Donnie Darko (2001), the first feature by 26-year-old writer-director Richard Kelly, is a wondrous, moodily self-involved piece of work that employs X-Files magic realism to galvanize what might have been a routine tale of suburban teen angst—OK, borderline schizophrenia. Part comic book, part case study, this is certainly the most original and venturesome American indie I’ve seen this year. [Read more…]
The beggar on the New York subway has a body truncated at the waist and he rolls on a cart, chanting “I have no legs!” in a singsong as he passes. Just for a moment, he attracts the notice of Telly (Leo Fitzpatrick) and Casper (Justin Pierce), who look young and healthy but are actually much more damaged than this legless man.
As Larry Clark’s Kids (1995) so harrowingly demonstrates, these two are part of a spiritually dead teen-age culture built on aimlessness, casual cruelty and empty pleasure. Mr. Clark’s vision of these characters is so bleak and legitimately shocking that it makes almost any other portrait of American adolescence look like the picture of Dorian Gray.