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Troubled teen Donnie Darko seems to live in a stereotypical small American town, with stereotypical friends and family. However, he's not the typical troubled teen. Regularly needing to see a psychiatrist, he has nights where he sees a 6 foot bunny called Frank, dangerous events keep happening in and around his town, in particular the school, and he sleepwalks. Life is anything but ordinary for Donnie.
When we first meet him, he is coming to on a random hill road, to a glorious setting featuring sun and that early morning silence, broken only by the gentle tune playing that marks the promise of a great soundtrack. When Frank saves his life by talking to Donnie and persuading him to take a walk outside and thus avoiding the tree that crushes his room, it's almost a step backwards in terms of his psychiatric sessions - after all, having a 6 foot bunny as an imaginary friend probably isn't the healthiest of ways to conduct your teen years. When Frank tells Donnie the world is going to end in a certain number of days, hours, minutes and seconds, the surreality just gets deeper, and deeper....
At first, I wasn't sure how to take this film. I mean, it's not traditional in any sense of any word, and the way it goes through the surreal scenes where Donnie is supposedly seeing visions of the future (or is he actually time travelling?!) doesn't really offer you any answers. It's almost as if director Richard Kelly is just putting the script out there and letting people formulate their own opinions of events. It certainly leaves quite a lot to the imagination, with the help of a brilliant soundtrack featuring hit Mad World, which pretty much sums up the entire film.
There's a lot of 'what if' about the ending, and the whole time travel thing is explored to a certain extent. You do wonder just how much is a product of Donnie's imagination and how much is the true events that are happening as we watch it. The power of the mind is explored in a complete surreal fashion, yet there is a certain sense of clarity and understanding associated with the whole thing. I liked just how open everything was, with Kelly seeming reluctant to hide anything from us, merely deciding not to reveal everything deliberately. As I said, things are there to see, but we're left to put it all together. It doesn't take much to do, but the effects this has is that you feel like you're involved in what's going on.
It's quite a visual film in many ways, and not the sort of movie you could watch while doing something else. If you try that, it really just won't maker sense. Some of the visuals are instantaneous and only last a few seconds, such as the appearances of Frank and just how eerie he is when he first comes on screen. This doesn't change, with occurrences where he's suddenly in the car with Donnie or appearing at someone's shoulder when he wasn't there before, all the time egging on the sleepwalking Donnie as one destructive event after another happens in the sleepy town.
Is there a message here? Well, I'm not entirely sure. The ending to the film does make you think about how small moments in our lives can make huge differences, and I suppose there's a notion of not taking things for granted, but the overall power is one of a surreal nature that is not overcome once the first strange moment happens. Kelly uses the dark very well to highlight the eeriness of Frank the bunny, but also incorporates a lot of light, giving us scenes that just appear normal, stereotypical school scenes with normal teachers, the girlfriend, annoying siblings and overpowering parents, bullies, the whole thing really. But then you get the darker moments and it's like a completely different film. Confusing, but very very effective.
It's well acted, too. Jake Gyllenhaal gives a stellar and calm turn as Donnie, not allowing things to get the better of him and just allowing things to wash over him. He is joined by some interesting and quirky turns from established names such as Patrick Swayze, Katherine Ross, Drew Barrymore, Noah Wyle and Mary McDonnell, all of whom give good turns, providing the normality in a world which seems to be anything but.
I don't know how to describe the film as anything else - it's purely sublime and surreal. There's something mesmerising about the whole thing that Kelly manages to transfer across to the screen. It's a shame that the sequel, released a couple of years ago, was received so negatively, but this really isn't the sort of film that cries out for a sequel. It's a one off, and I'm glad to keep it that way, formulating my own thoughts and getting used to thinking about things for a good few minutes after the credits roll. The haunting Mad World leaves you in a state of contemplation, and I'll admit to a little shake of my head, confused and knowing I'd have to watch it for a second time at some point in order to get clarification of what was going on. I look forward to doing this. It promises to be even more surreal than the first time around.
Donnie Darko is a science fiction drama, it is rated '15' and was released in 2001. It features Jake Gyllenhaal as the lead character, Donnie Darko.
Donnie Darko is a somewhat peculiar film about a boy, Donnie, whom the film is named after. Donnie is an boy undergoing therapy with unexplained emotional problems, but has no shortage of friends. However, when an imaginary friend, Frank the 'giant bunny rabbit' comes into his life, saves him from a crashing aircraft which would have killed him if he had remained in his house (Frank led him outside before the crash).
