Donnie Darko - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Donnie Darko Reviews

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Super Reviewer
May 12, 2007
Incredible movie, completely underrated. Donnie Darko is the most unlikely hero of the small town of Middlesex in this amazing, original film. It may require more than one viewing to understand it. I highly recommend watching the director's cut.
Super Reviewer
½ September 14, 2007
I'm not sure what I'm supposed to come away from Donnie Darko with, I would say that this is a very clever film, or a very clueless one.
( I Think) When it begins everything that follows for the next hundred minutes has happened already. That's one way to look at it. Another way would be to see it as pure surrealism like John Carpenter's In The Mouth of Madness or David Lynch's Mullholland Dr. Such films are conundrums, but the question is whether or not you are capable of watching a movie that leaves you frustrated intentionally. If surrealism is your thing, you will probably have luck with Donnie Darko. It is a good one for a movie goer.
Up until the climax, we are led to believe that this is a film about a young suburban middle- class boy (Donnie) who has schizophrenia and one night envisions a large satanic looking rabbit (the anti-Harvey) to tells him to do some pretty bad things if he wants to survive the end of the world in 28 days, something hours and something seconds.
The people in this film are weird, though not as much so as Mulholland Dr. (In part because the acting here is more toned down, usually) One could argue though that there are too many characters. Some of the screen time that is dedicated to the supporting cast could have gone to Donnies story, which is more important. His conversations with Frank (the rabbit) are intriguing but they are too short and too few.
The climax is one that takes Donnie Darko and turns it inside out. There is no literal resolution to the thriller side of Donnie Darko, only what the viewer chooses to make of it. Is it a great movie? no, but its partial originality and evocative direction are enough to make it worth a watch. 1/2 Star 1-15-2004 (Updated)
Super Reviewer
June 24, 2007
A wickedly smart, savvy supernatural thriller from the mind of one-hit wonderkid Richard Kelly about a mentally disturbed boy (Jake Gyllenhaal) who is harassed by a demonic bunny rabbit who says the end of the world is coming in 28 days. This has been heralded by many as a phenomenal film, attaining a cult following over the years, and it lives up to its reputation with a plot designed by an absolute genius of a writer and director in Kelly. Gyllenhaal's perfect performance is the major driving force behind this film, being that his character is brutally honest in addition to being severely troubled and confused, which makes him a character that is easy to empathize with. The end of the film is a head-scratcher to be sure, but once you figure out all the nitty, gritty details, it is hard not to be in awe of how creative it is. Probably one of my favorite films to watch again and gain, it is hard not to love its subversive take on 80's culture and the basic family structure in addition to its insane, ultimately brilliant storyline.
Super Reviewer
April 11, 2012
A triumph in cinema. One of the best, most original films I have ever seen. Wonderfully crafted, and exceptionally written and acted, Donnie Darko is both an exploration of suburban life and how it can be challenged, as well as an exploration into philosophy, science, and God. Jake Gyllenhaal steals the show, but is supported by a talented cast. Director Kelly is brilliant, especially in delivering some now-iconic sequences (the "Head Over Heels" and "Mad World" scenes) and in producing a thrilling, dark, and even funny teenage science-fiction film, one that transcends the clichés and flaws of all other films of its genre. Possibly one of the best films made in the last several decades. Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!
Super Reviewer
August 20, 2011
I watched this mainly for Jake :D
My he was really good in here.
Thought the movie was a bit messed up. It was a bit complicated for my taste.
Super Reviewer
½ March 24, 2013
The story is a solid psychological thriller that comes together by the end, for the most part. My biggest problem with this film is that you have to subscribe to its strange premise revolving around time travel and tangent universes. It is hard to buy into that world and watch the film through that lens, but that is the only real way to enjoy this movie. I like watching movies through my own lens, a lens that made this movie look a little murky.
Super Reviewer
October 12, 2012
Donnie Darko is a gripping psychological thriller that boasts an incredible performance from Gyllenhaal as well as fantastic direction and storytelling.
Super Reviewer
October 4, 2012
'Donnie Darko' is a film full of such potency and intrigue that it keeps you glued. The plot never lets up, the acting is solid all around, and the soundtrack is immaculate. Following in the similar steps of 'Fight Club', the film creates an atmosphere and tone so unique that it begs for a cult following. It almost proves to be more than a film, it could aspire closer towards philosophy. 'Donnie Darko' reminds us that there is still meaningful filmmaking every now and then.
Super Reviewer
February 27, 2008
don't forget swayze in this!!
Super Reviewer
½ March 15, 2007
Super Reviewer
September 29, 2010
A lot of people praise this "underrated" movie, but the way I see it, it is way too confusing for even the most observant people. I looked up the meaning behind everything through multiple forums, and I saw that it was way too overcomplicated for a movie to portray some sort of interesting idea. The follow-up to the ending is dreadfully meaningless at times and boring. Please stop praising this movie when you don't understand what the movie means.
Super Reviewer
March 20, 2008
keep hearing its good
Super Reviewer
½ January 31, 2012
This movie is gold. Pure genius. Total mindfuck. I had to think a little bit.
Super Reviewer
January 27, 2012
This film messed me up in the head... in the ood way. When you see a film that makes you question reality as much as this, it should go doen in history as the best cult film ever!
Super Reviewer
January 11, 2010
The story, the acting by the entire cast (Jake Gyllenhaal in particular), and the dialogue is absolutely mesmerizing. The film is told through present time, past time, and a time that is left up to you to decipher. This is a story that follows a troubled young boy as he imagines creatures and has a very two-sided perspective on life. There are moments that will have you chuckling, moments that will have you star-struck in fear, and moments that are just too strange and over-intense to handle. This psycological thriller is definately "THE" best of it's kind, and it will easily hold a spot in my top 10. I absolutely adore "Donnie Dark" and I wish more films were told in perspective such as this. This film is pure hollywood genius!
Super Reviewer
November 4, 2011
Remarkably brilliant and mind boggling but the intelligent premise of the plot itself would only strike interest to those who tend to do more than just watch the film itself. This movie is cleverly original full of random concepts that'll leave you thinking which is probably the problem to it. There's too much going on all at the same time, but nonetheless, this movie is worth watching and going the extra mile in researching.
Super Reviewer
½ October 25, 2011
The only good movie Richard Kelly has ever made.
Super Reviewer
December 20, 2007
I like this...It's a little wierd....but we all go a little mad sometimes..
Super Reviewer
½ August 17, 2011
Donnie Darko is a stunning film. The film blends Sci Fi, mystery and horror very well. Director Richard Kelly creates a thrilling, scary and interesting film. I had heard many great things about this film, and never got around to watch it, until I saw it for five dollars at a Wal-Mart. Boy was I glad that I picked up this title because I thought it was genuinely creepy, well written with terrific directing from Richard Kelly's part. I thought that Donnie Darko was a fine horror sci fi film, coming off the many terrible teen horror films of the late 1990's. I thought it was great to see something scary like this again, and the genre needed something to rejuvenate the genre, and this was one of many films to bring back life to a genre that has lost any credibility of being a scary, creepy genre of cinema. Donnie Darko is quite possibly one of the best independent films to come out in the last ten years. Richard Kelly has assembled one terrific cast of actors and they all deliver great performances. Donnie Darko is a solid psychological horror film that has a solid story and acting. If you love these types of films, then give this one a shot, this is a very good film, and one that is very memorable. What you have here is a film that will make you want to watch it again and again, a truly unique psychological horror film.
Super Reviewer
July 20, 2007
"Why are you wearing that stupid man suit?"

