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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 8, 2010
I love Donnie Darko. It's my favorite movie of all time. Every time you watch it you get a different perspective on what the movie is about. If you like unique movies which give you many perspectives similar to the butterfly effect you'll like this movie.
The Quality on blu-ray isn't enhanced by much but thats because of the way it was filmed. Great audio. Lovely soundtrack.Donnie Darko [Blu-ray]
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 27, 2011
I love this movie and was so happy to hear that a 10th Anniversary blu ray dvd combo was coming out. The combo has both the theatrical and the director's cut, and has loads of extra features. This is a must have for any Donnie Darko enthusiast.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 3, 2003
Donnie Darko is a very difficult movie to characterise and assign to one or even two genres, which is also part of its appeal and fascination. It opens with the title character (Jake Gyllenhall) waking in his pyjamas, with his bike lying next to him, on a highway overlooking his hometown of Middlesex, set in an idyllic tree covered valley. Straightening up he looks out toward the rising sun on the horizon and with a knowing smile he re-mounts his bicycle and makes his way back home to the tune of Echo and The Bunnymen�s �The Killing Moon� in what is an excellent opening sequence. Right from these first few frames it was obvious that I was about to witness something very original and it had me hooked.
Donnie Darko is inspired (I would guess) by the weird combination of Philip K Dick, Wes Anderson, JD Salinger and the classic James Stewart movie �Harvey�. It announces the arrival of two great new talents in Writer/Director Richard Kelly and the young actor Jake Gyllenhall, in what is a hugely original, ingenious and entertaining movie. Set in 1988, around Halloween time, this movie has the conventional leafy-suburbia-plus-high-school setting, which alludes to the horror genre of Carrie and Halloween but it is no horror movie. It also has specific elements that suggest that it�s a psychodrama about a young man with schizophrenia but this is not �A Beautiful Mind�. It also ponders the possibility of time travel but this is not science fiction. Stranger still, Donnie Darko is unusual in that (unlike most retro 1980�s pictures such as The Wedding Singer) it actually has a very cool soundtrack drawn from the period of my youth, which includes contributions from the likes of Echo and The Bunnymen, Tears For Fears and Joy Division.
So, what is Donnie Darko about? Well, without giving up too much of the plot, Donnie is continuously visited by a 6 foot tall rabbit named Frank, which unlike the Pooka in the classic �Harvey� is both visible to the audience and strangely satanic. Frank tells Donnie that the world is going to end in 28 days six hours and forty two minutes but not to worry as everything is going to be all right. Guided by Frank he narrowly misses being killed when an engine from a 747 crashes through his house whilst he is lying sleeping on a local golf course and the plot thickens when it becomes apparent that the aviation authority has no record of any aircraft losing an engine. Donnie is of course undergoing therapy with a local shrink and hypnotherapist played by Katherine Ross (The Graduate, Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid) and the suggestion is of course that Donnie is hallucinating, for as his sister says �he hasn�t been taking his pills�. One of Donnie�s recurring visions suggests that he can see the future before it happens and so he becomes obsessed with the possibility of time travel and a book written by a retired teacher, who is now a scary old recluse, �The Philosophy of Time Travel�. There are also many other sub-plots including Donnie being inspired by his English teacher (Drew Barrymore) and Graham Greene�s short story �The Destructors� into some playful vandalism. In addition to this Donnie�s subversive thoughts and actions begin to undermine the stability of the local community that is strangely gripped by a slimy fundamentalist guru played by Patrick Swayze.
Much of this movie is darkly comic and there are some great scenes including a conversation between Donnie and his therapist, where she asks him what he thinks about at school. Like most teenage boys he inevitably replies �having s*x� before proceeding to unbutton his trousers about to m*sturbate. There is also a scene where at a PTA meeting Donnie�s mother challenges the local bigot by asking "Do you even know who Graham Greene is?" she confidently and proudly replies "Oh please! I think we've all seen Bonanza".
Personally I loved this movie but whether or not you enjoy this movie probably depends upon how far left of centre you like your movies. If you are not a fan of independent cinema or movies by the likes of Wes Anderson and David Lynch then you probably wont like this. However there is much to recommend in Donnie Darko, not least the cast, which includes, Noah Wyle (ER), Mary McDonnell (Dances With Wolves), Maggie Gyllenhaal (Confessions of A Dangerous Mind) and the previously mentioned Patrick Swayze, Drew Barrymore and Katherine Ross. Jake Gyllenhaal�s exquisite comic timing and laidback personality endows Donnie's existence with a dreamlike quality at odds with his teen angst and the suburban paranoia of his surroundings. Meanwhile writer/director Richard Kelly creates a wonderful sense of tension and keeps you guessing throughout the movie that even after the final titles have rolled you are still left to mull over what you have just witnessed.
Whilst critics may argue that Donnie Darko fails as a psychological study and/or horror movie, you cant help but feel they are missing the point, as it deliberately avoids easy classification to a specific genre and instead concentrates on being intelligent, ingenious and highly original. Closing appropriately to a cover version of the old Tears For Fears song �Mad World� and the lyrics �the dreams on which I�m dying are the best I�ve ever had�, neatly ties up the previous two hours and what was for me a very satisfactory cinematic experience. Destined for cult status this undoubtedly deserves five stars!
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Due to my burgeoning interest in supernatural/celestial movies, I purchased this dvd of Donnie Darko; The Director’s Cut (Two-Disc Special Edition) on February 12, 2015. As many people know, this movie is about a Virginia teenager named Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal) who appears to be the only one who is able to see a spirit who has already died and crossed over to another world named Frank (James Duval). Donnie Darko is naturally at first leery of communicating with Frank but starts to trust him a little more after his life is saved from an aircraft crashing in his room. Both his parents Rose and Eddie Darko (played by Mary Mcdonnell and Holmes Osborne) and his siblings Elizabeth and Samantha Darko (played by Maggie Gyllenhaal and Daveigh Chase) care about Donnie Darko in their own way. However, even they are unsure on how to deal with what appears to be insane mind even though Donnie Darko’s unconventional communications with Frank allow him to glimpse into the future. Donnie Darko’s world brightens a bit when he falls in love with a teenage female named Gretchen Ross (played by Jena Malone) who is a newcomer to the Middlesex Virginia area. There are a number of other multiple famous people featured on this dvd; such as the late Patrick Swayze, Drew Barrymore, Seth Rogen, Ashley Tisdale etc.). However, the ending made me understand why my husband politely told me that it was a good thing that I had my Shania Twain concert dvd and a Strawberry Shortcake movie to watch for cheering me up afterwards. Even then, I would still watch Donnie Darko again (especially since I own the dvd), but I would definitely still have something uplifting to watch afterwards. The following are some of the extras associated with this Donnie Darko movie: dvd is divided up into two dvd discs and would also be of interest to aspiring writers/scriptwriters as well as movie buffs; disc one has audio commentary with writer/director Richard Kelly and Director Kevin Smith, disc two has Donnie Darko production diary (with optional commentary by director of photography Steven Poster), They Made Me Do It Too-The Cult of Donnie Darko, Storyboard to Screen Featurette, and Director’s Cut Theatrical Trailer. Last, but not least, there is the feature of The #1 Fan; A Darkomentary; Darryl Donaldson, a Donnie Darko movie fanatic, is shown meeting James Duval (actor who voiced Frank) and meeting various people affiliated with the movie at a San Diego California Comic Con. One more thing; there are various pop culture references in the Donnie Darko film such as; snippets to the song Head Over Heels by Tears For Fears, a homage to Tears For Fears with the feature of The Mad World song and a scene where Donnie Darko’s younger sister is part of dance troupe called Sparkle Motion (dancing to the song Notorious by Duran Duran) plus more pop culture references which would probably take up the length of another review.
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on June 11, 2007
Obviously a billion film and pop culture references in this flick - great, rich stuff that's launched a thousand arguments.

