Donnie Darko

Donnie Darko

4.8 131
Director: Richard Kelly

Cast: 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:

Special Features

Closed Caption; Disc 1 - Blu-ray: ; Audio commentary with writer/director Richard Kelly and director Kevin Smith (director's cu); Audio commentary with cast and crew (original theatrical version); Commentary with writer/director Richard Kelly and actor Jake Gyllenhaal (original theatrical version); Disc 2 - DVD: ; Production diary with optional commentary by director of photograhy Steven Poster; They Made Me Do It Too - The Cult of Donnie Darko featurette ; #1 Fan: A Darkomentary ; Storyboard-to-screen featurette ; Direcor's cut theatrical trailer ; Disc 3 - DVD:; Director and actors commentary ; Deleted/extended scenes with optional director commentary ; "Cunning Visions" infomercials ; The Philosophy of Time Travel Book ; Website gallery ; "Mad World" music video ; Art gallery & production stills; Cast & crew info ; Theatrical trailer & tv spots

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

Scene Index

Disc #2 -- Donnie Darko
1. Carpathian Ridge [4:15]
2. Family Dinner [4:05]
3. The Tangent Universe [6:59]
4. Head Over Heals [6:14]
5. Roberta Sparrow [2:19]
6. Cunning Visions [2:11]
7. They Made Me Do It [8:06]
8. Smurfs [2:28]
9. Emergency PTA Meeting [3:16]
10. Lifetime Exercises [4:50]
11. The Philosophy of Time Travel [5:11]
12. Liquid Spear Waltz [3:11]
13. Fourth Dimensional Construct [3:27]
14. Attitudinal Baliefs [4:46]
15. Physical Analysis [4:44]
16. Halloween Frightmare [3:45]
17. Autumn Angel Vs. Sparkle Motion [5:08]
18. A Vast Conspiracy [1:50]
19. Star Search '88 [3:57]
20. Cellar Door [1:43]
21. Confession [3:09]
22. Halloween Carnival [3:57]
23. Under the Milky Way [2:10]
24. Waltz in the Fourth Dimension [:55]
25. Ensurance Trap [4:01]
26. Timestorm [5:41]
27. Mad World [4:27]
28. End Credits [6:11]


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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!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best movies i have ever seen in my life. I was fortunate enough to live next to an Artsy movie theater that plays indipendant movies.I saw this movie 3 times and love it. It is such an amazing movie that i recemond everyone one to buy it!!!! If you have seen the movie Harvey then you will laugh at some of the things that happen.GO BUY THIS MOVIE!!!!!!!!
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
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 has to be one of the most twisted and gripping movies I've ever seen. I was enveloped by the plot, and completely suprised by the ending. I loved this movie so much that I ran out and bought the DVD right after I seen it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I rented Donnie Darko after reading several accounts from the Sundance Film Festival and seeing the trailer on Joy Ride. This is an amazing and fascinating account of the intricacies of mental illness extremely well acted by Jake Gyllenhaal. I intend to buy the DVD even though I don't have a DVD player as yet because I expect there to be even more information on the DVD. I thought Jake Gyllenhaal was great in October Sky but he is very impressive in this role, I look forward to his future movie work as well as future work by Richard Kelly.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've watched a lot of movies but have never seen anything like Donnie Darko. The plot is so original and surreal yet real. Jake Gyllenhaal portrayed the schizophrenic Donnie better than anyone ever could. I've watched it three times already and plan on buying it. It's one of those rare movies that you just can't get out of your head.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Thought-provoking, unusual, bittersweet and darkly humorous, this film exceeded my expectations on every level. Although a list of the themes touched on in the plot -- time travel, paranoid schizophrenia, high school romance, predetermination vs. freewill, hypocrisy, the end of time -- might suggest an incomprehensible mess, somehow everything comes together brilliantly, and nothing seems superfluous in retrospect. Although certainly not for everyone, this film is as well-crafted and intelligent as ones enjoying far more popularity and is worth seeing for anyone looking for something different.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Katharine Ross is the best actress ever and she was the highlight of this movie.
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
This is the kind of work that needs to made as often as possible. Don't let the blockbuster mentality destroy the struggle to tell great stories through innovative use of the cinematic language. Long live experimentation and risk-taking! The possibilities of cinema are infinite. As is every dream.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A friend of mine recommended this movie and, needless to say, I knew nothing about it. And to my utter disbelief, I was completely caught off guard by this film. I watched it last week and still can't get it quite out of my head.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie was the best, nothing compares and its Jake's hottest movie ever.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This film is a slap in the face to reality. It twists the rules of logic as well as movie making. Written in permanent ink it leaves an indelible mark on the viewer.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Donnie Darko kept me on the edge of my seat and actually brought a few tears. Jake Gyllenhaal lites the screen with another remarkable performance. Frank, his ''imaginary'' friend, was a more normal version of my father, so I related very well. I would recomend this movie to any one who wants a movie that they can have fun with.