However, from this point on, Frank asks Donnie to do increasingly unusual things, from flooding a school to burning down a house, all the while a date that Frank had given Donnie, presumably the end of the world begins to grow ever closer, as Donnie begins to gain the ability to see peoples destinies through the paths that they will take, and explores the fundamentals of time travel.
==Was it enjoyable?==
Personally, I thought it was a pretty good film and enjoyed it from start to finish, applauding (not literally) its many plot points and storylines. However: my friend who watched the film at essentially the same time as me disliked the film, saying that it was uninteresting and 'kinda sucked'.
So, essentially it could be said that the film is an acquired taste; not all people will enjoy the film. However, I thought this was one of the better films I've seen concerning time travel, and I would happily recommend it to someone who likes a dark atmosphere, tension or films involving large menacing bunny rabbits (it's almost a guarantee you won't find that anywhere else.)
I'll way this now, Donnie Darko isn't meant to be a film with special effects so brilliant that it knocks you off your seat, however, what I can say for the editing is that for the most part it is very well done. The swooping camera as it flies around the area, presumably to set the scene, was one of the best, if one of the simplest effects I've seen recently.
Also, some of the other effects through the movie were also visually impressive, especially the 'time streams' (they're not really called that) that represent a shimmering, distorted path that shows the viewer and Donnie, where the characters are going to go next.
However, although a lot of the film was shot in the dark, it seemed to have an abundance of light, making it hard to watch on darker screens (such as my iPod Touch). However, it did add to the atmosphere of many of the scenes, even if it made the events harder to see clearly on a mobile device with a low-light level screen.
==Value for Money==
I was reviewing the film only as I didn't take the DVD with me on the plane, but the movie clocked in, on its own, at just under two hours. However, while I did like the movie, I don't think I'd watch again, especially since some of the major plot turning points that the film relies on will only be exciting and unexpected once. I guess, though, if you like to re-watch more confusing films to better understand their storylines, then you may find yourself going back to Donnie Darko more than once. Essentially, how much value for money that you get from Donnie Darko really depends on how much you want to get from Donnie Darko, and that's entirely dependent on the type of film watcher you are.
This is a review of the FILM ONLY. There is no documentation on any special features that may come with the DVD or Blu-Ray versions of the movie.
==Characters and Performances==
The characters and performances in Donnie Darko are nothing short of excellent, Donnie is a deep and well acted character, and he has a very believable personality, and the voice of the massive bunny rabbit (Frank) is genuinely creepy (I never thought I would say that).
All of the other, supporting characters, are quite well acted, and they have a level of depth that is unparalleled compared to similar movies and other movies of the genre.
The character Donnie is so well acted that you can tell, almost immediately, that he is supposed to have mental issues, and is extremely imitable. However, the actor still manages to be charming and intelligent at points. The characters are all fantastically acted and they are all genuinely believable.
The soundtrack of Donnie Darko is brilliant, simply for the inclusion of the song 'Mad World', for which I have a peculiar love (I'm usually a rock and metal guy), but the rest of the music in this film is pretty good as well. The ambience is very atmospheric and the music sets the scenes and helps add to the creepiness to the movie. The music of Donnie Darko is absolutely excellent.
Donnie Darko does contain some strong content, it is detailed below.
*Kissing and hugging throughout the film
*There is a continuous reference to a character being a paedophile.
*A hallucination, taking form of a massive rabbit (it has a human build, but it has a face that looks like a rabbit) tells a character to burn down houses, destroy property.
*There is a countdown to an unexplained event throughout
*A character is killed at the end, it's too dark to make out any detail.
*At the end there is an emotional scene where a central character is seen.
*The rabbit, Frank, could be seen as frightening.
*Some may find some of the scenes with Donnie intense.
*Some may find that the scenes in the psychiatrists' room are very intense.
*Some may find the references to paedophilia disturbing.
*There is a sense of threat and menace throughout
There is a clear sense of threat throughout the movie, and there is some higher-impacpt violence as well. However, I do think that the '15' rating that Donnie Darko received in the United Kingdom is a bit overkill, and I think that a thirteen year old would be fine with this movie, providing of course that they know that it is in fact, only a movie.
