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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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A very pleasant, creepy surprise!!!

  • Sep 9, 2003
  • by
Rating:
+2
I actually watched this movie on the recommendation of my 15 year old son. Usually, his tastes are not always the most reliable (!!!), but he was right on the money this time. This mysterious, funny, moving film has a terrific cast and a very challenging premise. I won't get into the plot too much (that would be kinda hard to do), but let's just say it messes around a great deal with ideas of time travel. But it feels like a social satire (a la Heathers) mixed with a moody horror movie (there's a very creep giant rabbit!!).

Jake Gylenhaal, as Donnie, is terrific. He's been called a "poor man's" Tobey Maquire, but he's every bit Maguire's equal, he just hasn't played Spiderman yet. He's one of these moody, sensitive, soft-spoken young actors, and those kinds of mannerisms can get a bit tiring, but Jake pulls it off with freshness. His sister Maggie (who was SO terrific in SECRETARY) plays his sister here, and they have a very believable brother/sister, love/hate relationship.

Patrick Swayze has some fun with his clean image, and the scenes of him as a "motivational speaker" are truly hilarious. Drew Barrymore plays an understanding school teacher, but, I must confess, she isn't very good. Noah Wylie has a small part as another teacher, and he's passable. Frankly, it is the teen cast that makes this thing sparkle.

It's a difficult movie, and you MUST watch it with your full attention. But you'll be sure to discuss this for a long time afterwards.

Not for little kids, mostly because they'll never get what the heck is going on!!!

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More Donnie Darko reviews
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, …
review by . February 04, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
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 …
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Ranked #146
I've got my own site, www.afilmcritic.com, on which I'm posting my reviews. I am 46 years old, married 25 years, two kids (23 & 18) and currently work in accounting/finance. I spent 15 years … more
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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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