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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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"Where Is Donnie?"

  • Dec 23, 2008
-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 fascinating science fiction drama. The film looks at the life of a troubled `80s teen named Donnie Darko, who suffers from blackouts, sleepwalking, and bizarre hallucinations. The film features an awesome soundtrack and some nifty camerawork and visual effects. Since its initial release, Donnie Darko has developed a loyal fanbase across the globe, especially in the U.K. where the film first achieved its cult classic status.
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The story tells us of an emotionally troubled teenager, Donnie Darko, who begins having hallucinations (or are they) of a man in a rabbit costume. The man refers to himself as simply Frank, and he warns Donnie that the world will end in 28 days. Meanwhile, Donnie's family struggles with his peculiar behavior and his general disregard for their feelings. After meeting a new girl at school named Gretchen, Donnie seems to find new purpose in life, but his blackouts become more severe. During these episodes he vandalizes the school and even burns down his neighbor's house. Soon Donnie discovers that he and everyone around him are being manipulated by a mysterious force, the Deus ex Machina (roughly translated this means God of the Machine). If Frank's prediction is right and the world were truly to end, the sky to open up, and the universe torn apart, could anyone or anything stop it? This is the ultimate challenge of Donnie Darko. Can he save the world from oblivion?

The film features an all-star cast including Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Drew Barrymore, Beth Grant, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Mary McDonnell, Holmes Osborne, Katharine Ross, Patrick Swayze, and Noah Wyle.
The film's director, Richard Kelly, proves himself to be one of the most extraordinary up and coming filmmakers.
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July 10, 2010
Yeah man but this may get 5 stars from me, excellent review. I need to pop this one back in.
July 10, 2010
I gave the theatrical cut a four and a half rating, but the director's cut got a five. Fantastic film. I love the line in the theatre, "Why are you wearing that man suit?' One of my favorite moments in any film of the past 15 years.
May 09, 2010
good thing you are adding stuff, I am coming out with a new feature in the community again...
May 09, 2010
Elaborate on that in a message, would ya? : )
May 10, 2010
I will unveil the new 'feature' in this week's comming community updates...
May 10, 2010
November 13, 2010
thought you may enjoy this review of this movie.
November 13, 2010
February 03, 2009
Some have viewed the film as a religious allegory using Donnie as a parable for Jesus, what with sacrificing himself to save humanity. Although I can see where people might get that, I never felt that was all there was to the film. Much like The Matrix, Donnie Darko can be interpreted many ways. There are so many interesting theories that I couldn't really pick just one that I buy into. I have to admit that I look at the film as it is and try not to over-analyze it.
July 28, 2009
Hey man, sorry I missed this comment. So, you say that you have no clue what to make of the film. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? I just saw Kelly's directorial follow-up to "Donnie Darko" the horribly incoherent and weird "Southland Tales". If you thought this was a trip, check that film out.
February 01, 2009
Thanks for laying this out. I've honestly been so confused about this film — either its genius is beyond my scope, or it's just confusing. Aside from the plot, what do you think is the "meaning" of the film? What's the social commentary?
July 28, 2009
The way I see it, the social commentary is two-fold. On the most superficial level you've got references to the hilarious cultural faux pas of the late 1980s (the mullets, the drugs, the obsession with Saturday morning cartoons and the lame glamour rock) and a sly satire of the perfect American suburban family as they dissolve due to their poor communication and differences in political ideas. On a much deeper level, you have Donnie Darko, a strange and misunderstood teenager, who begins to develop powers and have visions, which are mistaken for delusions and hallucinations. In the end of the film, Donnie saves the world in a very messianic way by sacrificing himself for love. In a way, director Richard Kelly is suggesting that we shouldn't judge one another because someday it may be the outcasts who save and or redeem us (kind of a modern Jesus parable).
December 23, 2008
ha ha! I just knew this was coming!!
July 28, 2009
Yeah, of course. All of my Ammie reviews are here and I loved this movie so much I reviewed both the theatrical and director's cuts.
July 29, 2009
Have you seen the sequel yet? "Darko" or something?
July 30, 2009
Nope. I'm boycotting it. When director Richard Kelly signed up with 20th Century Fox to distribute the original film, Fox unsurprisingly pulled a fast one and Kelly must not have read the small print, because he also agreed to give them sequel rights, though he never wanted there to be a sequel since he felt it would cheapen the original. And from what I'm told, he was right. If you go onto Wikipedia, IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes or even on Amazon, "S. Darko - A Donnie Darko Tale" has overwhelmingly bad reviews and ratings. So no, I haven't seen it, and I ain't gonna!
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 . 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 …
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Member Since: Dec 16, 2008
Last Login: Jun 7, 2012 07:25 PM UTC
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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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