Donnie Darko (2001)


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15  113 min  –  Drama | Mystery | Sci-Fi   –  25 October 2002 (UK)


Richard Kelly


Richard Kelly


Jake Gyllenhaal; Jena Malone; Mary McDonnell


Donnie Darko is awoken one night by a rabbit called ‘Frank’ who forewarns him that the world is going to end. Donnie must find a way to prevent this apocalyptic occurence from happening…


Donnie Darko is easily one of the most bizarre films I have ever had the pleasure of viewing. So surreal in fact that it is very hard to some-up, let alone review. My mind feels mashed up and if anything ‘distorted’ after watching it.

Well, where do I start? It’s about a young teenage boy called ‘Donnie Darko’. One night, he experiences a vision from a rabbit (called ‘Frank’), as you do.

By chance, he has the vision outside just as the engine of a plane falls mysteriously from the sky and lands in Donnie’s room, as you do.

If Donnie wasn’t outside, he’d by dead. Coincidence? God knows, like I said: the film offers no easy answers. The rabbit he sees tells him that in a few days the end of the world will happen. This provides the film with its uniqueness in its narrative, as it provides the film with a sort of ‘countdown structure’. Countdown to the end of the world that is, obviously.

This film is a surreal pile of ideas: what does Frank, the rabbit mean? Does he even mean anything? If he does, does he represent something? Why would you call a rabbit ‘Frank’? What does the love and fear chart represent?  By the amount of questions posed, this film is one that challenges its audience, and it will take more than one viewing to ‘understand’. In fact, I don’t even think you can understand this film. It’s too ambiguous and too random. The film folds on itself repeatedly and has various hairpin turns so much so that you literally cannot ‘guess till the end’. Guessing would be pointless as the film is so mad that you just have to watch it rather than attempt to work out what will happen next when you’re half way through viewing.


An intriguingly original film from the outset, Donnie Darko is a film that will punch all of the senses out of you with its hyper-crazy plot and look. Bizarre from the beginning, and by the end: heart breaking.


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