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.

Richard Kelly's flawed but utterly promising debut is one of the best things that could happen to post-2000 cinema. In fact, I use the word 'flawed' with caution because it isn't the most appropriate term to describe the slight imperfections featuring in Donnie Darko. It feels a little like Kelly wants to add too many ingenious elements and gimmicks and the screenplay often is a little messy. Nevertheless, it's a project that breathes its own personal atmosphere and the creativity nearly drips from the screen. What makes this film so unique and fresh is the half-apocalyptic, half depressing tone. We're welcomed in a bitter 80's setting and meet Donnie (Jake Gyllenhaal) who's living in a socially strict suburban town called Middlesex. Donnie is a not-so typical teenager who suffers from severe hallucinations and bizarre states of mind. It even gets worse when he has a near death experience, as he starts spotting a giant ugly bunny that tells him the world is coming to an end. What follows is a blend of almost-brilliant sequences, an outstanding 80's soundtrack and slightly too many digital effects. That's not a bad thing, though, because you especially remember the good sequences like Donnie rebelling against his superficial teachers and hilarious Smurf-speeches. Jake Gyllenhaal is great and there are sublime supporting roles for Mary McDowell, Patrick Swayze and Holmes Osborne (he's the coolest father one could have). Special mention goes out to the gorgeous Maggie Gyllenhaal in her (too small) role of Donnie's sister Elizabeth. Richard Kelly has talent. That's not an opinion, that's a fact and even those who dislike this film should reckon this. Just look at how he pans the camera over the high school playground while 'Head over Heals' by Tears for Fears is playing. That's pure class!
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