Donnie Darko (2001) Movie Review

Donnie Darko (2001)

2001 | R | Sci-Fi, Drama, Mystery
113 minutes /

User Score: 70/100


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Donnie Darko Review

Synopsis:

A troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a large bunny rabbit that manipulates him to commit a series of crimes, after narrowly escaping a bizarre accident.

Donnie Darko (2001) is a 1h 53-min American psychological science-fiction horror-thriller film that was shot in several locations in California, USA. Director and writer Richard Kelly (The Box (2009), Domino (2005), Southland Tales (2006)) did an astounding job executing this film and bring us a visual feast. His use of fast motion, reverse motion, slow motion, swooping camera movements, and slick angles with steady pace was ingeniously done well. I could not get over the visual effects long after the movie was finished - it was purely fantastic.

Donnie Darko was a somewhat funny movie with sad emotional moments revolving around Donnie Darko, who has visions of a demonic rabbit telling him to do wrong things so he is seeing a shrink and is on medication but he also sleepwalks, time travels, and fell in love. Donnie Darko is set in 1988 where Donnie is an honest guy going through one hardship after another in life. He is a troubled teenager that lives in suburban Virginia. Donnie (Jake Gyllenhaal - Nightcrawler (2014), Zodiac (2007), Source Code (2011)) was awakened by someone in a rabbit costume, named Frank. Frank (James Duval - Independence Day (1996), Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000), The Doom Generation (1995)) told Donnie that the world would end in a certain amount of days, hours, minutes, and seconds.

Donnie returns home that evening to discover a jet engine crashed into his bedroom, and there is no explanation of how it happened by the FAA investigators. Donnie confides in this psychotherapist, Dr. Thurman about Frank continuously visiting him. Donnie began doing whatever Frank told him to do including flooding his school, dating Gretchen Ross amongst other things. Dr. Thurman told Donnie’s parents that he is hallucinating in the daytime and is detached from reality which is a symptom of paranoid schizophrenia. The movie progresses to being an interesting watch as Donnie sets someone’s house on fire and finally confesses to his therapist that Frank will kill someone soon. What happens next is for you to see.

The pace of the movie was marvelous as well as the smart dialogue, creepy giant Bunny Rabbit named Frank, musical score, and sets. The main characters did a fabulous job with their respective roles, and the director did a phenomenal job giving them a realistic angle. I did not like that the school bullies look as though they were above 25 years old and also did not like that Karen (Drew Barrymore) received so much screen time because Drew Barrymore did not give her best performance in this film. I did not fully understand this movie on the first viewing but the second time around did it for me where I understood it and saw it for what it was with its stunning visuals, layered characters, and emotional storyline.


About Donnie Darko (2001)

Title: Donnie Darko
Original Title: Donnie Darko: The Director's Cut
Year: 2001
Runtime: 113 minutes
Type: Movie
Genre: Sci-Fi, Drama, Mystery
Reviewer:
Score: 4.5 / 5 stars
Published:
Avg. Rating: 3.5/5 stars from 10 users.
Total Avg. Votes: 10
MPAA Rating: R
Starring: Drew Barrymore, Jena Malone, Seth Rogen, Jake Gyllenhaal, Beth Grant, Daveigh Chase, James Duval, David St. James, Ashley Tisdale, Fran Kranz, Lisa K. Wyatt, Phil Hawn, Holmes Osborne, Tom Tangen, Patience Cleveland, Patrick Swayze, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Mary McDonnell, Stuart Stone, Dee Austin Robertson, Marina Malota, Jack Truman, Carly Naples, Phyllis Lyons, Tiler Peck, Katharine Ross, Rachel Winfree, Jack Salvatore Jr., David Moreland, Lee Weaver
Writers: Richard Kelly
Director: Richard Kelly

Donnie Darko Cover Poster Art

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