Saturday, December 11, 2010

Donnie Darko (2001) - Kanishka Jain

The Original Theatrical Release Poster

Costume Designer: APRIL FERRY
April Cecilia Gaskin was born in North Carolina, USA on 31st October 1932. She has had a prosperous career since her start with a number of films in her kitty. Across her years she has been accredited and awarded many awards; she won BAFTA Cymru Award for Best Costume Design for The Edge of Love (2008), Emmy for Outstanding Costume Design for television series for Rome (2005) and was also Nominated for Best Costume Design at the Academy Awards.

Currently she is working on an a Film titled Buddha; the project has created great expectations and could get wide spread appreciation for her. She has worked on numerous films and many were masterpieces; few to count are:
2009 Clones
2008 The Edge of Love
2003 Terminator 3
2001 Emprise
2001 Donnie Darko
2000 Boys and Girls
1998 Claudine's Return
1993 Beethoven's 2nd
1989 Immediate Family
1986 Poltergeist II
1984 Mike's Murder
1981 The Sophisticated Gents (TV movie)

The film was set in the year 1988 in Middlesex, Virginia; so it was a period film compared to when it was written, that is in 2000. The film was shot in only 28 days in 2001 and was filmed entirely around Los Angeles. A brief point to be mentioned about the costumes is that the look that Donnie appears across the film was very true to its time; there were not much variance to Donnie compared to the actual dressing of people then. The schizophrenic character that Donnie plays is well connected with the shabby attire he is always dressed in and the use of dull colors enforces the significant aspect of his mental state.

Synopsis & Trailer

Donnie accepts his death, understanding what his continued life would mean. Most of the film takes place in a tangent universe, where Donnie is guided by Frank and others, and shown what will happen if he survives the jet engine.

Does Donnie choose to die? To me, this is hard to answer. At one point, Donnie asks his physics teacher about free will versus following the 'path of god.' We can actually see this 'path of god' for some people when their movements are predicted by some computer graphics. On a larger scale, Donnie has been marked for death as his path, and it is debatable as to how much choice he really ever had. I think to say he accepts it after losing Gretchen and killing Frank is the most accurate perspective.

Another theme of the film is dying alone. Grandma Death says that every living creature dies alone. In a way, Gretchen, Frank, and Donnie all do die alone. Donnie thinks about this doom in questioning the existence of god. He is often a lonely guy; the idea seems unfair. I think this theme is really about having to accept our own deaths. We need to see that the destruction of ourselves is just another form of creation -- something Donnie himself points out (in his own way) in analyzing Graham Greene's story in school.

Character Overview

The protagonist in the film is as the title, Donnie Darko; he plays a schizophrenic and is played by Jake Gyllenhall and the movie revolves around him and his delusions’ created by his situation. Obviously another primary character is his delusion ‘Frank the Bunny,’ which is played by James Duval. Donnie’s love interest, Gretchen Ross is played by Jena Malone and was a major sympathetic influence for him. Another important character was Dr. Kenneth Monnitoff who was his psycharerist and played an important role to develop the lead’s characteristics. Finally the mystery woman was Roberto Sparrow who played a role of joining ends and managing suspense.


There isn’t any particular color palette except for Donnie’s costume. We see Donnie dressed in pale colors and specially variance of blue; that is contrary to his mental state. The colors reflect to the audience a complete opposite emotion that is of calmness whereas Donnie is always in a volatile emotional state. The primary sets of colors are coherent to the secondary set of colors; we see that Donnie’s costumes are exactly the same color as the set in most of the movie. Initially we noticed that the room was of a teenage boy but after the destruction the room grasps a more mature look.


GRECTHEN (Donnie'sLove)

The Characterization Study

The protagonist of the film is elucidated through the chronology of the movie; at instances where he encounters ‘Frank the Rabbit’ are situation that have the turning points, so these scenes carry heavy significance in the storyline and the costumes have played an important liaison between the audiences and the emotion to be scene. The use of the color blue is eminent in almost every shot whereas yellow is seen in the scenes where something goes abnormal than the emotion to be articulated. The bizarre use of liquidized visuals to convey the situation of Donnie’s elusion has also been a notable aspect.

The initial encounter of Donnie with frank is seen here; the use of the diffusion affect with the blue background lighting and Donnie wearing blue as seen routinely, creates the cold dreamy and Donnie’s evil affect of shot. This is where the viewer experiences the first instance of the actuality

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