One thing occurs to me - I know there's been much made of both the writer/director's "tangent universe" stuff as well as the Christ allusions. All that's going on and more.

Clearly Donnie's isolated as all get out at the beginning but increasingly connects with a few people - Gretchen, his Smurf-pondering friends, and eventually even his mom. This move from isolation appears to be one of the key character developments in the film - that he goes from being terrified of dieing alone (because he is alone) to dieing because he's no longer alone and can do something meaningful for those he's connected with. A form of sacrifice.

So I couldn't help thinking about the movie "The Sacrifice" by Tarkovsky with it's own odd sci-fi/religious plot about the end of the world. And the long coda featuring those who survive.

Certainly there's much, much more going on. But for me this was a way to see through all the tangent universe mumbo-jumbo into something a little more familiar and comprehensible without reading the freakin' manual to the film.

A complex, ambitious and ultimately successful movie. With a kickin' soundtrack.
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on October 31, 2006

"(Yes, Donny Darko is constantly on anti-depression drugs throughout this movie)"

If you had bothered to go and see the directors cut, you would see the scene where Donnie's psychologist explains that the medication he has been on are placebos.

Also, it's a shame you seem to have spelt "Donnie" wrong, when it's right above the text box as you write a review.


...and on with the review.

Overall, I cannot think of a thing I would change about this film were I ever given free reign (and be afraid if that should ever happen)

Donnie, the central character, is a troubled individual with various mental problems, which he is on medication for. One night he receives a harrowing message - "the world will end in less than a month's time"

However, in receiving this message, Donnie avoids his own death and plunges into a new universe, where he is the one destined to save the world.

"Donnie Darko... what kind of a name is that... sounds like a superhero..."

"What makes you think I'm not?"

