Obsessives will be familiar with the "new" material (almost all available on the original DVD), which elaborates on the time-travel metaphysics and tightens the emotional screws. Donnie (Jake Gyllenhaal) shares one additional tender exchange with each family member
In this bolder, longer new cut, characters are allowed to finish scenes previously left as DVD extras, effects are creepier, and the theories of "the Tangent Universe" are explored in greater depth. Friends and neighbors, this is a Great American Movie.
If Kelly felt it necessary to add the new material, that's all to the good. It just means there's more to love.
Lisa AlspectorChicago Reader
This surreal, subversive teen drama tanked at the box office but has since become a cult favorite, prompting this new release with 20 minutes of additional footage.
If you're returning for more Donnie, you'll still have tears in your eyes come the sublime Mad World conclusion. If it's your first viewing, you should still be wowed by an astounding masterpiece. But this is undoubtedly the lesser of the two cuts, and since you have the choice, you should stick with version one.
Roger EbertChicago Sun-Times
The director's cut adds footage that enriches and extends the material but doesn't alter its tone. It adds footnotes that count down to a deadline, but without explaining the nature of the deadline or the usefulness of the countdown.