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Donnie Darko

Donnie Darko

4.8 131
Director: Richard Kelly, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Drew Barrymore

Cast: Richard Kelly, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Drew Barrymore


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Donnie (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a bright and charming high-school student who also has a dark and willfully eccentric side; he does little to mask his contempt for many of his peers and enjoys challenging the authority of the adults around him. Donnie is also visited on occasion by Frank, a monstrous six-foot rabbit that only Donnie can see who often urges him to perform


Donnie (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a bright and charming high-school student who also has a dark and willfully eccentric side; he does little to mask his contempt for many of his peers and enjoys challenging the authority of the adults around him. Donnie is also visited on occasion by Frank, a monstrous six-foot rabbit that only Donnie can see who often urges him to perform dangerous and destructive pranks. Late one night, Frank leads Donnie out of his home to inform him that the world will come to an end in less than a month; moments later, the engine of a jet aircraft comes crashing through the ceiling of Donnie's room, making him think there might be something to Frank's prophesies after all. The rest of Donnie's world is only marginally less bizarre, as he finds himself dealing with his confused parents (Mary McDonnell and Holmes Osborne), his college-age sister (Maggie Gyllenhaal), his perplexed analyst (Katherine Ross), a rebellious English teacher (Drew Barrymore), a sleazy self-help expert (Patrick Swayze), and the new girl at school who is attracted by Donnie's quirks (Jena Malone). Donnie Darko was the first feature film from writer and director Richard Kelly; Drew Barrymore, who plays teacher Karen Pomeroy, also lent her support to the project as executive producer. A director's cut played in select theaters on a limited basis in the summer of 2004, featuring original music cues and trimmed scenes originally in Kelly's first cut of the film.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Gregory Baird
The superbly twisted psychological thriller Donnie Darko deftly incorporates elements of suburban satire into a compassionately drawn dysfunctional-family portrait, all in the service of a compelling mystery. It begins with a large rabbit who announces the end of the world to the titular tormented protagonist (Jake Gyllenhaal), a teen struggling with suburban ennui, adolescent angst, and major-league hallucinations as he counts down the 28 days to apocalypse. Donnie's world (Southern California, circa 1988) is a strange one to be sure, unfolding like a psychotic, paranoid delusion in which the demonic rabbit's warnings are somehow connected to a jet engine that falls inexplicably from the sky and demolishes Donnie's bedroom. Gyllenhaal makes Donnie a riveting character, shifting convincingly between tortured confusion and sinister dementia. The supporting cast is equally strong, featuring a superb Mary McDonnell as Donnie's mother, Katharine Ross as his shrink, and Patrick Swayze as a creepy self-help guru. Drew Barrymore also makes an appearance as Donnie’s English teacher. As for the mystery, those who like theirs with a twist won’t be disappointed: Writer-director Richard Kelly, in his feature debut, delivers a denouement that packs the punch of divine revelation. One of the finest-ever first efforts in American independent cinema, Donnie Darko is a disturbing, exhilarating, and profoundly touching film about sacrifice, redemption, and destiny.
All Movie Guide
One of the eeriest and most ambitious American independent films of the early 2000s, Richard Kelly's debut feature is an eclectic amalgam of science fiction, horror story, '80s nostalgia-fest, and teen movie. A child of the '80s, Kelly wears his formative influences on his sleeve: the movie invokes Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis among others, and the soundtrack boasts Echo & the Bunnymen, Joy Division, and Tears for Fears. Unlike films that have trafficked in '80s nostalgia, Kelly's portrait is admirably restrained, mining the period for specific political and personal connotations (as opposed to cheap laughs and pandering irony). Despite being a period piece, the movie succeeds in conveying a sense of imminent doom. Anchored by Jake Gyllenhaal's nuanced performance as the eponymous hero and Steven Poster's tenebrous lighting, the movie is genuinely unsettling. Its denouement, set on a portentous Halloween night, evokes an unraveling world of lost kids and absent parents -- perhaps the closest thing to a definitive statement the movie makes about growing up during the Reagan years. With its intimations of apocalypse and visions of planes falling from the sky, the movie inadvertently gained added resonance in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the U.S. An unabashed popcorn movie at heart, Donnie Darko gets terrific mileage from Kelly's imaginative scenario and evocative direction. For all its splashy special effects and inspired casting, it's the movie's ominous and ultimately elegiac tone that stays with you.
Entertainment Weekly
Excitingly original indie vision. Lisa Schwarzbaum
Village Voice - J. Hoberman
A wondrous, moodily self-involved piece of work that employs X-Files magic realism to galvanize what might have been a routine tale of suburban teen angst.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
20th Century Fox
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
Sony PSP

