Donnie Darko

Donnie Darko

Jake Gyllenhaal
Director: Richard Kelly Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal
Jake Gyllenhaal
, Jena Malone
Jena Malone
, Drew Barrymore
Drew Barrymore
Richard Kelly

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Overview

Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a bright and charming high-school student who also has a dark and willfully eccentric side: He does little to mask his contempt for many of his peers, and enjoys challenging the authority of the adults around him. Donnie is also visited on occasion by Frank, a monstrous six-foot rabbit that only he can see, and who often urges him to perform dangerous and destructive pranks. Late one night, Frank leads him out of his home to inform him that the world will come to an end in less than a month; moments later, the engine of a jet aircraft comes crashing through the ceiling of Donnie's room, making him think there might be something to Frank's prophesies after all. The rest of Donnie's world is only marginally less bizarre, as he finds himself dealing with his confused parents (Mary McDonnell and Holmes Osborne), his college-age sister (Maggie Gyllenhaal), his perplexed analyst (Katherine Ross), a rebellious English teacher (Drew Barrymore), a sleazy self-help expert (Patrick Swayze), and a new girl at school who is attracted to his quirks (Jena Malone). Donnie Darko was the first feature film from writer/director Richard Kelly; Drew Barrymore, who plays teacher Karen Pomeroy, also lent her support to the project as an executive producer. A director's cut played in select theaters on a limited basis in the summer of 2004, featuring different music cues and trimmed scenes originally in Kelly's first cut of the film.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Gregory Baird

The superbly twisted psychological thriller Donnie Darko deftly incorporates elements of suburban satire into a compassionately drawn dysfunctional-family portrait, all in the service of a compelling mystery. It begins with a large rabbit who announces the end of the world to the titular tormented protagonist (Jake Gyllenhaal), a teen struggling with suburban ennui, adolescent angst, and major-league hallucinations as he counts down the 28 days to apocalypse. Donnie's world (Southern California, circa 1988) is a strange one to be sure, unfolding like a psychotic, paranoid delusion in which the demonic rabbit's warnings are somehow connected to a jet engine that falls inexplicably from the sky and demolishes Donnie's bedroom. Gyllenhaal makes Donnie a riveting character, shifting convincingly between tortured confusion and sinister dementia. The supporting cast is equally strong, featuring a superb Mary McDonnell as Donnie's mother, Katharine Ross as his shrink, and Patrick Swayze as a creepy self-help guru. Drew Barrymore also makes an appearance as Donnie’s English teacher. As for the mystery, those who like theirs with a twist won’t be disappointed: Writer-director Richard Kelly, in his feature debut, delivers a denouement that packs the punch of divine revelation. One of the finest-ever first efforts in American independent cinema, Donnie Darko is a disturbing, exhilarating, and profoundly touching film about sacrifice, redemption, and destiny.

All Movie Guide

One of the eeriest and most ambitious American independent films of the early 2000s, Richard Kelly's debut feature is an eclectic amalgam of science fiction, horror story, '80s nostalgia-fest, and teen movie. A child of the '80s, Kelly wears his formative influences on his sleeve: the movie invokes Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis among others, and the soundtrack boasts Echo & the Bunnymen, Joy Division, and Tears for Fears. Unlike films that have trafficked in '80s nostalgia, Kelly's portrait is admirably restrained, mining the period for specific political and personal connotations (as opposed to cheap laughs and pandering irony). Despite being a period piece, the movie succeeds in conveying a sense of imminent doom. Anchored by Jake Gyllenhaal's nuanced performance as the eponymous hero and Steven Poster's tenebrous lighting, the movie is genuinely unsettling. Its denouement, set on a portentous Halloween night, evokes an unraveling world of lost kids and absent parents -- perhaps the closest thing to a definitive statement the movie makes about growing up during the Reagan years. With its intimations of apocalypse and visions of planes falling from the sky, the movie inadvertently gained added resonance in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the U.S. An unabashed popcorn movie at heart, Donnie Darko gets terrific mileage from Kelly's imaginative scenario and evocative direction. For all its splashy special effects and inspired casting, it's the movie's ominous and ultimately elegiac tone that stays with you.

Entertainment Weekly

Excitingly original indie vision. Lisa Schwarzbaum

Village Voice - J. Hoberman

A wondrous, moodily self-involved piece of work that employs X-Files magic realism to galvanize what might have been a routine tale of suburban teen angst.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/06/2018
UPC: 0760137109587
Original Release: 2001
Source: Arrow Video
Region Code: A
Time: 1:53:00
Sales rank: 2,897

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