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Donnie Darko Director's Cut (front)

Director Richard Kelly's strange science fiction drama about a teenager named Donnie Darko.

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It's All Just a Dream?

  • Feb 4, 2004
During the first twenty minutes or so, I found DONNIE DARKO to be fairly interesting and even somewhat entertaining. The reptilian rabbit head was just plain bizarre and kind of creepy and enough to keep me interested for awhile. However, things didn't start to make any sense and crucial pieces and elements of the "plot" started disappearing left and right. By the time the film ended I was wondering to myself, "What in the world was that all about." Now after reading a few reviews here, I can see how the whole dream-thing fits in and the movie sort-of makes sense. However, if it was all a dream, then this movie is just one big cop-out. Had the movie been written and edited together better, then this would not be the case. But it is.

The writing is awful. Everything is all choppy and convuluted and doesn't make any sense. Of course, if it's all a dream, it does make sense. But, the thing about dreams is, nobody really likes watching other people's dreams. Dreams are difficult enough for the dreamer to understand, yet alone anyone outside in the "real world". Dreams are very personal and usually should be kept that way. That's why movies that are dreams on celluoid usually just don't cut it as cinema. A dream has to be restructured to make sense on the screen and if it isn't, it falls apart.

However, even if the film did make sense, it still wouldn't be all that great. The poor writing has already been mentioned, but the acting is even worse. Jake Gyllenhall does a decent job as Donnie Darko and the young lady who plays his girlfriend isn't too bad either. Outside of that, most of the actors in this movie seem less believable than a cartoon. Patrick Swayze is one of the big names who has a secondary role in the film. His character seems like somebody who has taken too much speed; I mean Chris Farley's Matt Foley was a better and more believable motivational speaker than this guy. Then there's the other big name of the film, Drew Berrymore. Drew is a brilliant young actress, but in this movie she sucks. She plays a teacher who is dismissed for teaching a graphic novel in class that the school board believes leads to school vandalism. You can tell that Drew just doesn't relate to the noble profession and good old American teachers because her performance is as stiff as a brick wall. One of those Fandango paper-bag puppets could pull off a more believable performance than she did.

The acting is pretty lame, the writing poor, and the plot makes no sense. The whole thing is supposed to be a dream, but comes off as being a cheap cop-out. Therefore, you will probably either love or hate this movie. I personally couldn't stand it after the first twenty minutes, but thought the reptilian rabbit head was creative enough to be worth a glance.

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More Donnie Darko reviews
review by . November 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
A bizarre, intriguing MASTERPIECE.
(Read this on my blog: http://nickplusmovies.blogspot.com/2010/11/m...-donnie-darko-2001.html)       "28 days... 6 hours... 42 minutes... 12 seconds. That... is when the world... will end."       Two years ago, I watched the cult classic "Donnie Darko" for the first time. Though I didn't think it was bad, I wasn't exactly blown over by it. I didn't understand it, truth be told. Two years later, having heard enough …
Quick Tip by . June 30, 2011
This bloodless production's period costume design, cars, TV newscasts and popular music do nothing to make it seem like anything other than a product of its torpid decade; you can't sell a counterfeit 1988 to a fledgling of that enormous, tacky era. If I want '80s teen angst or surrealism, I'll consult the genuine article and watch some old David Lynch or John Hughes films (separately), all of which have what this film doesn't: character, substance and zeitgeist without all the …
review by . October 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
   Finally, the pseudo-spiritual, pseudo time travel stuff falls short because nothing actually ties it together. Which is unfortunate, because if it had, I would have found it to be a near brilliant movie.      In brief, Donnie Darko is a troubled teen who is possibly schizophrenic, possibly a character quite literally out of time. He gets information and commands from a frightening rabbit character who gives him the date of the end of the world--Halloween 1988. The …
Quick Tip by . February 03, 2011
Fascinatingly odd. One of my sons was very keen to watch this and went out and bought after we rented it together. Definitely odd, but so intriguing I couldn't wait to watch it again.
review by . April 10, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
What would you do if you knew the future?.....
Do you ever wonder if the world you are living in is real? Do you wonder if it is nothing more than just a fabrication of your own insane imagination, or if it is happening for real? Donnie Darko  is asking himself those very same questions  as he travels down a mind breaking, insanity inducing  journey that leaves you with a disturbing and  haunting answer  that will shatter everything you  think you know about reality  and also leave you with one  nagging …
review by . December 23, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
At the Movies
-This review was written in conjunction with the standard edition of the DVD, not the 2-disc Director's Cut-       2001 was a year full of outstanding films, but one film stood out from all of the others for its sheer inventiveness, its brilliant vision, and its director's ambition. No, I'm not talking about The Lord of the Rings (although, my previous statement could easily be applied to that film as well). Richard Kelly's feature debut film as a director, Donnie Darko, is a …
review by . November 26, 2008
Donnie Darko
In Donnie Darko, I am vaguely reminded of the question put to the test in The Seventh Sign, where Demi Moore is asked, "Would you die for him?" She doesn't understand the question until the ending. In a way, I compare Donnie's dream, or alternate reality, to this question: "Would you die for love?"   It also brings about another question, "Is it better to have loved and lost, then never to have loved at all?" Donnie is odd, Donnie is strange; but Donnie is a likeable kid despite his problems. …
review by . March 11, 2009
Pros: liked the story, on the border about Frank     Cons: none for me     The Bottom Line:     “I find it hard to tell you, I find it hard to take  When people run in circles its a very very  Mad World, Mad World”  ~Gary Jules     You can beat your head against the wall and try to ‘figure out’ Donnie Darko or you can just take it for what it is, a movie with an intriguing …
review by . February 13, 2009
Pros: Thought-provoking, interesting concept, variety of actors and actresses     Cons: Some people may not get it     The Bottom Line: Donnie Darko made a marko on me.  A man in a bunny suit, an alternative time-line, a variety of quirky characters, and mostly Jake Gyllenhaal make this movie one-of-a-kind.
review by . June 21, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
It is hard to describe the plot of 'Donnie Darko' without making the movie seem repellant. 'Donnie Darko' is purposely ambivalent, and the causality of bizarre events is intriguing from the very start. The journal development is a retro trip in itself. Using footage of the Dukakis and Bush (I) debates before the 1988 election, the movie authenticates its setting of a high school near the end of the eighties. How they manage to mix nostalgia with an eerie tale and dark manifestations is a mystery, …
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About this movie



Director: Richard Kelly
Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Release Date: June 2, 2004
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Richard Kelly
DVD Release Date: 2004
Studio: 20th Century Fox
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