Movie of the Week: Donnie Darko
This week was a great week overall, with no less than 3 new films being added to my top 50. I started off this week with the excellent but extremely brutal and intense Aussie thriller Snowtown, which didn't quite live up to my admittedly high expectations, but was a great film nonetheless. I then settled in for a viewing that I had been anticipating: a late night (2am) viewing of Kurosawa's Seven Samurai, which, despite regretting it the next day, was more than worth staying up for. I think the fact that I stayed up late for a three hour epic added to the whole experience of it, because not only did I absolutely love the film (its now in my top 20), but I also love the experience of staying up practically all night to watch it. Previously, I was a little pessimistic in viewing such long films at such insane hours, but after having that experience, I definitely want to do it again.
My next viewing was actually yet another Japanese samurai film, the third one I'd seen in 3 days (the 1st one being Kurosawa's Rashomon, another classic). This time it was a more modern one, Takashi Miike's 13 Assassins, which was pretty great, even if it looked like The Last Airbender next to Seven Samurai. I followed that up with the underwhelming Gus van Sant film Elephant, which I'll admit I had high expectations going into it, but ultimately let me down. It started off with a lot of potential, but it just finished leaving all these unanswered questions, which really frustrated me, and by the end I thought to myself, "What was the point?" Besides, the Australian film 2:37, as derivative of Elephant as that was, did a similar thing so much better and more daring.
Thankfully I continued the week with better films, like the unabashed classic Bicycle Thieves, which was extremely powerful and moving despite being simplistic. I then decided to view something newer, and I did just that with this year's superhero flick Thor, which, upon second viewing, was perhaps not as good as I initially thought, but still much better than I initially expected. I was in quite the action mood, so I followed up Thor with the fantastic Casino Royale, which had some of the most exhilarating and exciting action set-pieces ever put to film. Then it was back to the classics, and what better to do that with than Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket, which was incredible. Kubrick's not really the guy who I'd expect to make a war film, but after seeing what he did with Full Metal Jacket, it becomes clear that he is the perfect guy for the job. It also made me kick my ass in to watching more Kubrick films.
I ended the week on the highest note possible, with the hypnotic classic Donnie Darko, which seriously gets better every time I watch it. It opens up so many more questions each time, which is exactly what I love about it, especially the fact that the ending leaves you open to your own interpretations. And that's what makes a great film. I seriously think it may rival Memento for my top spot now.
Overall, a fantastic week. I got quite a bit more watched than I was expecting. This week won't be as substantial, as I have 5 exams on this week, but hopefully I can squeeze some in there. I'll need to if I want to stay sane!
So here are my ratings for this week:
Seven Samurai 5/5
13 Assassins 4/5
Bicycle Thieves 5/5
Casino Royale 4.5
Full Metal Jacket 5/5Donnie Darko 5/5