During the presidential election of 1988, a teenager named Donnie Darko sleepwalks out of his house one night, and sees a giant, demonic-looking rabbit named Frank, who tells him the world will end in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 ... more »minutes, and 12 seconds. He returns home the next morning to find that a jet engine has crashed through his bedroom. As he tries to figure out why he survived and tries to deal with people in his town, like the school bully, his conservative health teacher, and a self-help guru, Frank continues to turn up in Donnie's mind, causing him to commit acts of vandalism and worse. The new Director?s Cut includes a production diary of the film (with optional commentary by Director of Photography Steven Poster), a story-board to screen featurette, the Director?s cut theatrical trailer, They Made Me Do It Too ? The Cult of Donnie Darko and the #1 Fan: A Darkomentary.« less
Callie K. (ballofglitter) from GRAND ISLAND, NE Reviewed on 8/15/2014...
All of my friends and even parents love this movie and think I'm nuts because I didn't care for and I can't understand why they like it so much. It's boring, it's one of the weirdest movies I've ever seen and nothing in it makes sense at all.
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Chad B. (abrnt1) from CABERY, IL Reviewed on 3/28/2011...
This film requires multiple viewings to understand and even then it doesn't really make too much sense overall. The viewer is left wondering if the film is a death dream, alternate reality or the insane ravings of a lunatic. It doesn't ever come out and say what it's trying to do. Characters act in ways that make no real logical sense. This film annoys me beyond belief. It's pretensious art school bs without a point. I had a far more enjoyable time re-watching Ed Wood films.
2 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Suzanne B. Reviewed on 8/5/2009...
2-disc set includes the Director's Cut and tons of special features well-suited to the DD fan. The film means different things to different people. To me, it was about a teen with serious mental health issues trying to make sense of his pyschotic break. To others, it is about the existence of a parallel universe. At any rate, it is a beautifuly written and produced film with excellent performances from its many famous actors. My lone complaint is that the film takes place in Virginia but was obviously filmed in California.
3 of 4 member(s) found this review helpful.
Sometimes less is a lot more ...
m-chan | 02/20/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"My rating and the following refers specifically to the Director's Cut. I would rate the original theatrical release five stars.
This director's cut brought to mind William Faulkner's line about writers often having to "kill their darlings" in order to meet the demands of a work's wholeness and integrity. Evidently, Richard Kelly was forced to kill his darlings with the theatrical release, and the result was close to perfection, if not perfection itself. The film's emotional force was stunning; its mysteries challenging; its pace so good that hitting pause to get more popcorn was impossible to do; its soundtrack (to my mind) a tour de force. It worked terrifically as a film experience, being a beautiful "whole" work of art. Extras that included Roberta Sparrow's book were great ... who really wanted to read the book during the movie anyways? (Which we can now do in the DC.)
Which does not mean a director's cut had no hope of working. Or even, maybe, revisions to the soundtrack (although I really think that was touchy business better left untouched). There were some good scenes deleted from the original, mainly between family members, and they didn't seem major pace-cutters. Fortunately, we do get those scenes here, but we also get the overwhelming force of the director's enthusiasm ... and WAY too much embedded detail of his personal vision.
On the upside, there's a nifty freedom to that enthusiasm which translates well into the Darko world IF you are also enthusiastic and into "playing" with Darko. In other words, if you love Donnie Darko already, you may find this cut a lot of fun. The pacing's completely blown, and the ending comes across flat compared to the original. (Kelly gets too detailed and baroque at the end, thus the impact of the "Mad World" music montage--don't want to include spoilers--and last scene is severely undermined.) Yet it's great to have more Darko, however we have to get it. And I don't regret buying this.
But if you've never seen the original DVD release, I cannot recommend this DVD set to you over that one. You will probably wonder why a cult ever built up around this film ... what anyone saw in it. You'll be missing that visceral power and compelling wonder that makes movies great and leaves you wanting to see a movie again ... immediately, if possible.
Donnie Darko was a little miracle of a film that cast a huge shadow. The director's cut joins many other films that try for bigness and achieve little ... unless, of course, in Darko's case, you've already seen the light and are into shadow-play.
The question isn't whether or not the movie's good, it's whe
Panda Opa | 06/08/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Donnie Darko is a very good movie. Yeah it gets a little to complicated for itself at times, but it's entertaining the entire way through. A very good film with a very good cast. Almost nothing wrong with it. But...
The Director's Cut: Alright, this version of the film has been criticized by many fans and critics. Often seen as making the film, simple and cheap. I myself do not enjoy it quite as much as the original, for the above reasons. But by no means does the Director's Cut make it a bad movie. I mean heck, I own it. The specials on the dvd are also pretty good.
I still suggest to you that you watch the original first, but if you don't, I wouldn't worry about it. The whole, "The Director's Cut is the Worst movie Ever", isn't true. I hope you enjoy this very good movie.
Rating: 4 Stars
I hope this was helpful, thanks for your time."
Baffling Rework But Still A Great Film
Robert Sabonjian | Waukegan, IL United States | 08/25/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am tempted to recommend that you stick with the original version because it doesn't have the strange grid effect over the time reversal sequence. This grid makes no sense at all, especially when you hear the Director's weak rationale for the artifice. The other additions are more effective and the sound is vastly improved over the original. The marvelously choreographed intro into the High School environment is a piece of virtuoso filmmaking."
The End of the World
Goatface Killah | 08/15/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Funny, sad, and mind-blowing, 'Donnie Darko' is, quite simply, an excellent movie. The plot is complex and engaging, with Jake Gyllenhaal as the protagonist, followed up by a cast that doesn't leave Jake holding up the movie.
