In 10th grade English class, we read The Great Gatsby. Most of us (or at least the literate ones) enjoyed it, though not everyone grasped each of the themes as we worked our way through the story.
A few months after finishing the book, in an unconnected assignment, we were tasked with writing a piece of short creative fiction. One of my classmates* wrote a short story, “M. Gatsby,” which followed the exploits of Mike Gatsby, Jay’s younger, far less compelling brother. The story picked up 7 years after the murder of Jay, and included discordant mentions of green stop lights, sad pretty rich people and the all-knowing eyes of the local orthodontist. Everyone agreed that it was the worst short story they had ever read.
S. Darko (2009) is to cult favorite Donnie Darko (2001) what “M. Gatsby” was to the classic American novel from which it stole its name, identity and “themes”: a very transparent attempt to capitalize on the good will earned by someone else’s hard work.
S. Darko director Chris Fisher–who had nothing to do with the original–took pains to explain that his film wasn’t meant to be a sequel, but rather a “companion piece” to Donnie Darko. In that case, it can be considered to be a companion that “borrows” all of your favorite shit that it doesn’t know how to operate or care for–your new iPhone, your 8-week-old puppy–and proceeds to muck them up with sticky maple syrup fingers and a dinner bowl full of paperclips.
Where to begin on the many, many flaws of S. Darko? There’s the lazy story telling, the unsympathetic (and unforgivably dull) heroine, the jarring genre flip-flopping between sci-fi and horror, in addition to an embarrassing bastardization of the signature elements from Donnie Darko.
Throw in a rabbit head here or there, a little “time travel”, a troubled loner who kinda looks like Jake Gyllenhaal (if you squint real hard and cover his face with dirt and a ‘kerchief), those trippy “worm holes” and a countdown to the end of the world (which, in this case means the death of an insufferable teenage brat) and we’re good to go, right?
Ehhh…well, watch this and be the judge:
Or better yet. For an even less subtle and more literal interpretation, there’s this:
Me? I’m going to work on finding a wormhole in which I can travel backwards 10 days, 6 hours and 37 minutes, unwatch S. Darko, and instead, watch this 25.24 times in its place:
*This progression of events may or may not have actually occurred, as this review is a companion piece to reality. Mind blowing, right?!
Rental Rehab review by Tricia