While Donnie Darko may not be everyones cup of tea, it is to some a brilliant change to the usual movie stereotypes and it gives you something weird and unusual that you would never have expected to find in any other movie. That is what separates Donnie Darko out from the crowd, and that is the reason that I enjoyed it so much. It's not afraid to be different, so if you want to see a film that isn't afraid to be different, then Donnie Darko is the film to see, if you haven't seen it already, at least.
I give Donnie Darko five of a possible five stars.
--Copied from my Ciao account of the same name--
Donnie Darko was released in 2001 (seems so long ago now), it starred Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal, Drew Barrymore and Patrick Swayze. I may be wrong but I think this was the film that launched Jake Gyllenhaals career (I certainly don't remember knowing who he was when I saw the film).
As I don't like reading reviews that give away too much of the plot I won't write a blow by blow account of the movie but hopefully will manage to give those who haven't seen it a taste of the film.
There are so many ways to interpret this film that I'll just stick to what actually happens rather than giving my own view of it.
The story revolves around a young man named Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal), who is seeing a psychiatrist as he is struggling with mental health issues. Early on Donnie meets " a friend" who happens to be a six foot rabbit with a peculiarly sinister face, we can naturally assume at this point that Mr Darko has gone completely barking. The rabbit coaxes Donnie outside where he tells him that in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds the world will end...
Undeniably the films strength lies in it's plot of which there are many different interpretations, some of the wilder theories involve a time tampering alien race, although that's not how I saw it. I myself have seen Donnie Darko a few times and each time I see something in the plot that I hadn't seen before or perceive a part of the film in an entirely different way.
Jake Gyllenhaal delivers a very strong performance and Patrick Swayze plays a very hateable country and western star lookalike called Jim Cuningham (I had to delete the first sentence I wrote as I almost put in a spoiler without realising).
As well as a compelling plot, that is a great introduction into a full blown conversation about the nature of time travel, and strong characters acted well especially by a fresh faced Jake Gyllenhaal the film features a wonderful soundtrack, Mad world is a great song but there are far better pieces, all with an uber moody quality.
There is a sequel coming out soon but I would advise people not to go see it, it looks absolutely offensive, a complete cash cow and an insult to fans of the original, you can watch a trailer for it on youtube and I'm pretty sure you'll see what I mean.
Any film that has a huge scary bunny in it is worth a watch in my opinion. I didn't really know what to expect from this film, but now i am so glad that I watched it...
The story revolves around a troubled teenager called Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal) who begins to have very strange visions, that only he knows the meaning of. After narrowly escaping a freak accident the visions come in the form of a bunny called Frank who tells Donnie to do bad things! With the help of a former teacher known as Grandma Death and his classmate Gretchen he tries to figure out the visions that he is seeing. However in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes, 12 seconds...the world is going to end, so no pressure!
What to expect
This is beautifully written and a very good film. I had to watch it twice before i grasped the full concept that was trying to be put across in the film and i do have to say that the second time i watched it, i enjoyed it much more. Jake Gyllenhaal portrays an excellent disturbed teenager: awkward, shy, slightly insane! And he really does make the part his own. By far this is his best performance to date.
Patrick Swayze appears in the film as a life coach Jim Cunningham, someone who Donnie does not agree with and thinks he is a *insert swear word here*.
The story itself is confusing yet compelling at the same time. You cannot help but think after you have watched this film, which is a sign of a great story.
Drew Barrymore and Noah Wyle are also in this film, though they do not play major characters. They are both teachers at the school and each have there own opinions on the troubled teenager Donnie! Noah Wyle plays a physics teacher and helps Donnie with some of the visions he has been having and indulges him with information about time travel.
It is a very dark film, and you do have to watch it intently to make sure you do not miss anything. Perhaps my favourite film of all time!
Is it For you?
If you like dark, philosophical films then this is definitely up your street and i would strongly recommend this. To be honest, if you get the chance to watch it, then do, no matter what type of film you usually watch. However, it is not for children. It is certificate 15 due to strong language, underage drug and alcohol use, and violence. Run time is approximately 108 minutes.
Review also on ciao.co.uk
It's October 1988 and Donnie Darko, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, is a troubled teen plagued by an extreme case of frequent somnambulism. As haunting visions of a grotesque six-foot rabbit begin to trouble the middle Darko child, he is rendered helpless with nowhere to turn. Tortured by his eeriely persuasive, long-eared friend the heavily medicated teenager turns into a juvenile sleepwalker as he embarks on a psychological journey to stop the end of the world in twenty-eight days...
