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
726,972

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22 April 2005 | mstomaso
9
| compelling, eerie, intense, haunting, evocative, potent, sad, heroic
Being an angst-ridden teenager has never been easy, especially when you can see what's down the road, and it looks a lot like the end of your world.

Writer and Director Richard Kelly is an artist whose films I will anticipate and Jake Gyllenhaal is truly remarkable among a very rich cast. He plays a troubled young man with a brilliant intellect and a vast imagination, struggling with the boredom of standard education, and a society afraid of its own shadow (e.g. contemporary America). An imaginary friend, Frank - a seven foot tall metal-headed skull-faced demon-rabbit saves his life by removing him from the the scene of a catastrophe just before it occurs, only to lead him down an alternative path to an even more terrible oblivion complete with forecasts of doom, psychiatrists, and self-help charlatans.

This film feels as creepy as any well-made ghost story I have ever seen, yet redefines the genre of supernatural storytelling in a very unique and original way.

Donnie Darko is a film about heroism and sacrifice, decorated with disturbing imagery, the horror of everyday life, and a soundtrack reminiscent of Lynch's best. It is also a film worthy of several viewings and at least as many varied interpretations.

I can not honestly recommend this to anybody who attends films for the pure sake of entertainment. Nor can I recommend it to people who need straight answers or have limited attention spans. It's art, and does not need to provide pat explanations for itself. As entertaining as this film may be, it has an unrelenting and merciless dark side, and might disturb even the most veteran indy film carmudgeon.

This is a great film. See it.

Metacritic Reviews


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Did You Know?

Trivia

Some songs featured in the movie were substitutes for songs which the makers wanted, but were denied the rights. The dance performance was performed to "West End Girls" by the Pet Shop Boys, and Duran Duran's "Notorious" was re-dubbed in post-production. U2's "MLK" in the final scene, was substituted with Gary Jules' cover of the Tears for Fears song "Mad World" instead.


Quotes

Elizabeth: I'm voting for Dukakis.


Goofs

When Donnie is talking about time travel with his science teacher for the first time, the slinky around his neck changes positions from behind the collar of his shirt to around his neck when the camera switches between frontal and rear angles.


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

Never Tear Us Apart
Written by
Andrew Farriss and Michael Hutchence
Performed by INXS
Courtesy of Mercury Records Limited
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
Courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp.
By arrangement with Warner Special Products
[Director's Cut only]

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Drama | Mystery | Sci-Fi | Thriller

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