Special Features

Closed Caption; Audio commentary with writer/director Richard Kelly and actor Jake Gyllenhaal; Deleted/extended scenes with optional director commentary; "Mad World" music video; Theatrical trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jake Gyllenhaal Donnie Darko
Jena Malone Gretchen Ross
Drew Barrymore Karen Pomeroy
James Duval Frank
Maggie Gyllenhaal Elizabeth Darko
Mary McDonnell Rose Darko
Holmes Osborne Eddie Darko
Katharine Ross Dr. Lillian Thurman
Patrick Swayze Jim Cunningham
Noah Wyle Dr. Monnitoff
Arthur Taxier Dr. Fisher
Stuart Stone Ronald Fisher

Technical Credits
Richard Kelly Director
Michael Andrews Score Composer
Drew Barrymore Executive Producer
April Ferry Costumes/Costume Designer
Adam Fields Producer
Richard L. Fox Asst. Director
Graham Greene Source Author
Nancy Juvonen Producer
Julia Levine Set Decoration/Design
Hunt Lowry Executive Producer
Coleman Metts Sound/Sound Designer
Joseph Middleton Casting
Michelle Morris Casting
Michael Payne Sound/Sound Designer
Steven Poster Cinematographer
Manish Raval Musical Direction/Supervision
Eric Strand Editor
Tom Wolfe Musical Direction/Supervision