Directed and written by the unheard of Richard Kelly this sci-fi cult classic is weird,wonderful and wildly enthralling. It twists the idea of the typical teen movie into an unsettling enigma. The usual characters are present: the outsider (the well-cast Gyllenhaal), the attractive new girl (Jena Malone), the bullied fat girl, the understanding teacher and the sympathetic yet distant parents.
You slowly start to feel empathy for most of the characters as the film progresses but Donnie is the only one on the road to discovery and total rebellion, despite the efforts of the school and their cheesy self-motivation classes (by a local inspirational speaker played by Patrick Swayze). There is something not right with the world of Donnie Darko, it appears to be a typical American small town but it feels off balance, somethings out of place and there's tragedy lurking in the air.
Donnie and his family consider him very lucky as the mysterious areoplane engine flattened his bedroom when he was out sleepwalking, and Donnie's psychiatrist (Katharine Ross) tries to understand what is going on in his confused and fragile mind. Donnie has a lot to think about though. He questions the concept of time itself amongst many other things troubling his mind. There are so many angles to the plot and you have to pay attention in avoidance of missing something vital. This roller coaster ride of a film is definetly something you cannot have playing in the background as it takes an intellectual and understanding mind to watch it properly.
Are we predestined to take a set route through life? Is that route dictated by a God? How is it possible to travel through time, anyway? Can we even change time itself? The film offers no obvious answers, and moves slowly to its mysterious conclusion. It's haunting, intriguing and carefully made, and i'm sure it will go on pleasantly confusing people for many years to come. A must see film, it's well worth the extreme amount of brain power it uses up!
I picked up Donnie Darko for about £2.99 on the internet after I'd heard good things about it, it's a good film but the plot becomes quite complex but if you stick with it you won't be dissappointed. Jake Gyllenhaal is really well cast in the role of Donnie and plays the role very well as well as being lovely to look at!
Donnie Darko is a student at high school in America, we find out quite quickly in the film that he is seeing a psychiatrist and it becomes apparent that he hasn't been taking the medication he has been prescribed. The night his mother finds out he isn't taking his tablets Donnie is awakened by a voice telling him to go downstairs. Donnie sleep walks downstairs and meets Frank, a man in a rabbit costume and mask, when he removes his mask we see he is wounded in his right eye and this is quite creepy! Frank is the rabbit on the front of the DVD case, Donnie is told that in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds the world will end. We see Donnie, leave the house and a jet engine crash into the house above his bedroom, where, if he wasn't awakened by Frank he would of been lying in bed.
It then cuts to Donnie being woken up on a golf course and the numbers 28, 6, 42 and 12 are on his arm. When he gets home he finds his house cordened off by the fire brigade and discovers that a jet engine fell through his bedroom but no one can detact where it came from as no plane would of been travelling over the house.
The next day Donnie's father nearly runs over 'Grandma Death' a woman who was once a scientist but now she is elderly and just walks back and forwards all day going to her letterbox, but she never gets a letter. Donnie gets out to see if she's alright and she whispers into Donnie's ear, we don't hear it initially but we find out that she's said "every living creature on earth dies alone".
Donnie meets Gretchen at school, and a relationship between them soon starts to form, Frank continues to appear to Donnie, talking to him about time travel and telling him to flood his school and burn down the home of a smug inspirational speaker called Jim Cunningham who woke Donnie up at the golf course. It is revealed after Donnie burns down his house that he is found to be running a child porn dungeon which never would of been found if the house hadn't burnt down.
Donnie and his sister Elizabeth decide to have a Halloween party when their parents are away and Gretchen comes over and they spend most of the night upstairs. Donnie realizes 28 days have passed since Frank first appeared to him and goes to visit Grandma Death with Gretchen and 2 other friends. Here they are tormented by the school bullies and Gretchen is knocked out, the bullies leave after a speeding car scares them off but Grandma death is standing in the path of the car and as it swerves to miss her it runs over Gretchen. The car stops and Frank gets out (it's Halloween hense the costume) he takes off his mask and Donnie shoots him in the right eye (like the wound we saw when he first took off his mask).
Donnie carries Gretchen home and kisses his sister's forehead before leaving in the family car with Gretchen, as we drives off we see a black cloud forming abover his house and he travels up to some cliffs where he looks out of the town where he lives. A tornado type thing forms over the town and we see the plane his family are on being engulfed and the jet engine falling on his home, Donnie seems very peaceful as a whirlwind forms which is the time tunnel.