I've rated this film as 4 out of 5, not because it was a bad film, or only 4/5ths as good as it could be, but because the directors cut goes into much more detail, and I would recommend it over the original version.
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on October 18, 2004
'Donnie Darko' marks the excellent (and promising) directorial debut of Richard Kelly, a relatively un-heard-of director that has struck gold with this outstanding tale of belonging and exploring the complexities of time travel.
Set in 1988; disturbed teenager Donnie Darko begins to experience bizarre visions in which he is greeted by 'Frank', a mysterious entity dressed in an evil-looking bunny suit. 'Frank' instructs Donnie that only 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes, and 12 seconds remain until the tangent universe will collapse, and begins to ask him to carry out his increasingly destructive commands. An un-stable Donnie wilfully complies, uncovering some of the darkest secrets humanly imaginable about his, and the worlds, existence. But with a universal collapse nearing by the hour, is there a way Donnie can stop the inevitable and save the ones he loves?
Everything about 'Donnie Darko' was portrayed to the highest quality. The acting, direction, and special effects were outstanding, and not to forget the beautifully composed soundtrack featuring Gary Jules' heartfelt cover of 'Mad World'.
Rather than sticking to one genre, the movie instead explores many, easily succeeding with each. An unforgettable discussion about how Smurf's have sex is hilarious, as is Donnie's sister repeating the vulgarity she hears from her siblings at the dinner table. And the dramatic elements are not to be forgotten, but would be easily spoilt if I mentioned them here.
I highly recommend 'Donnie Darko'; one of the most generously original, and instantly memorable, movies to hit our screens in years. Utterly outstanding.
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on July 14, 2004
The young Richard Kelly, director of this film, graduated from USC Film School in 1997. This was his first feature film. He has spun a dark multi-layered vision, part dramatic comedy, part science fiction, part fantasy and allegory. The movie almost needs to be classified as three genres stirred gently. He set the world of the film as autumn 1988. It is, in part, a story of adolescent teenae angst, the familiar turf of a John Hughes project, but actually it is more like John Hughes meets David Lynch meets Steven Spielberg. Kelly has put several interesting twists into the high school yarn. It is like a hip FERRIS BEULLER'S DAY OFF.
Jake Gyllenhaal, from MIDNIGHT MILE & OCTOBER SKY, played Donnie Darko brilliantly. He was a young man smarter than his teachers, his parents, and his friends. An intrepid curious lad who could ask those questions very few wanted to answer. He is a kid who is being treated for mental illness, even though he may not have been clincially ill. He was outspoken, outrageous, and socially most smart teenagers. Roger Ebert wrote," Donnie is appealingly smart yet sarcastic, more quixotic than eccentric, more curious than frightened.
The film's prologue is bang on target. A bright sunrise on dark foothills, suddenly interrupted in the frame by the insertion of the black silhousette of a young man's head. Donnie Darko, there on the hard ground near his bicycle, far from home. After he cycles home, his arrival is treated as familiar behavior; sleep sojourns, adventurous forays into the darkness. That very next night, we witness him roused from his slumber by someone calling his name. He slips outside and we meet the presence that has beckoned him...a medium longshot of someone in a rabbit suit...someone named Frank. But this rabbit, tall as HARVEY, is not a benign companion. Its face is twisted into a demonic death mask. With Darko away from the house, we see an accident happening. Something has fallen out of the night sky, and crashed directly into Donnie's bedroom; a 707 jet engine. If he had been there when the engine came acallin', he would have died instantly. Frank sends Donnie off to do devilish chores; flooding the school, and burning down a house.
Nothin is linear or logical in Darko's dreamlike world. His parents are too understanding. His new girlfriend, Jena Malone, is really too easy to get to know. Physical laws, like an axe being buried in a bronze statue, are tweaked and violated. The film can only approach some level of cohesiveness if one is able to conjure up a premise, a through line. For me, most of the characters presented are probably actually a part of Donnie's
"real" life, but as they were mostly presented in the bulk of the narrative, they were peopling his "dream" life. One possible explication for the whiplash lunges from drama to comedy to satire to science fiction and fantasy, was that most of the film's narrative occurred from the time Donnie was awakened in his bed, either by Frank's voice, or the faint sound of the 707 engine whistling and plummeting down toward his bedroom. Time was compressed, like in THE INCIDENT AT OWL CREEK BRIDGE on the Twilight Zone, a sort of Alice through the Looking Glass dream squeezed into those precious elongated seconds.
