Frank: The Invisible Bunny (No Relation To Harvey)

The film begins in 1988 with a boy in the road next to his bicycle. It’s the titular Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal) who then rides home to have dinner with his family. Donnie’s sister Elizabeth, played by Jake’s real sister Maggie, says she is going to vote for Michael Dukakis at the dinner table. When I heard that, I knew things were going to get strange so it didn’t surprise me when an invisible demonic bunny showed up and a jet engine fell out of the sky, minus the plane. The bunny named Frank tells Donnie to get out of the house and it saves him from being crushed by the engine. Frank tells Donnie that the world is going to come to an end and gives him a variety of different tasks like flooding his school by breaking a water pipe.

To claim that I understood this film is to lie. However, there seem to be two themes at the heart of this film: Fatalism and The Need For Companionship. Fatalism comes into play when Frank reveals that he can time travel. It turns out that there are not only time portals through which you can pass, but also a usually invisible line that comes out of your chest that compels you to follow it. The one offers the chance of a non-deterministic future and the other a deterministic one.

The need for companionship comes up many times. The comment that life isn’t worth living without a dick when Donnie tells the hard truth to his friends that the smurfs are asexual is one example. Another is the program that Patrick Swayze’s character pushes at the school, where he is invited to do so, which flattens the complexities of life onto a line with fear on one end and love on the other.

It’s quite an experience and I am sure I will end up watching this again, but it does have one issue: the ending. Director Richard Kelly handles things quite masterfully right up until then. At that point, everything seems to just fade to black. In fact, the ending is composed of several short scenes each separated by fades to black that last long enough to make you think it’s ending before another one comes up and doesn’t help anymore then the previous one did. Even with that problem, I still recommend it.

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