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Donnie Darko Reviews

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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This set-up and development is fascinating, the payoff less so.

Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Original Score: 2.5/4

October 26, 2001
Todd Gilchrist

The original was a movie for all those castaways who believe in unexplained phenomenon; the new version reads like a handbook on how to pick up women.

Full Review Source:

July 26, 2004
Eric D. Snider

A mish-mash of disparate, non-cohesive ideas, the sort of film that thinks it's brilliant just because no one understands it.

Full Review Source: | Original Score: C-

February 13, 2001
Todd McCarthy
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Donnie Darko has plenty of problems. But most stem from a young filmmaker overswinging on his first time up to the plate and hitting a deep fly out rather than a home run.

Full Review Source: Variety

June 8, 2007
Staci Layne Wilson
Fantastica Daily

Although it claims to be very original, much of Donnie Darko is derivative.

Full Review Source: Fantastica Daily

October 26, 2001
Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Just another self-absorbed teen chronicle, with the added twist of a little time travel and a surprise ending.

Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune | Original Score: 1.5/4

October 25, 2001
Elvis Mitchell
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Kelly is unable to give the movie the kind of pacing that would make us laugh and shock us simultaneously, because he's too infatuated with an aura of hand-me-down gloom.

Full Review Source: New York Times | Original Score: 2/5

October 25, 2001
Derek Smith
Apollo Guide

Donnie Darko promises a feast, but when the film ends, you are left only with the scraps.

Full Review Source: Apollo Guide | Original Score: 68/100

June 15, 2002
Jaime N. Christley
Apollo Guide

A made-to-order cult item.

Full Review Source: Apollo Guide | Original Score: 60/100

November 29, 2001
Rod Armstrong

There is just too much going on in Donnie Darko.

| Original Score: 2.5/4

October 26, 2001
Bob Graham
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If this movie ever figured out what it wanted to be when it grows up, it would be a terrific one.

Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle | Original Score: 2/4

October 26, 2001
Melanie McFarland
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

First-time director-writer Richard Kelly draws on a number of intriguing elements ... without including a single, crucial gem that pulls everything together.

Full Review Source: Seattle Times

October 26, 2001
Joe Leydon
San Francisco Examiner

The movie remains a discombobulating muddle, largely because Kelly is unable or unwilling to resolve the myriad contradictions and confusions that muddy the waters.

October 29, 2001
Loren King
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Shows plenty of promise, but it's somewhat self-involved and won't appeal to audiences who like a straightforward -- even if fantastical -- narrative.

Full Review Source: Boston Globe | Original Score: 3.5/4

January 25, 2002
Chris Gore
Film Threat

You either love it or hate it. For those who loved it, I have only one word: overrated.c

Full Review Source: Film Threat | Original Score: 2/5

December 6, 2005

E! Online

After nearly two hours of the titular troubled teen asking borderline supernatural questions that are never quite answered, all we get is a head-scratching ending that's more frustrating than intriguing.

Full Review Source: E! Online

October 26, 2001
Annlee Ellingson
Boxoffice Magazine

It's ultimately Kelly's inventive storytelling and the myriad of complex themes he explores that capture one's imagination and, in this reviewer's case, re-ignite one's passion for the medium.

Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine

October 24, 2001
James Berardinelli
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Despite its flaws, this is a compelling motion picture, and offers the kind of 'fresh' experience extended by the likes of Pi and The Sticky Fingers of Time.

Full Review Source: ReelViews | Original Score: 3/4

October 23, 2001
Larry Carroll

It's like nothing you've ever seen before, and it sets a great tone that takes you places you've never been before.

Full Review Source: | Original Score: A

April 16, 2002
Moira Sullivan
Movie Magazine International

The directors cut of Donnie Darko by Richard Kelly was screened at the Venice Film Festivals a couple of years ago, a film I missed for sure when it was released in 2001 and one of those pearls like Blade Runner that just is haunting screening after scree

Full Review Source: Movie Magazine International | Original Score: A

July 22, 2007
Jennie Kermode
Movie Gurus
November 9, 2011

Sight and Sound
June 18, 2012
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