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S. Darko Daveigh Chase reprises her role as Samantha Darko in this sequel set seven years after the events of director Richard Kelly's acclaimed cult hit. The day Donnie Darko died, his family died too. Almost a decade later, eighteen year old Sam still feels the loss every day. She longs to become a professional dancer, and decides to take a road trip to California with her best friend Corey (Briana Evigan). When their car breaks down just outside the dusty small town of Conejo Springs, carefree Corey bides her time waiting for a new water pump to arrive by striking up a friendship with local bad boy Randy Holt (Ed Westwick). The following morning, a meteor crashes to the ground nearby, destroying a local farmer's windmill and leaving a gaping crater in the ground. In the aftermath of that unsettling incident, Sam's disturbing prophetic dreams seem to start spilling over into the real world. Could the people around her prove the key to unlocking this unearthly mystery? Unfortunately for Sam, religious fanatics Trudy Potter (Elizabeth Berkley) and Pastor John Mellit (Matthew Davis) seem more interested in spouting religious clichés that pondering the end of the world, and Randy and the locals are too busy partying to notice that events are coming to a head. When the locals begin to gossip, Sam and Corey's friendship starts to suffer, and the pair have a bitter falling out. Unaware of the fact that they have become inexorably bound by fate to a missing child, an unstable Gulf War veteran, and a mysterious rift in the time-space continuum, the former friends discover that the world will soon perish unless a substantial sacrifice is made. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
Posted by: jjD2 from: San Diego, CA on
As a fan of Donnie Darko, I was very excited when I heard this movie was being made. The first movie was a masterpiece of storytelling, starring an extremely capable cast and featuring the wonderful script, rich characters, and fantastic direction of Richard Kelly. Donnie Darko, whether you particularly enjoyed it or not, was a quality film.
S.Darko, on the other hand, is NOT a quality film.
The casting of Daveigh Chase in her reprisal role of Samantha Darko serves as the only bright spot in this film. However, while the audience feels pity for the now 17 year-old Samantha, I believe any emotional connection the audience has with the character is more a product of our introduction to Samantha as a 10-year-old in the first Darko film.
Besides Daveigh Chase's nearly-charming performance, the acting is awkward and forced at best, though it's abundantly clear the actors didn't have much to work with. Nathan Atkin's screenplay is vacuous and kludgey. It actually becomes noticeable when the film stumbles upon a natural-feeling exchange of dialog. And I don't even know where or how to begin to address the inconsistencies and ignorant/adolescent/bizarre exploitation of stereotypes. The prevalence of embarrassingly hokey characters renders the landscape nearly cartoonish in nature.
And perhaps the film's troubles are exacerbated by the deficiencies of the director. Chris Fisher and his editing, effects, and cinematography teams are probably most responsible for the half-assed, low-budget feel that runs all through the presentation. The best way I can describe it is that it just plays like a bad made-for-TV special or a mediocre college A/V assignment.
And the music... oh the music. I think we can all agree that a good score or soundtrack with thoughtful song choices in the hands of someone with good instincts concerning when to use what, can add so much to the mood of a film. But yet again, this film fails. Now, I admit that a good soundtrack/score could NOT have saved this film, but it would've helped ease the pain in certain areas rather than contribute to the overwhelming awkwardness, and may have helped the audience take certain scenes more seriously. Even a very simple piano score akin to Michael Andrews' work on the first Darko film would've done wonders to influence the tone.
In conclusion, I strongly feel that this film, at least THIS film shot with this script, by this group of filmmakers, should never have been made. Even watching the special features, it’s obvious that there wasn't much conviction behind the project. The producers, director, and screenwriter all rebel against the "sequel" label and maybe they're absolutely right. The admission of the screenwriter is most telling. At one point he refers to the film as an "homage" to Richard Kelly's Donnie Darko. Well, if I may quote critic Matt Zoller Seitz… "Homage without innovation isn't homage; it's karaoke." And not only isn't there any innovation, S.Darko isn’t even a quality remake or rip-off.
If S.Darko is karaoke, it's BAD karaoke.
2 out of 4 found this review helpful.
Posted by: redandblack6s from: Winston-Salem, NC on
I say this one is just as good as the first one, but the first one is a one of a kind classic! But this one follows very closely in its footsteps! I appreciate the fact that they use the same girl to play Samantha Darko and the plot fits in perfectly with the first film. My wife and I loved it! I definitely recommend seeing Donnie Darko first, if you haven't already, or you may be a bit confused. But, I figure, most people at this point would only be buying this because they've seen the first one. So, if you're reading this and pondering on whether or not to buy it, because you're not sure if it will be as good as the first one. I say, BUY IT!!! You won't be disappointed!
1 out of 2 found this review helpful.
Skip This Sequel
Posted by: dbs333 from: Houston, TX on
The movie was true to Donnie Darko in the filming style, the down to earth characters, and the gritty special effects. It just didn't go anywhere. The plot had no direction or purpose. It was slow-paced and dull. The cut scenes involving time changes were pointless and random, along with all of the events.
0 out of 2 found this review helpful.
Posted by: Bill from: on
Not as good as Donnie Darko but still a good movie
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.
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