The first time of watching I didn't enjoy it as much as the second time, I didn't understand it particularly well but it's definately worth a second watch as when you can put all the pieces together it become clear what is going on and it very well cast and well executed.
Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Donnie Darko who suffers from paranoid schizophenia and this means that he is without friends and tends to isolate himself and he leads a melancholic existence. The only light in his world is provided by an imaginary friend, a six foot high scary looking rabbit called Frank. Needless to say this is a rather surreal film that has built up a cult following and is certainly an acquired taste.
When an aeroplne engine crashes into his bedroom a number of starnge events begin to take place and you can never quite be sure whether super natural things are happening or is it just Donnie vivid imagination as he descends into madness. Patrick Swayze stars as a self help guru called Jim Cunningham who turns up at Donnie school and at the same time his favourite teacher played by Drew Barrymore loses her job at the school and even more amazing is the fact that Donnie gets a girlfriend in the form of Gretchen, played by Jena Malone.
This is a strange movie with a convoluted plot however if you give it time and allow the story to develop it is easy to understand why it has a loyal following as it is a mind bending trip along a dark psychotic road. If you like David Lynch films then this particular film that is directed by Richard Kelly will appeal to you.
Jake Gyllenhaal is excellent in the lead role, he plays the oddball Donnie with great sensitivity and depth to the character, he is very convincing as a disturbed teenager. Drew Barrymore is also very good in this film and Swayze demonstrates that he can act as well as dance.
I must say I have seen this film twice now and it was better the second time around as I had a better understanding of it and was not scratching my head as much as I didthe first time. Cool film and well worth seeing.
What attracted me to this film was that one of my friends said it was her favourite of all time, and that it just had such an array of cast. I bought it from Amazon and here's what I think.
The cover is a very mystical and mysterious bunny shape with malgamated images of people's faces and scenes. This does not give too much away, but rather creates intrigue and you wonder what might happen. However, the rabbit face is somewhat demonic and to some could indicate to a scary film, but it really is a psychological thriller.
A boy named Donnie Darko is under medication and is seeing things. This thing comes in the form of a rabbit called "Frank" and Donnie is influenced to "do things". What he does and why he does it will be clear right at the end!
I have to say I was slightly confused for most of the film, and only right till the end was I able to tie SOME loose ends together. I think it requires a second watching to fully understand. I did read up on some articles online about the film which made it clearer though.
The cast is a huge array of stars including Jake Gyllenhaal as Donnie, Jena Malone, Maggie Gyllenhaal, the late Patrick Swayze, Drew Barrymore and more.
I thought Jake did a great job as Donnie and was convincing as being slightly "disturbed", whilst his chemistry with Maggie was fantastic being real life siblings. Jena Malone and Drew Barrymore did not have enough to make them stand out unfortunately.
The DVD contains a variety of special features including cast interviews, which last about 5 minutes each. They allow the actors to reveal what they thought of the film, but I thought what was divulged did not help too much in understanding the whole thing!
There were also deleted scenes, theatrical trailers and some interactive extras. They were slightly unnecessary, although the deleted scenes did make the film longer if you were to watch them, they were rightly edited away.
I thought the whole suspense of it DID stick me to my seat, but I was just waiting and waiting throughout, I lost interest slightly, and just wanted to know. It became slightly annoying when it drags on. It was a clever plot and perhaps I will enjoy it more upon watching it again.
It can be purchased for under £5 online.
note: also appears in part on Flixster and The Student Room
Donnie Darko is a very peculiar film that quickly became a cult classic upon its release in 2001. It's also recieved a lot of criticism for being "pretentious" and inaccessible, particularly because it requires that you actually read around the film (notably "The Philosophy of Time Travel") to fully understand the film's concepts. Fortunately, though, it does work still as a film that allows you to make your own interpretations purely on what you see in the film. It's slick, stylish, and I'll defend it to the hilt.
The film follows a youngster named Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal) in the late 1980s, a boy who may or may not be suffering from schizophrenia, and also perhaps narcolepsy, as he appears to wake up in strange places and has a vision of a man in a rabbit suit called Frank who tells him that there's only a few weeks left in the world. He has to also contend with his parents (of which his father is hilarious, chuckling inappropriately), and his two sisters, Elizabeth and Samantha (real-life sister Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Daveigh Chase). He also meets a young girl named Gretchen Ross (Jena Malone) and has to deal with the aggressive bullies at school who think he's nothing but a freak.
