Pssst, want to check out S. Darko in our new look?
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I'm afraid I'll play devil's advocate here, but I liked this movie, even more than the original, to which I was pretty much apathetic. And since the premise for this movie is the whole first film, you don't have to force yourself into the messy symbology.
I gotta say tho I took some "death of the author" licenses here, because the messy "canon" narrative of the 2001 original is fairly dispensable (even within its own storytelling imo), and just work as a premise for this one.
Anyway, something attributed to Donnie Darko as an achievement is that some "break" in reality is made credible, and a fault of S. Darko would be that the movie can't do that. And I agree, I don't think also the movie should be seen as such. It's pointless to have an unimpaired world outlook after accepting the events of the first movie, the world itself should look quite different, uncanny, filled with little clues that would lead to the weird symbols already known. In my opinion, the film should be seen with expressionist as well as with magic realist elements, i. e. while watching the movie, one becomes subject to Samantha Darko's world view through reality more than a subject to an "objective" reality. The ends are blurry in the beginning and, as it progresses, they keep that way, and imo the use of the road-trip for setting the movie's athmosphere is not casual, or at least it ia functional to its other elements. Virtually the whole film is a trip with no turning back into the ordinary, the girls themselves get lost in familiar situations mixed with worm holes, the furry skull, meteors, would-be ends of the world, etc.
The unorderly shots of teenage girlhood, racconti, and 90's music set better an attempt to reconstruct an almost magical trip in the recent past more than establishing a history in the traditional sense of the word. The chance of something to happen in the movie becomes synonymous with what could be real in the imaginary of a white gal, and there is something cheerful and juvenile to watch about that.
Almost on par with battlefield earth
to see which of your friends have seen this movie!