Blu-ray Review Donnie Darko
Directed by: Richard Kelly Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Drew Barrymore Running Time: 1 hr 55 mins (theatrical cut)/ 2 hours 15 mins (director's cut) Rating: R Due Out: July 26, 2011
PLOT: The film follows a strange young man (Gyllenhaal) who begins having troubling visions of the future, as told to him by a giant rabbit.
WHO'S IT FOR? Fans of Gyllenhaal will enjoy another look at the fresh-faced actor in one of his earlier roles, but this is also a must-see for fans of cult classics that deal with the extremely weird and slightly frightening.
It seems like not so long ago, I was sneaking into Donnie Darko in one of the few showings it had at the small, independent movie theater in my hometown. The fact is, considering I'm reviewing the 10th anniversary edition and I no longer get carded to get into R-rated movies, it's pretty clear that some time has passed.
The good news? Donnie Darko hides its age remarkably well. This is largely in part due to a stunning transfer to Blu-ray, but its certainly not the visual alone that sells Donnie Darko. Don't get me wrong, the imagery is, at times, enchanting but Donnie Darko never feels the need to remind you of that. It complements the story, but never seems to pull focus.
After all, the real star of Donnie Darko is the story itself. Absurdest and delightfully weird, the story takes a number of twists and turns, without ever really missing the core of the film. See, Donnie Darko is a particularly impressive movie for a number of reasons, most notably is its sense of self. Given that the film has aspects of the horror genre, science fiction, and the coming-of-age story, it manages to stitch together a patchwork quilt of genres, but never seems to privilege one or the other. Even in scenes where Donnie is haunted by visions of Frank, Kelly manages to channel some vulnerability and angst from his actors, which seems so organic in the situation despite the situation being one that not many (if any) people ever find themselves in.
The film, when it first came out became a bit of a sleeper hit. Since its original release, it has seen a number of different releases and one of the things that is most impressive is that the Donnie Darko 10th anniversary edition blu ray seems to have compiled them all. It's very clear that this movie itself, as well as the production of this stunning 10th anniversary edition, is a labor of love. Fans of Donnie Darko and film buffs will certainly have a good time with this set, just as much as the movie.
MOVIE SCORE: 8/10
EXTRAS Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Richard Kelly and Director Kevin Smith (Director's Cut) Audio Commentary with cast and Crew (Original Theaterical version) Commentary with Writer/Director Richard Kelly and Actor Jake Gyllenhaal (Original Theatrical version) Production Diary with Optional Commentary by Director of Photography Steven Poster They made Me Do It- The Cult of Donnie Darko Featurette #1 Fan: A Darkomentary Storyboard-to-screen Featurette Director's Cut Theatrical Trailer Director and Actors Commentary Deleter/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 Digital Copy of Director's Cut