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Donnie Darko (2001)

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, more...
Director: Richard Kelly, Richard Kelly
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Genre: Cult, Time Travel, Coming of Age , Fantasy
Running Time: 113 min.
Languages: English, French
Subtitles: English, Spanish
    see additional details...

Donnie (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a bright and charming high school student who also has a dark and willfully eccentric side; he does little to mask his contempt for many of his peers and enjoys challenging the authority of the adults around him. Donnie is also visited on occasion by Frank, a monstrous six-foot rabbit that only Donnie can see who often urges him to perform dangerous and destructive pranks. Late one night Frank leads Donnie out of his home to inform him that the world will come to an end in less than a month; moments later, the engine of a jet aircraft comes crashing through the ceiling of Donnie's room, making him think there might be something to Frank's prophesies after all. The rest of Donnie's world is only marginally less bizarre, as he finds himself dealing with his confused parents (Mary McDonnell and Holmes Osborne), his college-age sister (Maggie Gyllenhaal), his perplexed analyst (Katherine Ross), a rebellious English teacher (Drew Barrymore), a sleazy self-help expert (Patrick Swayze), and the new girl at school who is attracted by Donnie's quirks (Jena Malone). Donnie Darko was the first feature film from writer and director Richard Kelly; Drew Barrymore, who plays teacher Karen Pomeroy, also lent her support to the project as executive producer. A Director's Cut has been announced to hit theaters on a limited basis in Summer of 2004, featuring original music cues and trimmed scenes originally in Kelly's first cut of the film. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

Special Features:

  • Director and Actors Commentary
  • Deleted/Extended scenes with optional Director commentary
  • "Cunning Visions" Infomercials
  • The Philosophy of Time Travel Book
  • "Mad World" Music Video
  • Art Gallery & Production Stills

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Also looks underneath the surface of seemingly idyllic American suburban life

The Dead Zone
Stephen King obviously had an influence on Darko

October Sky
See a younger, more wide-eyed Gyllenhaal in a crowd-pleaser

Though director Richard Kelly is tiring of hearing his film described as the box office flop that went on to become a cult favorite and then quite a hit on DVD, its remarkable history is what made the re-release of Donnie Darko possible. On the occasion of the premiere of the director's cut in Seattle, Sean Axmaker spoke with Kelly and two of the film's stars, Mary McDonnell and Jena Malone. Full article >>

GreenCine Member Reviews

Big Mean Ole Bunny Rabbit by KRiutta December 15, 2005 - 11:47 AM PST
4 out of 4 members found this review helpful
Donnie Darko is a dark comedy set in suburban
America in the 1980s, portraying a teenage boy's
struggle with the metaphysical. Medicated and
counseled at the behest of his rightfully concerned
parents, Donnie is the recipient of apocalyptic
messages from a 6 foot bunny rabbit who gradually
ensnares him in a cycle of violence bent on "setting
things right" at his school, his community, and
perhaps most poignantly, his world. Drawing from
some elements of Scream and Heathers, Donnie Darko
is cleverly written and successfully dabbles in the
popular Hollywood themes of virtual reality and

you never know until you try by CONan February 17, 2005 - 9:27 PM PST
2 out of 3 members found this review helpful
First, I must say that this is, without a doubt, my favorite movie ever. This is the only the review I have ever done for anything- that is how much I liked Donnie Darko. Ok, it's not for everyone. Some people scoff when I call it incredible. Some people point out how at a second glance, it may just be a stupid, werid movie with interesting 80's music.

Fine, you know what? IT IS WEIRD!! It is imperfect and off-the-wall and dark and, well, weird. I'm not saying that the people who don't get it are stupid; they just don't get it. The only way you are really going to know if you like it or not is if you try it.

My final note is that you should really see this version, not the director's cut, at least for your first time (I myself have seen this movie countless times). This original version definitely makes you think more. That's what I love about this movie. I gather my friends, sit them down on the couch, make them watch this, then we all turn to each other and go "What the **** was that?!" The first time I showed it to one of my friends, we couldn't stop talking about it for days! "What does this mean? How did that happen? Did you notice this little thing?" With the director's cut, the story seemed to be put into chunks; it was too digestable for me.

So, go try it out, and hopefully you'll find it as I did- incredible.

I will watch Donnie Darko more than once by Scooter July 12, 2004 - 7:39 AM PDT
4 out of 9 members found this review helpful

You have to sit through this movie all at once or do not watch it at all. If you eat dinner in front of this one, you'll ruin it. The movie is full of foreshadowing, waiting to resolve. Things do not turn out the way you might have anticipated. That is all I will say on that.

I saw this movie last week, with a friend who swore by this. It's NOT really a science fiction movie in the traditional sense. You are NEVER certain -- one way or the other if the time travel is real or all in this delusional kids head. If your idea of great science fiction movies are those with Will Smith acting, I'll give you 4-1 odds you won't like this. I love this movie!

You know it is really a poor messed up kid who does not connect with reality. You never know yourself what is real or imagined. It's SUPPOSED to confuse you on that part, I think, because that is what the kid is feeling also.

I usually do not watch drama. This is not drama, but it is sad. I was a bit caught off guard how the movie resolves -- I thought the world would have ended differently. I was in quiet tears.

I don't think I need to watch this more than once to "get" it, but I know I will jump at the chance to show it to people (or just watch it alone).

NOTE: You MUST watch the Extras afterwards. The DVD edition (and maybe the theatrical release) cut a lot of scenes, and the ending is different than the director intended. The cut ending is more disturbing (kind of like, but not quite, how the cut ending of Clerks was disturbing. BTW if you have not seen the cut ending to Clerks, rent the DVD).

>> more reviews

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