Donnie Darko

January 30th, 2002

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Donnie Darko

Richard Kelly in Donnie DarkoDonnie DarkoDonnie DarkoStill of Jake Gyllenhaal in Donnie DarkoStill of Jake Gyllenhaal and Jena Malone in Donnie DarkoStill of Patrick Swayze in Donnie Darko

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.

Release Year: 2001

Rating: 8.2/10 (284,871 voted)

Critic's Score: 71/100

Director: Richard Kelly

Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Mary McDonnell

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.

Jake Gyllenhaal - Donnie Darko
Holmes Osborne - Eddie Darko
Maggie Gyllenhaal - Elizabeth Darko
Daveigh Chase - Samantha Darko
Mary McDonnell - Rose Darko
James Duval - Frank
Arthur Taxier - Dr. Fisher
Patrick Swayze - Jim Cunningham
Mark Hoffman - Police Officer
David St. James - Bob Garland
Tom Tangen - Man in Red Jogging Suit
Jazzie Mahannah - Joanie James
Jolene Purdy - Cherita Chen
Stuart Stone - Ronald Fisher
Gary Lundy - Sean Smith

Taglines: What would you do if you knew the future?


Official Website: Official site |

Release Date: 30 January 2002

Filming Locations: Los Angeles, California, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $4,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $110,494 (USA) (28 October 2001) (58 Screens)

Gross: $727,883 (USA) (3 October 2004)

Technical Specs

Runtime:  | (director's cut)

Did You Know?

The words "Cellar Door" are written on the chalkboard in Karen Pommeroy's classroom. When Donnie asks about their meaning, she replies that "This famous linguist once said that of all the phrases in the English language, of all the endless combinations of words in all of history, that Cellar Door is the most beautiful." In the director's commentary Richard Kelly mistakenly attributes the phrase to Edgar Allan Poe, but it was actually J.R.R. Tolkien who, in his 1955 essay "English and Welsh", said that "Most English-speaking people . . . will admit that cellar door is 'beautiful', especially if dissociated from its sense (and from its spelling). More beautiful than, say, sky, and far more beautiful than beautiful."

Continuity: When Donnie's science teacher begins talking about Roberta Sparrow's book, Donnie puts the Slinky around his neck. The camera cuts to Donnie taking the book and cuts directly back to a rear angle of Donnie to show the Slinky still taut around his neck, which it would not be if he had released his grip on one end of it.

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

User Review

A thought provoking masterpiece

Rating: 10/10

Donnie Darko is a type of movie that provides any viewer a type of material that promotes hard thinking and even harder re-thinking. After the film ends, it's almost impossible to keep yourself from thinking of all the possible way to interpret such a film. It's not quite surreal or full of quirky nonsense, it's more like a set of events, which seem to make sense on one level, no sense on another level, and finally perfect sense on another level. The movie acts as an illusion to what's really going on, its almost pleasantly distracting.

Our main character, Donnie Darko, is a boy suffering from sleep walking, and now what appears to be delusions. He manages to avoid a certain death with the aid of a man in a bunny suit. This twisted bunny also informs Donnie that the world will come to an end within the month. This sparked curiosity and dread in Donnie, who also has every other aspect of a teenager's life to worry about. The film proceeds with the feel of a teen flick, the style of a horror, and a plot suited for a fantasy.

The end of the movie is the part which will make you want to watch it again. You'll think you've discovered what's really going on after the first time, prove yourself wrong on the second time, and will sit and watch every possible detail the third time. Richard Kelly has created an instant cult classic, and perhaps something more than that. Extremely well written with believable characters speaking believable dialogue.

I'll be the first to admit, this film is not for everyone. People will either love it, or despise it with all their heart. I thoroughly enjoyed this film and would recommend it to anyone who has a taste for dark humor and a desire to put the pieces of the puzzle together over and over, long after the film has ended. 10/10

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