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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Donnie Darko
A brilliantly bizzare film that will leave you in a state of shock while you try to get your head around what just happened. It will challenge your perceptions of your own reality and provide a talking point aswell. The appearance of Frank, a six foot tall time travelling talking rabbit who foretells the end of the world within five minutes of the start sets the tone and...
Published on 11 Feb 2003 by A. Kyle

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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Blu-ray Review
I already owned the theatrical and director's cuts on seperate dvds but being such a fan of the film I decided to splash out on the blu-ray. Both cuts are included here on two seperate discs and all the extras from both previous dvd releases are included here but there are no blu-ray exclusives. The original has the standard 2.0 stereo track, and the sound isn't...
Published on 19 Dec 2010 by Bug DeLug


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Donnie Darko, 11 Feb 2003
By 
A. Kyle (PortGlasgow, Inverclyde United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Donnie Darko [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
A brilliantly bizzare film that will leave you in a state of shock while you try to get your head around what just happened. It will challenge your perceptions of your own reality and provide a talking point aswell. The appearance of Frank, a six foot tall time travelling talking rabbit who foretells the end of the world within five minutes of the start sets the tone and is followed up without dissapointment.
With many surreal moments, being set in the 80s it can only be expected, and a complimentary soundtrack the film can be enjoyed by many people on different levels whether for the nostalgia, weirdness, relationships or complicated theories of space/time travel and mental health.
Not a film for the lowest common denominator but one which is definately worth an investigation.
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96 of 105 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Think We�ve All Seen Bonanza!!! *****, 3 Mar 2003
By 
Mr. N. Carnegie (Kirkcaldy, Scotland, UK.) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Donnie Darko [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
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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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A modern classic., 16 April 2006
By 
David Welsh (Oslo, Norway) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
An extraordinary movie about love, death, madness, time travel and being a teenager, Donnie Darko is one of the most brilliant films to come out of Hollywood in recent years, and is all the more remarkable given the fact that it was made by a first-time director still in his twenties. The film follows the troubled teenaged Donnie and the increasingly bizarre events that seem to be centred on him. One of the central threads of the film is Donnie's series of encounters with a giant bunny rabbit called Frank who, the first time Donnie meets him, tells him that the world is going to end in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds. Due to the massive cult popularity the film attained, Kelly was invited to release his Director's Cut of the movie. In my view, the Director's Cut is definitely superior, with extra scenes that round out the story and some atmospheric visual effects they didn't have the money to do the first time round, but Kelly has emphasised that he sees the two cuts as being different versions of the film, rather than the Director's Cut being the definitive one. The Theatrical Cut presents the story in a more ambiguous way, with the Director's Cut presenting more clearly Kelly's own interpretation of the story (which has lead some fans to prefer the Theatrical Cut.) Apart from the different versions of the film, the only differences between the two DVDs are that the Director's Cut contains a few more extras and a new commentary with Kelly and his friend Kevin Smith. This film is a stunning achievement and is really worth getting slightly obsessed by...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars awesome, 8 Jan 2004
this version of richard kelly's famous donnie darko is truely a fantastic masterpiece. together with memorable characters, an ingenious storyline and a strong theme of mental illness and time travel, this film appeals to all. richard kelly has sucessfully veered away from the stereotypical hollywood teen movie and produced an interesting, unique and remarkable film which will leave you speculating about the plot even after it has finished.
i recommend this to anyone who is interested in mental illness and the unknown.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ain't it kinda funny, ain't it kinda sad?, 28 Aug 2013
This review is from: Donnie Darko [2002] [DVD] (DVD)
Those words kind of sum up `Donnie Darko.' It's definitely not for everyone, being the writing/directing debut of Richard Kelly. It's deep, complex, with overlapping-storylines and constant blurring of genres.

Rumour has it that once it was made, the distributors let it sit on the shelf for a year while they tried to figure out how best to sell it. I can see why. It's hard to name a genre that it doesn't borrow from. It's definitely sci-fi, but only in parts. When the sci-fi elements come, they're very noticeable, but surprisingly fleeting. However, it's also very creepy in places, producing a more sinister atmosphere than most horror films. Then, just when you're scared senseless, it throws in a lot of light-hearted banter, even going as far as to discuss the sexual habits of Smurfs like it was a Kevin Smith comedy. Then you have the touching sadness of it all, plus the high school element, the teen romance subplot, the family drama and the general satire on modern living in suburban America.

If anyone asks you what Donnie Darko is about, even if you've seen it, you may have trouble explaining it. The people that really know what it's about have probably looked up its `true meaning' on the internet somewhere.

If you're familiar with David Lynch's work, then you may know where Donnie Darko lies in the scale of films. Where is Lynch specialises in disturbing horror, Donnie Darko utilises all the genres to produce a mind-bending trip into a disturbed teenager's head as he struggles to balance everyday living with strange visitations from a time travelling bunny rabbit from the future (called Frank).

Those who don't like it will probably say that it didn't make sense. Well, they're right in some ways. It's not a film that wraps itself up easily. A lot is left to your own interpretation of what you've seen. There is definitely a story that you can follow and you should care about all the characters, but it's partly more of a `sensory experience' than an easy narrative to follow.

But then it's worth it just to see Jake Gyllenhal's breakthrough performance. He hadn't done many films prior to this and it's great to see him carry the film on his own. However, there are numerous characters in this film and, just because they're not quite as good as its leading man, doesn't mean to say they don't all put in excellent performances. Drew Barrymore and Patrick Swayze aren't in it for long, but that doesn't mean to say that they aren't both excellent in their small roles.

