Donnie Darko on DVD
Every now and then, there's a movie that just makes you go: "Huh??"
The latest is Donnie Darko, a psychological thriller from newcomer director
Darko is about a young man, Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal), who sees
visions of a demonic rabbit with predictions for the future. The rabbit
visits him now and then, and sometimes tells him to do things like burn
houses or flood schools. Not exactly the kind of rabbit you'd want your
children hanging out with.
Donnie is a troubled teenager, making frequent visits to a shrink, and
taking various forms of medication. Nothing seems to work though, since
his bunny visions keep going, telling him exactly when the world will
The problem with the movie is that not only is it hard to follow, but
the end result isn't nearly as satisfying as you hope for. Something this
dark and twisted should have a great twist ending, but it turns out to
be pretty bland.
The film does, however, have a fairly talented cast to back it up. Gyllenhaal
is excellent in the lead role, effectively displaying the fact that he's
a very troubled young man, but one who also has a decent, human side to
him. Jena Malone plays his girlfriend, Drew Barrymore and Noah Wyle play
teachers, and Patrick Swayze (remember him?) plays (very well, I must
add) a motivational speaker.
I'm not sure exactly what kind of person Donnie Darko would appeal to.
Writer/director Richard Kelly has the potential to be a great talent,
but he tried too hard to be creative this time around.
I'd like to say Donnie Darko is a great movie, but while it's well made,
it's just way too weird to be truly enjoyable.
Considering it was practically non-existent at the box office, the DVD
is pretty good. The picture quality (2.35:1 anamorphic) is a bit grainy,
but a lot of the film is dark enough that you don't notice it as much.
The sound, which comes in a Dolby Digital 5.1 track, is decent. Other
than the explosion (you'll know what I mean when you see the movie) and
a few other sound effects, the sound is mostly restricted to the front
speakers. When the surrounds are used, however, they're used very well.
Extras include two very entertaining commentaries. The first is by Richard
Kelly and Jake Gyllenhaal, and the two make for a very good listen. I
enjoyed Gyllenhaal in his commentary for Bubble Boy, and he entertains
me again. The second commentary is by Richard Kelly and many of the cast
and crew. This one is not quite as good (probably because there are so
many people), but still pretty good.
Next are 20 deleted/extended scenes with optional commentary. Many of
them are pretty good, and should have been left in the movie, but what
can you do? There is a "Cunning Visions" infomercial, "The Philosophy
of Time Travel" book, a "Mad World" music video, and the trailer.
Donnie Darko, from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
113 minutes, anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) 16X9 enhanced, 5.1 Dolby Digital
Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Drew Barrymore, Mary McDonnell,
Patrick Swayze and Noah Wyle
Produced by Sean McKittrick, Nancy Juvonen, Adam Fields
Written and Produced by Richard Kelly
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