Depending on what version of the film you see, the plot can be simple, or very hard to understand. I saw the original version on television and it was easy to comprehend. However, I had a lot of questions about little plot strings that weren't tied up. Just the other day I saw the director's cut. I spent the rest of the night explaining things to the people who watched it with me while simultaneously figuring it out myself.
But, let me explain first. In the original version of the movie the plot line goes like this. Donnie Darko is introduced as the protagonist. He smokes, sees a therapist, and is rude to his parents. Then comes the fateful night of October 2nd.
Donnie is asleep when he hears a voice that tells him to follow it. Donnie gets up and walks out of the house and onto a golf course where a human sized, demented bunny rabbit called Frank tells him the world will end in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes, 12 seconds. At the same time as this encounter a jet engine falls through Donnie's room, which would have crushed him had he not gone out to the golf course. For the next 28 days Donnie goes on certain missions by the bidding of Frank, gets a girlfriend, and finds out about time travel. I wont tell the ending for the sake of preserving it.
In the director's cut there are a few differences. The beginning is the same. However, this time the end of the world mentioned by Frank really comes into play. It is explained (and this is explained only in the director's cut) that Donnie is in a tangent universe separate from the primary universe, and it will collapse after a few weeks, creating a black hole in the primary universe destroying all of existence.
Donnie goes through the same adventures with a few differences here and there from the original version with the same ending result, only it is much clearer why he does what he does.
I highly recommend this movie to those intelects who like to think about the plot, and to those who like dark comedy, and also to anyone and everyone, for this is truly not a film to be missed."
Expanded director's cut slightly different take on story
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 02/16/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Donnie Darko: The Director's Cut" takes the audience down the rabbit hole on a long, strange trip that alternately becomes, surreal, comic, dramatic and just plain scary. Donnie (Jake Gyllenhaal) suffers from hallucinations and takes medication to help control his "visions". One night after taking his medication he has an encounter with a large, rancid, evil looking six foot tall rabbit who informs him that the world is going to end. "Frank" (as he calls his imaginary friend) takes him briefly into the future disappearing and reappearing throughout the film. Evidently only Donnie can stop it. The film moves from fantasy to reality with no clear indication as to whether or not Donnie's "visions" are real or if everything is in his imagination. Using a soundtrack made up of 80's staples ("Love Will Tear Us Apart" by Joy Division, "Head Over Heels" by Tears For Fears, "Never Tear Us Apart" by INXS among many other titles), director/writer Richard Kelly creates a bizarre satire of suburbia and surreal science fiction drama. Kelly's original version of the film featured some different songs and was shorter (and features new sequences and optical effects not in the 2001 release) but also seemed more open to interpretation. The allegorical references sprinkled throughout the film along with the bizarre dream sequences made the original film both fascinating and plain weird.
This new director's cut makes the film less opaque and adds an element of the "Twilight Zone" to Kelly's rich, original vision. The director's cut isn't necessarily a better film just different. Visually stunning and with an outstanding cast, inscrutable script "Donnie Darko" was just different enough to not score with audiences post-9/11. That's tragic as this totally original film makes an impression whether you're watching the original version or the director's cut of the film.
"Donnie Darko" lives up to its title with a number of unusually dark images. Fox has done an admirable job translating this film to DVD. Unfortunately, Director Kelly and DP Hunter went for a muted, gauzy look with soft blacks and muddy image reproduction. There's nothing we can do about and Fox has done the best with what they were given. I did notice occasional analog flaws pop up on the print but aside from that it looks pretty good despite the limitations placed on the film by Kelly and Hunter. I'm surprised that Fox didn't use the extended branching approach here that they did with the"Alien Quadrilogy" boxed set but that could be simply because the film has been reshuffled too much to do so. The 5.1 and 2.0 mixes sound solid although the sound is a bit murky towards the conclusion with some distortion on this edition of the film.
Fox wisely put all the extras on disc two of this set allowing the film to benefit from the extra disc space. We get a "Donnie Darko Production Diary" (with optional commentary by Director of Photography Steven Poster). . There's also a commentary track by Director of Photography Steven Poster in the Donnie Darko Production Diary which provides an interesting insider's perspective and lots of trivia about the production of the film. Featuring camcorder shot footage of the search for locations and behind-the-scenes footage of the production, it's an interesting glimpse into the process of pre-production. #1 Donnie Darko Fan is the result of an internet contest for the best short film about being a fan of this film. The winner's film is included and gives a glimpse into the odd world of fandom. We also get a storyboard to screen comparison for a key sequence from the film. They Made Me Do It features interviews with British fans of the film discussing what drew them to the film and how it changed their view of the world.
A fascinating commentary track by Director Kelly who discusses his film with fellow Director Kevin Smith ("Clerks"). It's, at turns, informative, philosophical and very involving. Does it answer the big questions about this film? Not exactly but it wasn't designed to do that either.
Kelly's original vision has been revised somewhat in this "Director's Edition" of Donnie Darko. The meaning of Kelly's film is still, ultimately, open to debate and while the film may be a bit less ambiguous than the first theatrical cut, its also got its fair share of great moments as well. The first disc comes with a terrific commentary track by Kelly and Director Kevin Smith. The second has all the extras including a documentary on the making of the movie, a glimpse at the fandom following this unusual cult film. We also get to see the film that won the contest for #1 Donnie Darko fan. While it's not something to crow about it is an interesting look at what levels the fans of this unusual and great little movie will go to. Be warned fans of the theatrical cut that this version runs longer, has different songs and may spoil some of your pet theories about the film's meaning. "