It's a film that's difficult to summarise because it's more about the experience than anything - it has a great 80s soundtrack, including Echo and the Bunnymen, and brings back some long-gone stars back to prominence, such as the late Patrick Swayze, and also E.R. star Noah Wyle. This film also put the Gyllenhaal's on the map, allowing them to graduate to higher-profile roles.
A great period soundtrack, an intruiging premise, and believable performances make this film one to watch. Pretentious to some, and sheer genius to others - either way, there's a lot to praise here. A highly poetic ending bolsters this film as a cult classic.
This DVD puts us before a very original cult movie starring Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal), a creative and imaginative 16 year old living with his middle class family in a small American town. Despite looking like a normal teenager, Donnie lives tormented by mental disturbances that only get worse when he miraculously escapes certain death on a freakish accident. From here on, and after a few contacts with Frank, a giant bunny that only he can see, he realizes that the would is about to end and that only him, and him alone, has to execute a quite particular mission.
This work, that initiated Richard Kelly as a movie director, was one of the great sensations of independent movies in 2001. Donnie Darko can present itself as quite a surprise, with its inspired and interesting screenplay, excellent soundtrack, a capable cast playing complex and interesting characters, good camera work and articulated dialogues.
Also playing in its favor is the fact that this movie is quite unpredictable and generates multiple opinions about its closure. In my own opinion, Donnie Darko represents the typical teenager struggling with his (in)adaptation to a society full of hypocrisy, prejudice and false moral, where a teacher trying to promote thought has no place to be and a person loved by society has a past shadowed by pedophilia. Darko is willing to give his life for the ones he loves, hence is smile in the end; others said its because he saved the world.
It is, in my opinion, indispensable for all that like a good intellectual movie whose ending is subject to individual interpretations based on how they experience the movie themselves. It may require two or more viewings (I watched it 3 times...) before one can make up their minds about what "really" happened, but it will definitely be worth the time.
One of the most popular films of the last ten years, Donnie Darko follows a lonely and troubled teen as he is greeted with warnings of the end of the world by a rabbit who goes by the name of Frank.
Unfortunately, despite the decent ideas which Richard Kelly had upon starting this project, it fails in its execution. It could be said that the characters are seen from Darko's point of view, but that is no excuse for their one dimensional generalisations that permeats the film. Darko, by contrast, is a character who is not to be fully understand upon first impressions, though the fact that he clearly considers himself to be more intelligent than his classmates and friends just gives him an air of sheer arrogance and "woe is me" middle class teen angst when he fails to show the audience this hidden intellect, especially during his nonsensical rant about the Smurfs, which procedes the comment from a friend of his which effectively means that Darko thinks too much.
Though supposedly aimed at introverts, it seems to be equally as popular with extroverts - most likely due to the film's illusions of vast depth and intelligence, meaning that those who claim to like it are hoping to be seen as being of high intelligence, along with the fact that their friends/neighbours/family fail to fully understand them and thus they must be a much deeper and complex person than others think them to be. Though an introvert myself, I still could not believe in Darko as a character - he merely seems to be portrayed as his own warped opinion of himself. With the constant references to 80s pop culture, I can't help but feel that the film is semi-autobiographical - Darko perhaps being Kelly during his younger days.
The ambiguity of the film is not its downpoint - it is that Kelly seems to have little clue himself as to his intentions and the messages he is trying to get across.
My problems with the film may well be partly down to its undeserved popularity, but Donnie Darko is (though I haven't watched it for quite a while) not up to the standards with which some folk hold it up to be - nor is it anywhere near as intelligent as some fans would suggest. My recommendation: watch some David Lynch or latter day Kubrick for Hollywood films which have a much deeper meaning than the basic narrative.
79. Donnie Darko (Richard Kelly, 2001)
Donnie Darko slipped under my radar when it was first released back in 2001 and it took me about 2 years to discover it and how happy i was with myself when i did find it. This film is a slice of courage and originality to match the likes of Cronenberg and Lynch and that's why it makes it on to my list. It has a clever, twisted plot, some awesome casting and great dialogue that keep the viewer pinned to the screen and guessing the true nature of the film. I love films that stay with you for days after - i think that when a film does that it has truly effected you rather than just being entertainment. Donnie Darko is a classic example of this. I was thinking about the plot and what it could mean for days! was it just some for of mental illness or schizophrenia that was causing these things to happen. Or was it truly a rip in space and time traveling that was occuring and giving Donnie the chance to alter time for the better. Like Mullholland drive and 2001 A Space Odyssey this film leaves it up to the viewer to make their own interpretation on it and this i love.
