A Phenomenological Approach to Donnie Darko

Alex E. Blazer


Richard Kelly's Donnie Darko (2001), a tragic and schizophrenic science fiction coming-of-age tale is a perplexing and paradoxical film with multiple interpretations and many aporias of meaning. In this examination, I first compare the two standard phenomenological ways to regard the film: either Donnie exists in a science fiction world or he is schizophrenic. Second, I pose a new and divergent reading of the filmic world: Donnie is a character in a story of artistic mourning. Third, I compare the feature film and the director's cut in terms of world and world view and conclude that the latter reduces the tragic existential hero to a scifi messiah.


Kelly; phenomenology

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