Silverstone / Liv Tyler circa Aerosmith Cryin’ video way.

S. Darko is now a troubled teen who runs away from home with her bratty best friend Corey (Briana Evigan) – the two girls hit the open road but break down in a freakshow Utah town. Whilst waiting for their car to be repaired by local heart throb Randy (Ed ‘Gossip Girl’ Westwick) with whom Corey gets very friendly.

Twilight star Jackson Rathbone pops up as nerdorama Jeremy who has a thing for Samantha, also around is Iraq Jack (James Lafferty) who for reasons probably only known to the writer decides to make a ‘Frank’ metal bunny mask.

Throw into the oddball mix religious nutjob Pastor John (Matthew Davis) who may or may not be taking advantage of his one true disciple Trudy (Elizabeth Berkley).

Here's some sample dialogue:

Pastor John: “I used to be like you.”
Corey: “What, you had a training bra?”
Pastor John: “Not exactly. But when I was your age, I experienced things that made me feel like God didn't exist. Maybe you've experienced something like that too.”
Sam: “You don't know anything about me.”
Pastor John: “I can see that you're in pain.”
Sam: “I'm alive.”

So Sam’s story is less a standard sequel, more a companion piece, a lesser piece for sure but still an interesting one.

If you’re a Darko fan, then you might want to give this a look because there are some amazing scenes, stunning visuals and hey Briana Evigan is cute. But you absolutely have to set your expectations to ‘low’ because if you hope for a classic follow up then you’ll be lost in a time bending loop of disappointment…

"...what if you could go back in time, and take all those hours of pain and darkness and replace them with something better?"

Darkmatters final rating of: öööööö (6 – Living Recievers will worry about the Darko quality control)

Darkmatters quick reference guide:

Action 6
Style 7
Babes 7
Comedy 5
Horror 6
Spiritual Enlightenment 6

"Red car of death approaches"

A storm is coming, Frank says / A storm that will swallow the children / And I will deliver them from the kingdom of pain / I will deliver the children back the their doorsteps / And send the monsters back to the underground / I'll send them back to a place where no-one else can see them / Except for me / Because I am Donnie Darko…

Not convinced? Read what Marc Patterson over at the awesome Brutal As Hell has to say:

"For me Donnie Darko was simply the 12 Monkeys and Mouth of Madness for a different younger generation of movie viewers and watching it gave me a sense that others had tread this ground before and done so with perhaps a bit more intelligence. Ironically, a little over halfway through S. Darko there is a scene set at a movie theater where the featured attractions are shown on the marquis written backwards. Pay attention. They say “Twelve Monkeys” and “Strange Days”. Two not so subtle nods to a couple of influential films."

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