It goes into and the hints that may not be anything but have connotations that lead the viewer to believe what ever they want. For instance, the name sounds like a superhero or fictional character which could just be coincidental but the fact that it is left to Donnie to save the earth seems to obvious to me. I love things like this, it makes you want to watch the film all over again to pick up clues and meanings you might have missed the first time. The film also deals with some with some complex subject and emotions such as right and wrong, democracy and politics etc which is interesting to look into and read up upon. Of course it also deals with the basic love and feat/hate scenario which adds depth to the story.
A really great casting choice with Jake Gyllenhaal also helps forward the plot, he adds a sense of sadation to the plot, giving it a very dream like atmosphere with his giggles and dillusion at the sight of some his hallucinations, which also gives tension to the plot as you can't quite put your finger on what is really going on - a brilliant piece of acting by an aspiring new comer at the time. Richard Kelly also has a great soundtrack at his disposal with this film and the end song 'Mad World' was on constant play on my ipod for weeks after, a truly great song that mirrors the themes and issues that Donnie seems to have in his life. This was destined for cult success and fans since its released and it has definitely hooked me in.
A very confusing film, a brilliant fim, but very confusing.
In fact I didn't really get everything until I searched it on wikipedia and was told by a friend, thats nit to say it isn't a brilliant film anyway it definatly help to understand the film though!
All about an accident that takes place in the skies and in the mind Donnie, Jake Gyllenhall, his mind saves him from death as the plane comes down on the house, his mind, a man in a bunny outfit tells him to get out.
As a result of this Donnie must obey his 'friend' into doing a series of offences until at a house party one night it all ends...
The final scenes of the film are brilliant, especially right at the end at Mad World plays across a sequence of people.
Not for those who like to sit and watch a film on a rainy night, this involves pure dedication, you are paid for that dedication with a great film though
Well what can you say about this film. Its a real love hate kind of movie. But I am strongly in the loving it catagory!
This film has everything, and really interesting story line that keeps you guessing all the way through. Some fantastic one liners that really make you laugh, beautiful cinamatography and a haunting soundtrack!
Jake Gyllenhaal and his sister Maggie Gyllenhaal both play stuinning parts. Was really before Jake made it big, back when he was still quite raw.
Some of the songs are fantastic in this film, Echo and the Bunnymen, the Killing moon opens the film, is perfect to set the mood. Songs from The Church, Inxs and Joy Division really make this a wonderful soundtrack. And then the film finishes on the haunting Mad World by Gary Joules which was number one for a while.
The story follows Donny Darko as he has some rather strange and disturbing dreams of a giant Bunny! Which tells him the future. I wont go into to much detail and spoil it, but this film really does get you thinking. There are all kinds of opinions about what the story means and what actually happens, I dont think there is any real answer, its just left upto the viewers imagination. Which is the best way to leave things sometimes.
There are a few cameo's from Patrick Swayze and Drew Barrymore who play there parts very well.
I would have to say this is one of my all time favorite films, whereas I have introduced others to it and they have hated it, so its a real watch it and decide for yourself kind of film!
Here I am, jumping onto the bandwagon long after the music has gone out of style yet again. Donnie Darko was the sleeper hit of 2001, one of those rare films that succeed through word of mouth and audience acclaim, rather than studio hyperbole and clever marketing.
It's October 1988. Donnie Darko is a troubled teen growing up in a sleepy suburb. He's in therapy, on medication and a chronic sleepwalker. Then one night he's drawn to the local golf course, where a giant rabbit named Frank appears to him. Frank tells him that there are 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds until the world ends. That's barely enough time to meet a girl and fall in love. Then a jet engine falls on his house!
Donnie Darko gets a quite pleasant 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer. It's pretty clear throughout, with only a hint of grain and occasional softness. There is a low budget, indie feel to the film certainly, but that doesn't extend to the effects and CGI work, which is top-notch.
You have a choice between DD 2.0 and DD 5.1 English, with optional English and Spanish subtitles. In an odd move, the audio choices can only be made from the special features menu. This film has some really effective use of surround. There is a palpable atmosphere to the film, some really dark moments, and of course a sublime selection of music to accompany it.
Some really neat animated menus showcase this film, and the disc design is impressive. Look out for an Easter Egg on the main page that leads to some extra deleted scenes.
