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Donnie Darko (2001)

A troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a man in a large rabbit suit who manipulates him to commit a series of crimes, after he narrowly escapes a bizarre accident.

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480 ( 30)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Arthur Taxier ...
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Mark Hoffman ...
Police Officer
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Bob Garland
Tom Tangen ...
Man in Red Jogging Suit
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Storyline

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. Written by J. Spurlin

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Life is one long insane trip. Some people just have better directions. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Sci-Fi | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, some drug use and violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

26 October 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Donnie Darko: The Director's Cut  »

Filming Locations:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Despite persistent rumors, Richard Kelly insists that none of the characters in this film are based upon USC teachers or students. See more »

Goofs

During the Life Line activity in Mrs. Farmer's class, Cherita answers her question card by placing an "X" on the chalkboard. When Donnie is called next the "X" that Cherita placed on the board is barely visible, like it had been half-erased. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Elizabeth: I'm voting for Dukakis.
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Crazy Credits

"Proud to Be Loud" Performed by The Dead Green Mummies -- this song is actually performed by the band Pantera. (The Dead Green Mummies do not exist.) Pantera has all but disowned their first four albums, this song is track 5 on the fourth of those albums, "Power Metal." The band presumably did not want to be credited with the song (as they don't consider any of their pre-1990 material part of their discography) and made up the name The Dead Green Mummies. See more »


Soundtracks

Voices Carry
(uncredited)
Lyrics by Aimee Mann
Music by Til Tuesday
Performed by Til Tuesday
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Captivating but ultimately frustrating
22 December 2014 | by See all my reviews

Putting together a jigsaw puzzle can be fun. And make no mistake, Donnie Darko is a puzzle of a film which asks the viewer to put the pieces together. But in the end there is frustration as you realize you were never going to be able to put it all together. There are pieces missing. So while the film, which is certainly captivating and thought-provoking, is often fascinating it ultimately is setting you up for a bit of disappointment. It's nice to have a film which makes you think, which makes you work to understand it. It's also fine to have a film which is open to interpretation. But if in the end you don't have all the information necessary to make a reasonable interpretation that is a problem. And that is the case here. What just happened here? Hard to say. The untidy ending doesn't completely ruin the film, this is still a film well worth seeing. But there's no denying that the ending is a bit of a letdown.

So who is Donnie Darko? He's a high school kid, a really smart guy. But he's got issues. Paranoid schizophrenia maybe, at least that's what his therapist thinks. He suffers from hallucinations, he sees things. And right now he's seeing a giant bunny rabbit named Frank. One night a jet engine crashes into Donnie's bedroom. But Donnie's not there because Frank has summoned him to a golf course where he tells Donnie that the world is going to end in 28 days. What is Donnie meant to do with this information? Is this schizophrenic teen supposed to somehow save the world? Oh by the way, that jet engine? The one that would have killed Donnie had a giant bunny rabbit not summoned him to a golf course in the middle of the night? Nobody knows where that engine came from. No airplane lost an engine. Well that's weird. Things are only going to get weirder but then again you probably already guessed that since the plot revolves around a giant bunny rabbit.

So the clock ticks down toward the bunny-prophesied doomsday. Among other events Donnie gets himself a girlfriend, rebels against life lessons taught by a ludicrous self-help guru and discusses time travel with one of his teachers. Time travel? Is that what this film is actually about? Who knows. The film never comes close to fully explaining itself. But the film certainly holds your attention. You can't help but be intrigued. You expect that all the weirdness will ultimately pay itself off with some sort of brilliant finish. Sadly that is not the case. The ending, while admittedly powerful, only adds to the confusion. There is a director's cut which makes things a little clearer but in the original version you're left to figure everything out for yourself. And you don't have near enough information to be able to do that. Donnie Darko is a very compelling film. And it is performed wonderfully. Jake Gyllenhaal hits all the right notes in his portrayal of Donnie, a character who is just as confused as we are. And the supporting cast is by and large excellent as well. Whether it be big stars like Drew Barrymore and Patrick Swayze, or lesser-known performers who you've never heard of, everyone fits their role very well, contributing their solid piece to the puzzle. But that puzzle never does fully come together. And that ultimately makes Donnie Darko a somewhat frustrating film. There's so much good stuff here to recommend it. But there's also that little tinge of regret, a wish that perhaps the giant bunny rabbit could have told Donnie, and us, what the heck was going on.


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