Ten years ago today, I wrote the following in this very blog:
I knew there was a reason I really liked the enigmatic film “Donnie Darko.” It turns out writer/director Richard Kelly is a fellow Philip K. Dick fan. I stumbled across this today in a serendipitous moment whilst searching for something completely unrelated:
First-time writer/director Richard Kelly purposefully wanted “Donnie Darko” to be a genre-busting tale that would mean vastly different things to different people. Kelly offers this explanation of the film, “Maybe it’s the story of Holden Caulfield, resurrected in 1988 by the spirit of Philip K. Dick, who was always spinning yarns about schizophrenia and drug abuse breaking the barriers of space and time. Or it’s a black comedy foreshadowing the impact of the 1988 Presidential election, which is really the best way to explain it. But first and foremost, I wanted the film to be a piece of social satire that needs to be experienced and digested several times.”Richard Kelly
Present day update:
This is still one of my favorite movies because I so admire the way it was written and put together. Also, here’s some sage writing advice from a more recent 2017 interview with Richard Kelly:
“My movies will take place either on the eve of anFilm Daily Medium.com article, Why ‘Donnie Darko’ is just as relevant today as ever
election,or in the aftermath of an election.” This device effectively timestamps the narrative in a unique place and time. It’s hard not to make a wormhole of our own between the time depicted in the movie and the current American climate following the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
My takeaway is to back up something I’ve already taken to heart. If you place your story in a specific time and place, it can never be outdated. It exists in history.