The main deleted scenes are in the Behind Frank's Mask section of the disc. There are 16 in all, and most if not all add quite a bit of detail to the film. It's understandable why there is a Director's Cut. These scenes are presented with optional commentary, but are in a rough-cut form. You'll also find b-roll footage/outtakes, the Cunning Visions Infomercials in full, as well as with a spoof commentary, finishing with production stills in this section.
The theatrical trailer and 5 TV spots get a section of their own.
Cast and Crew has 20 text filmographies, along with 15 interviews. These interviews are brief, and in sound bite form, and are hardly informative.
I'm Seeing Stuff collects the artwork of the film in one section, totalling 4 galleries, and one featurette. You can also read "The Philosophy Of Time Travel" if you so choose.
Finally there are two commentaries with this film. The first is with Richard Kelly and Jake Gyllenhaal, which is nice, informative and eventually yields much information about the film. The second commentary, which collects much of the remaining cast and crew together, is a loud free for all that is difficult to unravel.
It seems like a lot written down, but only the deleted scenes and the first commentary really offer any replay value. The interviews are a little pointless, and a couple of the featurettes have only the most tenuous link to the film.
Donnie Darko is almost textbook when it comes to cult breakthroughs. It's this decade's Star Wars, gaining notoriety through word of mouth, and becoming fashionable to watch and to talk about at dinner parties. I never encountered any "I watched Donnie Darko" T-Shirts, but I wouldn't be surprised. Fortunately the likelihood of Donnie Darko sequels and prequels is remote.
The bright side is that it is an enjoyable mind twister of a film. It's one of those films that demands repeat viewings, as the director has secreted little hints and winks in the film that pay off the second or third time around. It's also useful in figuring out what's going on.
In Donnie Darko, the sci-fi elements are integral to the story, but the 1988 setting, the richly coloured in background to Donnie's world is what makes it such a nostalgic draw. We're taken right back to a world without the Internet, without mobile phones, but with some of the most memorable pop music ever laid to CD. Donnie Darko takes all those eighties teen movies and gives them an ironic twist.
Like any good satire it pulls out those aspects that we are uncomfortable remembering. We have the slightly dysfunctional family, the mother who chooses not to accept that her son is growing and changing. Like all such eighties' families, she's handed off responsibility to an overpaid therapist, who insists on talking Donnie through his feelings. Also a painful memory of the decade is the motivational speaker, the kind of conman who made millions by writing a book telling you how to think yourself into success, creating his own lingo to give him an air of credibility.
Of course this is just background, as Donnie Darko is a far more complex and eerie film. It has that cult cachet of not settling for one genre. There are elements of comedy, drama, and teen romance to it. But most of all is the overlying strangeness and undercurrent of horror.
Frank is not the most pleasant creation to ever grace the screen, and the way that he and Donnie interact is certainly unsettling. Perceptions are twisted and the laws of cause and effect rendered meaningless. Yet the film remains consistent to its own internal rules, so that when the denouement arrives, it doesn't disappoint.
If cult could be a genre, then Donnie Darko does follow some of the same conventions. One is that it gives a world that appeals to its audience; here it is the rose-tinted vision of a bygone decade. The mix of genres is another, while the third is how quotable the film is. The dialogue can be totally irrelevant as long as it is memorable.
The story is strong, the twist appealing, as is the films setting, but perhaps the strongest part of Donnie Darko is the richness of the characters and how well they are written. While the story may be fantastic, the way that they interact is natural, moving and funny. It is the core of the film, and it is this that gives it its real repeat value, above the sci-fi and the nostalgia.
Donnie Darko isn't the earth-shattering revolution in cinema that was acclaimed five years ago, but it builds on established ideas and presents itself in an original way. It is entertaining though, and if a good film can be defined as something that provides talking points for the drive home from the cinema, then Donnie Darko is a must see.
High school student Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal) is isolated and distant from those around him except for his relationship with Gretchen and his psychiatrist. His other companion may not be the friend that he seems - Frank is either a large purple bunny, or man in a large purple bunny costume whom only Donnie can see. When an engine falls off a plane and destroys Donnie's bedroom, a string of strange, or even supernatural events are triggered. Donnie struggles to investigate the truth of what is going on, but is he just struggling with his own mental illness? The film, directed by Richard Kelly, also starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and Patrick Swayze, has become a cult classic and is as bizaare and mind-bending as it is thought-provoking and enthralling.