Donnie Darko (2001)

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Donnie Darko is a 2001 American dark fantasy film written and directed by Richard Kelly. The film depicts the adventures of the title character as he seeks the meaning and significance behind his troubling Doomsday-related visions.

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Buy: Amazon.com

On April 18, 2017, Arrow Video are releasing the film as a limited edition 4-disc 4K Blu-ray + DVD combo with the following features:

  • Brand new 4K restorations of both the Theatrical Cut and the Director’s Cut from the original camera negatives produced by Arrow Films exclusively for this release, supervised and approved by director Richard Kelly and cinematographer Steven Poster
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations of both cuts
  • Original 5.1 audio (DTS-HD on the Blu-ray)
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Audio commentary by writer-director Richard Kelly and actor Jake Gyllenhaal on the Theatrical Cut
  • Audio commentary by Kelly, producer Sean McKittrick and actors Drew Barrymore, Jena Malone, Beth Grant, Mary McDonnell, Holmes Osborne, Katharine Ross and James Duval on the Theatrical Cut
  • Audio commentary by Kelly and filmmaker Kevin Smith on the Director’s Cut
  • Deus ex Machina: The Philosophy of Donnie Darko, a brand-new documentary by Ballyhoo Motion Pictures on the making of Donnie Darko, containing interviews with writer-director Richard Kelly, producer Sean McKittrick, director of photography Steven Poster, editor Sam Bauer, composer Michael Edwards, costume designer April Ferry, actor James Duval and critic Rob Galluzzo
  • The Goodbye Place, Kelly’s 1996 short film, which anticipates some of the themes and ideas of his feature films
  • The Donnie Darko Production Diary, an archival documentary charting the film’s production with optional commentary by cinematographer Steven Poster
  • Twenty deleted and alternate scenes with optional commentary by Kelly
  • Archive interviews with Kelly, actors Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Drew Barrymore, James Duval, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Holmes Osborne, Noah Wyle and Katharine Ross, producers Sean McKittrick, Nancy Juvonen, Hunt Lowry and Casey La Scala, and cinematographer Steven Poster
  • Three archive featurettes: They Made Me Do It, They Made Me Do It Too and #1 Fan: A Darkomentary
  • Storyboard comparisons
  • B-roll footage
  • Cunning Visions infomercials
  • Music video: Mad World by Gary Jules
  • Galleries
  • Trailers
  • TV spots
  • Exclusive collector’s book containing new writing by Nathan Rabin, Anton Bitel and Jamie Graham, an in-depth interview with Richard Kelly, introduction by Jake Gyllenhaal and contemporary coverage, illustrated with original stills and promotional materials
  • Limited edition packaging featuring new artwork by Candice Tripp

This combo was released in the UK on 12 December 2016 but is now sold out and only available from resellers.

Main cast:

Jake Gyllenhaal, Drew Barrymore (Scream), Patrick Swayze, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Noah Wyle, Jena Malone, and Mary McDonnell.

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Budgeted with $4.5 million and filmed over the course of 28 days, it initially grossed just under $7.7 million world-wide. The limited U.S. release of the film occurred during the month after the September 11 attacks. It was subsequently held back for almost a year for international release. Since then, the film has developed a large cult following, resulting in the release of a 20 minutes longer director’s cut.

A 2009 sequel, S. Darko, centers on Sam (Daveigh Chase), Donnie’s younger sister. Sam begins to have strange dreams that hint at a major catastrophe.

Plot:

On October 2, 1988, Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal), a troubled teenager is awakened and led outside by a figure in a monstrous rabbit costume, who introduces himself as “Frank” and tells him the world will end at a specific time in 28 days. At dawn, Donnie returns home to find a jet engine has crashed into his bedroom. His older sister, Elizabeth (Maggie Gyllenhaal), informs him the FAA investigators do not know where it came from.

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Donnie tells his psychotherapist, Dr. Thurman (Katharine Ross), about his continuing visits from Frank. Acting under Frank’s influence, he floods his school by damaging a water main. He also begins dating new student Gretchen Ross (Jena Malone), who has moved to town with her mother under a new identity to escape her violent stepfather.

Gym teacher Kitty Farmer (Beth Grant) blames the flooding on the influence of the short story “The Destructors”, assigned by dedicated English teacher Karen Pomeroy (Drew Barrymore), and begins teaching attitude lessons taken from motivational speaker Jim Cunningham (Patrick Swayze). Donnie asks his science teacher, Dr. Kenneth Monnitoff (Noah Wyle), about time travel after Frank brings up the topic, and is given the book The Philosophy of Time Travel, written by Roberta Sparrow (Patience Cleveland), a former science teacher at the school who is now a seemingly senile old woman.

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Dr. Thurman tells Donnie’s parents that he is detached from reality, and that his visions of Frank are “daylight hallucinations”, symptomatic of paranoid schizophrenia. Donnie disrupts a speech being given by Jim Cunningham by insulting him in front of the student body, then burns down Cunningham’s house on instructions from Frank.

When police find evidence of a child abuse operation in the house’s remains, Cunningham is arrested. During a hypnotherapy session, Donnie confesses his crimes and says that Frank will soon kill someone…

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Buy: Amazon.co.uk

Reviews:

“… the drowsy surrealism and elaborate inconclusiveness of Donnie Darko will simultaneously guarantee it a rabid cult and put it way off limits to the don’t-get-its. It shares with David Lynch’s Eraserhead a stubbornly-what-it-is unhipness that ensures inadvertent, and possibly perennial, hipness … But the flaws, if you find them to be so, are merely grit in the texture.” Rob Gonsalves, eFilmCritic.com

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“I guess what bothered me the most is the utter “importance” that was placed on every insight revealed along the way. As if the filmmaker were bashing you over the head to say, “You better pay attention because parts of this film are really, really deep and meaningful.” Well, for some, maybe, but not for me.” Chris Gore, Film Threat

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“Donnie does not want to be terrified of his demons any more, delusional or otherwise, and doesn’t want them to poison the lives of everyone around him either. Donnie Darko isn’t perfect, either as horror film or psychological study. But what a refreshingly different, distinctive piece of work it is.” Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

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Buy: Amazon.com

Wikipedia | IMDb | Official website

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Categories: 2000s, psychological horror, surrealist

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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