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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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Dreams and Funny Bunnies

  • Nov 26, 2008
  • by
Rating:
+4
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. He is on medication for troubles he has had in the past, and is struggling to "just be normal". He meets a girl named Gretchen, and they find their first love; and it will be a never-ending love. Gretchen has problems of her own, with her mother having to hide from a violent ex-husband.

The movie starts with Donnie waking up in the middle of the street, in the hills above his home. He brushes himself off and heads home only to discover that a plane engine fell out of the sky from nowhere and struck his room. If Donnie did not suffer from somnambulism he would have been killed.

Donnie does have friends at school, but he also has imaginary companions whom he speaks with, and as he tells his therapist, they sometimes tell him to do things. Enter Frank, the large psycho looking bunny who tells Donnie that the world will end in 28 days.

Basically, the movie follows Donnie for these 28 days, through school and therapy and home, bringing in some very interesting characters like Grandma Death, and of course Frank; along with great small roles by Drew Barrymore as the teacher and Patrick Swayze as the self-help guru who doesn't make any sense. You will love the scene where Donnie attends one of his seminars.

It's rather hard to do a review of this movie without giving away any key information, and I urge you not to read any review that offers spoilers. This is a movie that should be watched without knowing, so that all the emotions it provokes come from inside you and not some reviewer or friend.

The ending is very surprising, and left me with a question that will not spoil the movie for you; did Donnie make the choice, or was the choice made for him?
Your view of this movie will definitely be your very own, but I can guarantee that whether you love it or hate it, you will not walk away unscathed.

It is both dark and enlightening, surreal and yet realistic, and definitely thought provoking. If you have been trying to decide whether or not to rent it, my advise is just do it and judge it for yourself.

Enjoy!

Donnie Darko

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January 26, 2009
I love this movie! Its my idea of a 5 star flick in both the theatrical AND the director's cut. I really enjoy seeing things that aren't trite and there certainly isn't anything predictable about DONNIE DARKO.
 
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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 . 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 …
review by . October 06, 2003
As it features Echo & The Bunnymen's single The Killing Moon within its first five minutes, and Joy Division's epochal Love Will Tear Us Apart within its last ten, Donnie Darko is the sort of film I have a natural weakness for. It plays like an 80's version of American Beauty. And while it's nicely ironic, well written and cleverly engineered - too cleverly engineered, really - I think it lets itself down badly in execution. An awful lot of signposts the movie needs to make it understandable are …
About the reviewer

Ranked #48
I want to thank Everyone for welcoming me back! :) I'm here to stay folks, my sabbatical on writing reviews is over and I'll continue to review for Lunch. It's great to be back, too! Thanks again for … 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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