Donnie Darko is an experience. It may not be for everyone, but you really should see it to decide for yourself. It was listed in the `Top 50 films you need to see before you die.' I think it justifies its place in that list.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet Suburban America Behold, 5 April 2003
This review is from: Donnie Darko [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
This is the case of Donnie Darko, a teenage alumni of the archetypal leaf-ridden-picket-fence-suburban-American-town of the late 80's, embroiled in a decidedly unarchetypal psychodrama; you see, alongside abject disillusionment, and as part and parcel of mental ailment, Donnie is chosen by a ghoulish, cryptic rabbit-man, to be confided in - through a code unceremonial dictums - of a rather imminent apocalypse.
As the pressures of the balancing act between maintaining a token of normality, and loyalty to the predicament in hand, Donnie increasingly prioritizes the latter, and as the weight of his imagination progressively triggers coincidental calamity within the community, Donnie's role slowly demystifies. The hopelessness and desperation does award the protagonist a vantage point upon the insanity with which the supposedly sane fumble their narrow lives, giving wake to some glorious classroom teachings of Donnie's own refreshing brand, inviting you to redress the conceived inequality of sanity between the hero and his stage.
A clever and unanticipated ending casts confusion over the chronology of the action, but gives it an irresistible conceptual slant. Does an apocalypse have to be universal, or does the death of an individual stake an equally valid claim?
The film boasts a delicious array of interesting characters - the usual incredulous, angst-ridden parents, 1 seductive English teacher and an equally as harrowed, but more empathetic and semi-acolyte girlfriend - matched by inspirational backgrounds and a pulsating, quintessentially 1980's soundtrack (Joy Division, Tears for Fears and Echo and the Bunnymen).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I want you to watch the movie screen..., 24 May 2003
This review is from: Donnie Darko [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
...There's something I want to show you.
This film leaves you with an avalanche of conclusions and questions. It leaves you thinking and talking about it for days. What was motivating the deuteragonist Frank? It means something different to each person. Destiny, choice, freewill, sacrifice. It'll even make you think about the possible Euclidian, spherical, loop-the-loop nature of time.
Jake Gyllenhaal acts the part of the troubled teenager in a perfectly dark and melancholy manner. And we had better watch out for when Richard Kelly matures with time and blasts us with his next offering especially as I believe DD is his first attempt. DD is an excellent film that should not be missed. If you believe a film should have substance and you want to be both emotionally and mentally involved this is for you.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Blu-ray Review, 19 Dec 2010
I already owned the theatrical and director's cuts on seperate dvds but being such a fan of the film I decided to splash out on the blu-ray. Both cuts are included here on two seperate discs and all the extras from both previous dvd releases are included here but there are no blu-ray exclusives. The original has the standard 2.0 stereo track, and the sound isn't particularly great. The audio certainly isn't a massive improvement over the original dvd release. The picture is also the most disappointing that I have seen on blu-ray. Now I know that the film was made with a small budget and it was filmed using cheap film stock so the film is never going to look pristine no matter what format it is on, but this really doesn't look much better than the dvd release. In fact at times the film looks downright terrible on blu-ray. Edges blur and colours are way over-saturated. This gives it the look of an 80's tv movie which may have been Richard Kelly's original intention, but it makes it less than desirable on blu-ray.
To summise, Donnie Darko is a wonderful and haunting movie in every resepct. The blu-ray however is certainly not worth the upgrade. Hold onto your original dvd copy until the inevitable Ultimate Edition arrives on blu-ray, hopefully with a little tweaking from the director.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ah yes ..... it is even better, 5 Oct 2004
~ The Film ~
The film is now a little more easy 2 follow but that bit more weird e.g they have changed franks voice and they have added fantastic flashes of donnies eye with water and fire and words,in to the parts when donnie is getting told of frank what to do. And pages from the book that Roberta Sparrow wrote The Philosophy Of Time Travel also flash up.
Richard Kelly has also added deleted scenes into the film and moved the music around ... so thats the only bad thing i can say about the dvd ... he changed Echo and the bunnymen ' killing moon ' for something else,lol i should know the name of the other song iam sorry. But the film all together is some how much better than the original , so IF you are like me and watched donnie darko hundreds of times and wanted something differnet to happen , buy this ... If you have never seen it buy the 5 version .Also the menu is just fantastic.
~ Disc 2 ~
There is a fair amount of special stuff on the second disc the behind the scenes and the 'they made me do it too ' ( doc ) giving you the points of view , about the film , that the uk fans and film critics have, these are both fantastic and last around half a hour each , plus there are all the tv spots, the 2 music videos and 20 deleted scenes , most of which are on the original dvd.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW!, 22 May 2003
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This review is from: Donnie Darko [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
A fantastic movie that gets better every time you watch it. Jake Gyllenhaal is tremendous, a wonderful and well researched peformance of a disturbed teenager which is never unbelievable . A brilliant cast and a fantastic script ,just when you think you got it figured out it twists. It takes you through shock, laughter and sadness. There is no black and white with this movie, it means what ever you feel its saying. And it seems in no way odd that he's talking to a man in a bunny suit! You must watch this movie.... more than once. the extra features are great to and great pages. a well put together dvd for a directors first especially as it was such a badly publisised movie
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Donnie Darko   [VHS] [2002]
Donnie Darko [VHS] [2002] by Richard Kelly (VHS Tape - 2003)
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