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Donnie Darko 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 131 reviews.
TheAtomicBull More than 1 year ago
This film started out as a little-known Sundance cult hit, and has grown to the point that if you mention 'Donnie Darko,' most people know what you're talking about. A couple of years after the film was originally released (I actually caught it the first time in the middle of the night on HBO) they released a Director's Cut, which was supposedly closer to the original Sundance cut. It may just be that I'm a big fan of the version I originally saw, but I thought that the Director's Cut didn't give you enough room for interpretation - it explained too much. This is such a mysterious and strange movie, and I think it comes off better when you're not quite sure what is happening, and you have to think about it for awhile. In any case, both versions are on the Blu-ray (and they look fantastic in HD!), so you can watch and decide for yourself which cut is better.
Toni240 More than 1 year ago
One of my favs of all time. It's mind boggling, twisted, everything you could want in a movie. Highly reccommend this one.
SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
Haven't seen this in years but having seen it again, the acting, tone, story and especially the soundtrack makes this a really good movie. Also the bunny still creepy. One of my favorites.
InnocenceDiesAbbyDosent More than 1 year ago
amazingly depressing
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best movies of all time as far as I'm concerned. Interesting, haunting, musically and visually stunning. This movie sticks with you and actually makes you think. I absolutely love it!
Gnomadic More than 1 year ago
I first caught this movie at an independent theater in my town and fell in love with it! It is a brilliant psychological thriller full of twists and turns that leaves you a little saddened and yet inspired at the end. I watched this version several years later and though it is better in some aspects, I recommend watching the theatrical version several times and discussing it with others before moving on to this version. The theatrical version leaves more to the imagination and allows you to draw your own conclusions regarding the events leading up to the end of the movie. Great soundtrack as well!
Guest More than 1 year ago
A masterfully done work of art and imagination. This macabre film takes a minimal ammount of special effects (rare in this day and age) and combines it with a beautiful story of love, hallucination, illusion, madness, and psychotropic therapy. The cinematography is simply mesmerizing. I found myself sitting forward with my mouth hanging open and my unblinking eyes glued to the screen in a spellbound ecstasy. You would be a fool to miss this film. I look forward to experiancing Richard Kelly's future work. -judas
Guest More than 1 year ago
i had been told 'donnie darko' was a good and somewhat baffling movie. after i had watched it, i knew why everyone liked it. although, i still cant seem to quite understand the entire time travel concept. this movie has everything! go watch it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutely love this movie! I don't think I ever would've heard of it if it wasn't for the preveiw for it on Joy Ride (another good movie). I am SO glad I did! The plot is just so captivating, it holds your attention and never lets you rest til the climactic and somewhat confusing ending. I definitely need to congratulate Richard Kelly on his first film, truly the most original and spell-bounding film I've seen in a long time! Jake Gyllenhaal is an excelent actor and was a great choice for the part of the emotionally troubled teenager, Donnie Darko. The most twisted addition to the plot I think, was Frank. Frank is a six foot tall demonic imaginary bunny rabbit that leads Donnie out of his house in the middle of the night. Frank leads Donnie farther and farther away from his home with each encounter. The demonic rabbit has his own schedule to keep and needs to ''help'' Donnie on his way towards learning how to build a time machine to try and save the human race. Frank is so creepy looking! I definitely recommend this movie to anyone looking for a freaky and interesting rollercoaster ride. You'll like it, I guarantee you'll like it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is great. Its so dark and complexing...but yet its so vivid and life-like. I dont understand why this film went straight to DVD/Cassette...Jake Gyllenhaal is mesmerizing as a troubled youth with pyscological problems. When I first heard about this film...with the rabbit that he can only see...I was like, ''whoa! Another Harvey!...but I was mistaken...If you havent seen this movie I recommend that you buy it...no need to rent first...believe me its that good.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have to admit that Donnie Darko i sone of the best movies i have seen in a long time. And omg, that bunny scared me to death. As you watch the film, you cant help but feel confused, but at the same time u are in awe of the writer/ directors vision. Its definetly one of those movies that u need to see a couple times, cause there is no way u can pick up everything on the first viewing. You will be thinking about it a week later, trust me.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Donnie Darko is without a doubt my favorite film that I have current knowledge of. It was directed by Richard Kelly in 2001, and has to be his best piece of work yet!! The main character is Donnie Darko himself, a troubled teen attending Middlesex High School. He is tormented by delusionary hullucinations of a horrifying demonic rabbit that brings and shares visions of the past and deadly predictions for the future. The film features an all-star cast of actors and each one puts forth their best effort and succeed wonderfully!! This movie can appear extremely out of whack to the casual observer, and despite some of the negative humor seen or heard sometimes between the characters, it is not a film to be taken lightly. It is a dark and mind-blowing masterpiece and has a cult fan following. The plot is a very unique and complex one, ranging from Donnie's daily life to the world ending and time travel. The vast array of different content in this movie will keep you mesmerized and on the edge of your seat. Some of the smallest details play some of the biggest roles in the movie. Many events foreshadow things to come and can really catch you off gaurd. The ending is a true turn-around surprise. I strongly urge any reader of this review to go and get this movie and see it as soon as possible!! It is highly recommended by myself to view this movie multiple times to make any great deal of sense with this movie. You must pay close attention to every detail to fully appreciate Kelly's work. Every delusional scene is beautifully done and really are eerie and breathholding. However, despite all these great aspects, it is rated R, so young ones are better off sustaining from viewing this film.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wow, it's really hard to say what this movie was quite about. The thing is, I really didn't care! The storyline was so deep that it left my brain boggled. An awesome movie for anyone who likes figuring out the secret meaning behind certain movies.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is one that makes you think about it days after you've seen it. I highly suggest it, it is well filmed and the acting ain't bad either. Plus, Jake Gyllenhaal is hot!
Guest More than 1 year ago
it goes with the whole concept of if you can't convince 'em, confuse 'em. which is great. loved the movie, it's creepy, twisted, but also funny at the same time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this movie makes u think so u are always into it
Guest More than 1 year ago
Unbeleivably genius film. Actor Jake Gyllenhaal deleivers wonderfully. Should have been nomanated for an oscar. Should have won! Brillant and obsessivly wonderful film. Great Acting by Jake.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Richard Kelly creates a dark, moody, and strangly touching film, that sores past the shallowness of most big hollywood films today. He paints a very cynical picture of late 80's life with a disturbed teen coping with toughts just outside his comprehension. Jake Gyllenhaal plays the perfect teen who is painfully awar of his sadness, hoplessnes, and untimley fate. This film is the perfect metaphore about the 80's post disco trash casualties, and how knowing ones fate may be the very thing that sets you free.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wow. I turned of the television after my frist viewing of Donnie Darko wondering how boring reality was going to seem until the next time I could watch it. A twisted, sinister, and ulitmately heartfelt and thought-provoking journey down the alleys of suburban life, hypocrisy, demtia, time travel....well, I could go on but it would give too much away. This is one film you can't tell folks about except to say ''By all means, WATCH THIS FILM''