Donnie Darko

Film, Drama
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 out of 5 stars
(4user reviews)
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Donnie Darko

So much more than just David Lynch for angsty teens, Richard Kelly's emotionally resonant drama returns to cinemas

A welcome fifteenth anniversary reissue for Richard Kelly’s intelligent, enchanting slice of ’80s-throwback Lynchian emo-angst. Jake Gyllenhaal is all glowering gothic intensity as Donnie, the wayward son of a well-to-do middle-American family who begins to suspect that his hallucinations of a giant rabbit are in fact transmissions from an apocalyptic future.

It’s the jukebox soundtrack and crisp, inventive photography you remember, but what’s perhaps most remarkable about ‘Donnie Darko’ a decade-and-a-half on is how Kelly manages to take a bleak story of adolescent mental illness and make it funny, resonant and entertaining – without ever sacrificing integrity. Donnie is a complex, charming hero, and his romance with Jena Malone’s equally troubled Gretchen is the heart of the film. But there’s a pleasing sense that Kelly gives equal value to all the lives that circle around Donnie’s: from Patrick Swayze’s disturbed self-help guru to Drew Barrymore’s earnest English teacher, not to mention Donnie’s loving, conflicted family. Any of these characters could be the focus of their own story.

Kelly’s tendency to ramble off into half-formed ideas about wormholes and quantum theory may feel a tad adolescent in retrospect, but otherwise this has held up remarkably well.

By: Tom Huddleston

Posted:

Release details

Rated: 15
Release date: Friday December 23 2016
Duration: 113 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Richard Kelly
Screenwriter: Richard Kelly
Cast: Noah Wyle
Katharine Ross
Drew Barrymore
Jake Gyllenhaal
Patrick Swayze
Mary McDonnell
James Duval
Holmes Osborne
Jena Malone

Average User Rating

5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:4
  • 4 star:0
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  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|4
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Adam N

Watching this film will put you in a hypnotic, dream like state. It's completely surreal, filled with great concepts (love what I'm going to call the 'future tubes') and will properly screw with your head. Do NOT watch the sequels.

Thomas F

I'll get straight to the point. Donnie Darko is my favourite movie.

For several reasons.

The usual suspects first: amazing and diverse acting, beautiful pictures and camera work, a clear sense that a massive amount of work has gone into this piece (director Richard Kelly was only 25 when he wrote it; it was the first script he wrote), and that it was created with quality as its prime purpose.

Then there is the plot. You will never have seen something quite like that. It is one big puzzle mixing genres as diverse as drama, horror and science fiction. You will need to watch this movie twice to even get a chance to scratch the surface and realise of beautifully and tightly intertwined all its components are. And you should definitely go over internet content to get familiar with the explanations of the plot anyone would struggle to understand by just watching the movie – there are many dedicated sites and videos on Youtube to that effect.

To get the full depth of the movie, one should watch the directors’ cut version. Deleted scenes are also worth checking out if you get you hand on the disc of the movie.

Magmabulle

The director has created a fascinating atmosphere, full of feeling, that keeps you at the edge of your seat throughout the entire movie. Great acting, fantastic soundtrack - simply a surrealistic masterpiece.

Magmabulle

The director has created a fascinating atmosphere, full of feeling, that keeps you at the edge of your seat throughout the entire movie. Great acting, fantastic soundtrack - simply a surrealistic masterpiece.