Donnie Darko is a bizarre film depicting a high schooler named Donnie as he struggles with sleepwalking and schizophrenic visions of a man in a rabbit suit. Eventually, he finds himself responsible for numerous acts of violence and vandalism in his community after an odd near death experience. This film is full of symbolism enhanced by various cinematographic techniques (such as lighting and color), touching on themes such as fear, love, death, and sacrifice.One of the most notable film techniques in Donnie Darko is the use of lighting. The film generally uses low key lighting, making it very dark as a whole. This gives Donnie Darko a very “thriller-esque” feeling. The lighting (or lack thereof) makes for a very distorted and creepy mood, and is often used to direct the viewer’s attention towards a certain visual. In fact, as the movie progresses, the lighting actually seems to get darker. The shadows over the protagonist’s face get heavier as he nears the answer to his question.Although this film tends not to be very brightly lit, there are certain moments in which high key lighting is utilized. Example of this can be seen in scenes in which Donnie’s life seems very normal. When he is in a field shooting cans, surrounded by house friends, bright, high key lighting is used to help the viewer feel see Donnie as a typical teenager having fun. The scene looks as if it is lit entirely by the natural light of the sun, setting the audience at ease and making them feel as if nothing abrupt will happen. Another lighting technique that is selectively utilized is the use of three-point lighting. This method automatically transforms creates a dynamic image and makes the subject “pop”. Whenever Donnie and the rabbit, Frank, have a conversation, three-point lighting makes Frank the focal point. The lighting forces the viewer to dial in on everything Frank is saying to Donnie, making it easier to understand the point of his existence. Color gives life and relevance to otherwise normal and insignificant surroundings. They develop and convey the overall tone and mood, accentuating the symbolic importance of any given object or situation. As far as color schemes go, black and white are generally easily associated with good and evil, yin and yang. Throughout the film, Donnie is typically seen wearing a plain white shirt, and this contrasts with his encounters with Frank. Whenever Donnie interacts with the rabbit, he is always wearing a black or dark colored shirt of some kind, signifying that something is about to go off course. One specific interaction that is interesting to note is when Gretchen is present while Frank joins Donnie. Up until this point, Donnie has always confronted Frank alone. Coincidentally, Donnie is wearing a white shirt with a black jacket on top, representing the parallel between Donnie’s battle with good and evil.In addition, the dark color of the rabbit enhances its disturbing features, adding to the sinister feeling of this representation of Donnie’s fragile psychological state. The color scheme of Frank is an easy way to subconsciously hint at the impending doom that the rabbit brings.On a more broad note, the overall lack of color accompanies the excessive shadowing in order to further determine the disturbing and almost-horror genre of the film. Even during scenes that one would normally associate with peacefulness, the color scheme just seems wrong. Donnie Darko opens with a shot of a mountainous region, and despite it being sunrise, the color scheme sickening and ominous. All-in-all, Donnie Darko successfully uses lighting and color in order to create to create a chaotic, bizarre, and foreboding atmosphere. It depends heavily on functional ignorance, leaving its audience in the dark and compelling the viewer to anticipate what could happen.