This film poses more questions than it offers answers for. There are theories that we, as spiritual entities, can sustain more than one version of our "Self" in parallel dimensions similtaneously. Somehow, it seemed that Donnie called on one of his alternate selves to swing through those last few brief moments, those seconds that stretched out into 30 days. Perhaps time is relative, and does not exist on the other side. I think this movie requires several viewings to begin to be fully appreciated. It is an original vision, bizarre yet strangely familiar, and immediate with it's punch to the emotional gut. It is eccentric, yet appealing.
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on July 12, 2004
Donnie Darko is an intelligent but somewhat befuddled teenager who lives with his idyllic family in an upscale American suburban neighborhood, attends an exclusive private school...and has nighttime visions of a huge, demonic-looking rabbit named Frank who gives him information about the future. Sometimes the nightmarish nocturnal hare puts Donnie into a sleep-like trance and sends him out to perform an act of vandalism or two, and it is during one of these somnambulistic excursions that a massive jet engine from a commercial airliner falls from the sky and demolishes Donnie's bedroom. Because it appears that Frank has saved his life, Donnie tends to believe Frank's claim to be from the future feels that he must, for the time being, humor the late-night lagomorph. In the mean time, amid several bizarre events suddenly taking place in his daytime life, Donnie's research into the scientific possibility of time travel leads him to a life-changing epiphany.
The ingredients that freshman writer/director Richard Kelly uses to whip up the plot and narrative for DONNIE DARKO (2001) are the familiar materials of everyday life, but he throws in a pinch or two of the bizarre and the absurd to create a subtly skewed and therefore disturbing atmosphere. The characters are fresh but true-to-life and never formulaic, yet in many of them Kelly still manages to find springboards for satirical comments on diverse societal elements like the American school system, infomercials, spin doctors & public images, the entertainment industry, the popular perception of science, and more. All of this coalesces into a fascinating and compelling examination of consciousness, perception, and the nature of reality.
The film's entire cast is quite strong and handles the deep material with the appropriate degree of earnestness. Star Jake Gyllenhaal is especially outstanding in the title role. His Donnie Darko, though emotionally imbalanced, is both an intriguing and sympathetic character, one that engages the absurdities in life--particularly HIS life--with saturnine curiosity rather than fear, and he therefore establishes a perfect tone for the film. Of the supporting cast, Mary McDonnell gives a standout performance as Donnie's mother Rose Darko, as she emotes a genuine concern over the seeming psychological downslide of her son. The cute and talented Jena Malone also does a wonderful job as Donnie's girlfriend, Gretchen, a young woman who is nearly as perplexed and yet intrigued by life's absurdities as Donnie himself. In a refreshing departure from the usual hunk and heartthrob roles in which he is usually cast, Patrick Swayze delivers a darkly humorous interpretation of a smarmy self-help guru, and the beautiful Drew Barrymore--also one of the film's executive producers--offers a convincing yet low-key portrayal of an unconventional but popular high-school English teacher.
The DVD from Fox offers a very good (some filmic artifacts) digital transfer of DONNIE DARKO in anamorphic widescreen at the film's original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. The wonderful bonus features include two feature commentaries--one with writer/director Kelly and star Gyllenhaal, the other with various members of the cast and crew--a widescreen video of the film's haunting featured pop song MAD WORLD, deleted scenes, and other cool stuff. Definitely worth the price of admission, and a disc that fans of more cerebral SF will want in their collections.
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on July 11, 2004
Absolutely one of the best movies of this generation. Two things will occur to you after watching this movie for the first time. The first is that you will want to discuss the movie in detail with anyone who has seen it. And the second is that you will want to watch the movie again to try to answer questions you have come up with. As far as the meaning of the movie, I would have to say that is up to you to decide. I have seen this movie end to end probably 30 times, even once with the comentary on and each time I have come away with a different theory of what is going on. Though I try to stay away from pop culture I am very excited to see this movie come back into the light. Even if the movie is a bit to deep sounding for your tastes try it out. I mean come on it has everything from anarchistic destruction of schools, to Patrick Swayze as a child molester, to political debates at dinner. A fantasy that feels so real it's scary and don't forget the broad cast of amazing actors and actresses, I suggest getting the DVD so you don't have to worry about it wearing out from constant use.
And for any of you out there that watch Donnie Darko and for whatever reason don't think it is amazing do the world a favor and go back to watching the Ashley Simpson Show and "Chutt Up"!!
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