When a six-foot rabbit starts telling you to burn down peoples houses, its probably best to start taking those pills again
Running Time: 118 minutes
UK Certificate: 15
Country: United States
Donnie Darko isn't exactly your run-of-the-mill small-town teen. When he's not spending his time going over his inner-demons with his increasingly exasperated councillor (Katharine Ross), he's holding full conversations with a giant rabbit called Frank. It's fair to say that Donnie, much like this movie as a whole, is no stranger to going off the scale on the weird-o-meter.
Having escaped death when a mysterious unidentified aeroplane engine crashes into his bedroom, Donnie is instructed by his slightly-sinister bunny buddy that the world will end in 28 days. Obviously that's some pretty handy information to have but, unfortunately, Frank also tells him to flood his school and burn down the house of sleazy life-preacher Jim Cunningham (Patrick Swayze).
The real question is, are these frighteningly realistic visions simply the product of Donnie's decision to stop taking his medication, or is there a deeper meaning to it all? No prizes for guessing that it starts to look like the latter is the case, when a spot of research on Donnie's part starts to unravel some astonishing information. Frank's advice on the secrets of time travel, for example, seems to carry a little more merit than you'd expect from well an imaginary bloke in a rabbit costume.
Though at times a little self-indulgent and slow in pace, it's a hugely original movie with a genuinely mind-blowing premise. The special effects are impressive for a film put together on a relatively measly budget, particularly when Donnie begins to see a strange Abyss-style ectoplasm projecting itself out of people's chests, which he believes to be showing him a short distance into the future. The dark satire is also at times extremely funny, and Jake Gyllenhaal is consistently believable in the title role.
It's Got: A cracking soundtrack including Tears for Fears(!) - to fit in nicely with the late-80s setting.
It Needs: To be a little shorter and cut out some unnecessary scenes.
DVD Extras Everything you could possibly ask for - commentary with Richard Kelly, Jake Gyllenhaal and selected cast and crew, 20 deleted and extended scenes with optional directors commentary, interviews with 20 cast and crew members, B roll footage, "The Philosophy of Time Travel", website gallery, artwork gallery, UK art exhibition, They Made Me Do It - making of the art gallery, cunning visions gallery, TV spots, and cast and crew filmographies. DVD Extras Rating: 10/10
A fascinating, thought-provoking and at times darkly comic big screen directorial debut from Kelly.