Donnie Darko - Director's Cut (1 Disc)  [DVD]
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A director's cut of the directorial debut of Richard Kelly, which is a comic mixture of 80s sci-fi, horror and teen movie genres. October 1988 and small-town USA is about to witness the end of the world. Well, that's according to Frank, a giant, talking rabbit that only Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal), a brilliant but troubled teenager, can see. Frank has been urging Donnie to play dangerous pranks on his friends and dysfunctional family, but when he gets Donnie to leave his bedroom one night and tells him the world will end soon, strange things begin to happen - starting with the engine of an aeroplane plunging to ground and hitting Donnie's, now empty, bedroom.
Donnie Darko is a thought-provoking, touching and distinctive offering from relative newcomer, Richard Kelly (II). It's 1988 in small-town America and Donnie, a disturbed teenager on medication and undergoing psychoanalysis for his blackouts and personality disorders, is being visited by a being in a rabbit suit whom he calls Frank. It's this anti-Harvey that saves Donnie from being crushed to death when an airplane engine falls from the sky onto his house. This is the beginning of their escalating relationship, which, as Donnie follows Frank's instructions, becomes increasingly violent and destructive. Added to this is Frank's warning of the impending apocalypse and Donnie's realisation that he can manipulate time, leading to a startling denouement where nearly everything becomes clear.
"Nearly everything", because Donnie Darko is a darkly comic, surreal journey in which themes of space, time and morality are interwoven with a classic coming-of-age story of a teenage boy's struggle to understand the world around him. The film leaves the viewer with more questions than it answers, but then that's part of its charm. Performances are superb: Jake Gyllenhaal underplays the mixed-up kid role superbly and Donnie's episodes of angst positively erupt out of the screen. There are also some starry cameos from Mary McDonnell as Donnie's long-suffering mother, Patrick Swayze as Jim Cunningham, the personal-development guru with a terrible secret, and Noah Wyle and Drew Barrymore as Donnie's progressive teachers. Undoubtedly too abstruse for some tastes, Donnie Darko's balance of outstanding performances with intelligent dialogue and a highly inventive story will reward those looking for something more highbrow than the average teenage romp. --Kristen Bowditch --This text refers to an alternate DVD edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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?Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An oddly disturbing film deeper than the usual dumbed down popular films. Complex and thought provoking with a good score. Needs watching several times. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Albert Neanderthal
I've seen this film several times and I probably still do not fully understand it! But what fun I have trying. It is atmospheric,beautifully filmed and has an awesome soundtrack. Read morePublished 1 month ago by A L H