Donnie Darko (2001) Movie Review

Donnie Darko (2001) Poster

Donnie Darko (2001)

2001 | R | Thriller, Drama, Sci-Fi, Mystery
113 minutes / 1h 53min

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Donnie Darko Plot Synopsis:

Donnie Darko doesn't get along too well with his family, his teachers, and his classmates; but he does manage to find a sympathetic friend in Gretchen, who agrees to date him. He has a compassionate psychiatrist, who discovers hypnosis is the means to unlock hidden secrets. His other companion may not be a true ally. Donnie has a friend named Frank, a large bunny which only Donnie can see. When an engine falls off a plane and destroys his bedroom, Donnie is not there. Both the event, and Donnie's escape, seem to have been caused by supernatural events. Donnie's mental illness, if such it is, may never allow him to find out for sure.

Donnie Darko (2001) Review

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.

  • Donnie Darko Rating Scores
  • Our Score: 9
  • Overall Score: 8.68
  • IMDB: 8.1
  • MetaCritic: 8.8
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 8.6

About Donnie Darko 2001

Title: Donnie Darko
Year: 2001
Runtime: 113 minutes
Type: Movie
Genre: Thriller, Drama, Sci-Fi, Mystery
Score: 4.5 / 5 stars
Avg. Rating: 4.34/5 stars from 678,687 users.
Total Avg. Votes: 678,687
MPAA Rating: R
Donnie Darko Cast Starring: Drew Barrymore, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Seth Rogen, Fran Kranz, Daveigh Chase, James Duval, David St. James, Beth Grant, Lisa K. Wyatt, Mary McDonnell, Ashley Tisdale, Christie McNew, Patrick Swayze, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Holmes Osborne, Stuart Stone, Tom Tangen, Patience Cleveland, Marina Malota Darling, Rachel Winfree, Jack Salvatore Jr., David Moreland, Lee Weaver, Arthur Taxier, Alison Jones, Jerry Trainor, Mark Hoffman, Joan Blair, Jazzie Mahannah
Donnie Darko Writers: NA
Donnie Darko Director: Richard Kelly
Production: Newmarket Film Group
Language: English
Country: USA