Donnie Darko (2001)

R   |    |  Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi


Donnie Darko (2001) Poster

After narrowly escaping a bizarre accident, a troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a man in a large rabbit suit who manipulates him to commit a series of crimes.


8/10
729,348

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


8 February 2005 | Patuquitos
8
| Nothing more than tricks... but, god, how they work.
Sweets. They are not nourishing, but they're delicious.

This is how I feel about this film. If I make a conscious attempt at explaining why I like "Donnie Darko", I can see no real meat in it. I got no lessons from the flick, I hardly got a story... Forget what others say about this movie as "philosophical", "clever" or "trascendent". It's not. But, my!, how such a young director almost manages to make you believe it is... I don't know about you, but I call that talent.

Yes, the movie is empty. The story goes nowhere, there is no message, no moral, but the way it's all wrapped up keeps you salivating throughout. Don't think it's mere flashy fireworks, though. This is not a case of style over substance. It's something more complex, and that's where "Donnie Darko" distances from the rest. This movie is freaking special, is full of personality. I wish more films had this character. The charm of this film relies on a lot of pieces that fit like a giant puzzle:

-Chosen time (1988) is strangely proper (you'll have to see this movie to understand it, sorry).

-The movie is BLUE. Its photography is blue, its characters are blue, its story is blue. Everything is blue.

-Music is great.

-Emotions are overwhelming. They come from everywhere and at the same time. You don't know what's happening, but what might be happening actually affects you.

-I can see some Lynch influences. The scene where the gym teacher talks to Donnie's mother at the doorstep is 100% Lynch.

-Some scenes are, almost, scary.

-This is one of the movies that present the idea of "beyond" in a most seductive way. You feel there's something more than this world. It never gets explained, but heck, I don't care.

-Finally, and most important, the main appeal of the movie is that it throws together unrelated concepts in such a way that they feel ghostly linked. The movie is a melting pot of vague ideas, that, thanks to a great direction, get connected in the subconscious.

Exactly because of this, I understand this movie has so much appeal for some people, and so little for others. If you fall in the trap, it will touch you, and this movie could mean the world to you. If you don't, it won't, and you won't see more than a bag of tricks. Whatever the category you fall in, you have to recognize the skill of Richard Kelly. The execution of "Donnie Darko" is more than remarkable.

I like to think of "Donnie Darko" not as a movie, but as a niche some people feel comfortably unsafe inside, that people being 25-30 year olds with an affection for sci-fi and darkness. The more you fit in this role, the more you'll get into this.

RATING: 8.3

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Critic Reviews



Did You Know?

Trivia

When casting for the role of Donnie's sister, it came to writer and director Richard Kelly's attention that Maggie Gyllenhaal (who had few film credits at the time) would be available for the shoot. The agent who proposed her casting reminded Kelly of her scene in Cecil B. Demented (2000), where she drank urine. Though Kelly was slightly hesitant towards the idea, he did like the way she drank urine, and knew he wouldn't have to work hard at creating a sibling rivalry between her and her brother Jake.


Quotes

Elizabeth: I'm voting for Dukakis.


Goofs

Elizabeth receives her admission letter to Harvard in October, before Halloween. (The party she and Donnie have is a Halloween party to celebrate her admission.) However, Harvard belongs to the universities that use the universal application and notification dates: applications have to be received by Januay 1 and letters of acceptance (or rejection) are mailed on April 15. To be coherent with Harvard's system, the film would have to take place in April, not October.


Crazy Credits

"Proud to Be Loud" Performed by The Dead Green Mummies -- this song is actually performed by the band Pantera. (The Dead Green Mummies do not exist.) Pantera has all but disowned their first four albums, this song is track 5 on the fourth of those albums, "Power Metal." The band presumably did not want to be credited with the song (as they don't consider any of their pre-1990 material part of their discography) and made up the name The Dead Green Mummies.


Alternate Versions

In the original version, when Donnie first begins to witness the liquid spear coming out of his chest, the spear moves across the room, turns back toward him and forms a large sort-of finger that beckons him to follow. In the Director's cut, the spear does not beckon him. He simply follows. Also the soundtrack in this scene has changed. Previously, we could hear the TV advertising the Middlesex Halloween Carnival. This has been replaced with sound effects now associated with any of the oddities of the tangent universe. In the Director's Cut there is also the audio for a commercial for "Who's the Boss?" starring Tony Danza inserted prior to the Halloween Carnival add.


Soundtracks

Head Over Heels
Written by
Curt Smith and Roland Orzabal
Performed by Tears for Fears
Courtesy of Mercury Records Limited
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Drama | Mystery | Sci-Fi | Thriller

Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$110,494 28 October 2001

Gross USA:

$1,478,493

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$6,979,093

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