Donnie Darko: The Director's Cut (2004) - Rotten Tomatoes

Donnie Darko: The Director's Cut (2004)

Donnie Darko: The Director's Cut



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

In a funny, moving and distinctly mind-bending journey through suburban America, one extraordinary but disenchanted teenage is about to take Time's Arrow for a ride. October 2nd, 1988: just another ordinary day in Donnie Darko's teen-aged existence. He's taken his medication, watched Dukakis & Bush debate, and had dinner with the family. Then an outrageous accident occurs, which just misses claiming Donnie's life. As Donnie begins to explore what it means to still be alive, and in short order to be in love, he uncovers secrets of the universe that five him a tempting power to alter time and destiny. From 26 year-old first time writer-director Richard Kelly comes the provocative DONNIE DARKO, a genre busting fable that blasts the American suburban drama into a wildly imaginative realm of time travel, alternative universes and the manipulation of one's fate. But at the core of DONNIE DARKO is the simple story of a boy trying to make a stand in a lonely, chaotic world - and discovering that every little thing he does counts on a cosmic scale. Originally screened at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival, DONNIE DARKO became one of the festival's most talked-about and debated films, praised for blending sci-fi fantasy with an original vision of a modern suburbia teetering on the edge of dread and disaster. The question became: what is DONNIE DARKO? Is it a look back at the underbelly of the Ferris Bueller and Back to the Future era? Or is it a wild journey into multiple realities and multiple outcomes? Is it the story of an increasingly cynical, hypocritical society on a crash-course with apocalypse? Or is it a fairy-tale about a teen hero who changes the world around him? Is this the cosmic death knell of the Regan Era, or a portrait of a troubled community redeemed by the hand of God? The surprising answer is that DONNIE DARKO is all of these - a deep inquiry into the recent past and the possibilities for the future all wrapped up in the story of a teenager unlike any you've met before. Writer/director Richard Kelly purposefully wanted DONNIE DARKO to be vast enough to mean different things to different people. But he offers this guidance for the mind-blowing ride ahead: "Maybe it's the story of Holden Caulfield, resurrected in 1988 by the spirit of Philip K. Dick, who was always spinning yarns about schizophrenia and drug abuse breaking the barriers of space and time. Or it's a black comedy foreshadowing the impact of the 1988 presidential election, which is really the best way to explain it. But first and foremost, I wanted the film to be a piece of social satire that needs to be experienced and digested several times." DONNIE DARKO - THE DIRECTOR'S CUT features 20 minutes of never-before-seen footage; new & enhanced visual effects and new music. -- (C) Newmarket Filmsmore
Rating: R (adult situations/language, violence)
Genre: Documentary, Drama, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By: Richard Kelly
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 27, 2007
Box Office: $0.5M
Newmarket Films - Official Site


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News & Interviews for Donnie Darko: The Director's Cut

Critic Reviews for Donnie Darko: The Director's Cut

All Critics (43) | Top Critics (12)

The film feels like a collision between a John Hughes teen comedy and a David Lynch freakfest.

July 6, 2006
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

What remains unchanged is the realization of just what a superb actor Jake Gyllenhaal is.

Full Review… | August 27, 2004
Boston Globe
Top Critic

It's a dreamlike, intuitive movie that has much to say about life and death and points in between.

Full Review… | August 26, 2004
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic

The new Darko is just as marvelous as the old.

Full Review… | August 26, 2004
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic

Contains about 10 additional minutes and is as fabulous and enjoyable as ever.

Full Review… | August 20, 2004
Washington Post
Top Critic

Oddly not as good as the theatrical cut.

March 29, 2009

Audience Reviews for Donnie Darko: The Director's Cut


Quite a revelation. A must-see.

Wildaly M

Super Reviewer

I love the directors cut even more then the theatrical version. this movie is funny, wierd, orginal and much more. this is one of the best films ever made. A

Richard C

Super Reviewer


Richard Kelly revisits his cult thriller Donnie Darko with a Director's Cut that tries to offer a clearer vision. Inserting excerpts from "The Philosophy of Time Travel," the story gains a more structured format; as sections of the narrative are categorized by the element of tangent universe time travel that are being focused on. There are also hints of an observer that is overseeing this correction of the tangent universe. But these observer scenes feel out of place and clash stylistically with the tone and look of the rest of the film. Another unfortunate change in this cut is the soundtrack, which is less evocative and organic. Also, the addition of more dialog and voice-over scenes for the Frank character causes him to lose some of his mystique. But for the most part, the performances and storytelling are especially strong and compelling. Donnie Darko: The Director's Cut succeeds at clearing up some of the ambiguity and mystery of the theatrical version, yet in doing so part of the film's allure is lost.

Dann Michalski
Dann Michalski

Super Reviewer

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