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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 Quick Tip by rbuchanan

  • Jun 30, 2011
  • by
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 hokey pretension of this boring, distended exercise.

The novelty of this movie's time-travel plot gimmick can't sustain its numerous uninspired scenarios, complete dearth of appealing and interesting characters, vast array of moronic clichés and Maggie Gyllenhaal, surely the most irritating actress in recent memory.
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February 02, 2012
I only saw little bits of this movie on TV, never wanted to see the whole thing. I knew some people who glowed about how great Donnie Darko was (one even dressed as the rabbit guy for Halloween), but then again, these same people thought The Matrix was one of the best sci-fi/action movies ever made.
February 06, 2012
That's an apt characterization. Other staples of the oblivious low-as-highbrow collegiate cineast set: Pitch Black, Avatar, Cloverfield, Spielberg's dreadful Minority Report adaptation and Darren Aronofsky's every clumsy recycling of better films (aka Darren Aronofsky's oeuvre).

As an instructional exercise, I do recommend Donnie Darko on a triple-bill with The Breakfast Club and Fire Walk With Me. Kelly's flick is a fine cautionary example of screenwriting and direction; paired with two of many films from which it's derived, only the most obtuse viewer won't come away astonished by its absolute paucity of invention and wit.
February 08, 2012
I won't pretend to be well-versed with Lynch's filmography (though I should probably check out his work), but I find it interesting that so many people gush over movies that are just bad amalgamations of lesser-known, superior work. For example, so many of the Matrix fans either never heard Akira, Ghost in the Shell, or Philip K. Dick's literature, or worse, think they're "boring garbage."

When spring break rolls along in March, I'll reserve a movie night for those three movies.  Something tells me I'll be pissed with Donnie Darko to the point of titling my negative review as "Donnie Dumbell."
February 14, 2012
At least Donnie Darko exerts some effect: its dialogue induces douche chills as that of few other pictures do.
The Matrix really is a farrago of badly recycled ideas: Gnostic metaphysics are clumsily transposed to technological dynamics, great concepts courtesy of Dick, Gurdjieff and Gibson are applied with jejune stylism, Baudrillard's Simulacra and Simulation is referenced and misinterpreted, and both Akira and Grant Morrison's terrific The Invisibles are directly plagiarized. For Christ's sake, the Wachowskis even shot the film on the same soundstages utilized by Alex Proyas during the production of Dark City months before - one can note identical props in each.

That Dick's literature has only been adapted once successfully (to a film that jettisoned much of its source's subtext) and then to nearly a dozen astonishingly awful flicks only bespeaks Hollywood's unparalleled vapidity.
July 01, 2011
Donnie Dickface :D HEEHEE! ^-^ ♥ Annusya ♥
July 01, 2011
If only Kelly were as honest whilst naming his titular dipshit as you are.
July 01, 2011
:D ^-^ Muu! ^-^ ♥ Annusya ♥
More Donnie Darko reviews
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 …
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
Robert Buchanan ()
Ranked #29
I'm a bibliophile, ailurophile, inveterate aggregator, dedicated middlebrow and anastrophizing syntax addict. My personality type is that of superlative INTJ.
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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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