THE PLOT THUS FAR
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.
WHAT WE THOUGHT
Donnie Darko’s Capraesque trip into an alternate reality began with a jet engine crashing into our hero’s bedroom. That’s right…an airplane coming apart mid-air starts the events of this film. This film was originally supposed to open on September 14th, 2001. Now, we can see the odds that worked against it. So, while most people were avoiding the cinemas or stocking up on gas masks…I went to the movies Donnie Darko is a sleepwalker. Sleepwalking being the most inconvient of sleeping disorders tends to place our hero at the most bizarre location. Country roads, the 18th hole at the local golf course or even leaving the midnight show of “The Evil Dead” to set fire to Patrick Swayze’s house; all of these locations are visited by sleepwalking Donnie. But, why’s Donnie sleepwalking?
Slightly before the falling jet engine destroyed his bedroom, Donnie started talking to his psychotherapist about his invisible friend. It turns out that his invisible friend is a giant rabbit named Frank. Sorry Donnie, Harvey was taken. Donnie’s pal Frank has been giving Donnie secret orders while he’s in his sleepwalking trace. First and foremost, Frank tells Donnie that the world is going to end in twenty eight days. Donnie acknowledges this and begins to finish Frank’s other orders in the alloted time before the upcoming collapse of the space/time continuum. Donnie heads to school where John Hughes stereotypes have been given an unneeded edge. The school bully snorts cocaine in the hallway and carries a switchblade. The school misfit wears ear muffs all of the time and tells people to “Chut Up”. And, then there’s the role of the hero’s main squeeze…if it were 1986 this would’ve been played by the likes of Molly Ringwald or Mia Sara.
Donnie and his gal pal Gretchen Ross set out on a month long romance where they become science lab partners and learn about the Philosophy of Time Travel. That’s right…if the talking rabbit wasn’t enough, we learn that there is a woman named Grandma Death who wrote a book on the Philosophy of Time Travel. So, Donnie starts to put the book into practice. During one of his trances while his dad is watching Monday Night Football, he starts to see large clear spheres extending from everyone’s chest. Donnie follows his sphere and learns that he can see what could best be called “destiny”. He can see everyone’s personal timeline. All this information is too much for Donnie and he starts to become sullen and withdrawn. But, during a quick sleepwalking trip to torch Patrick Swayze’s house…he starts to cause a slight worry in his therapist. Towards the end of the film, you have a lot of arcs come full circle. Donnie’s younger sister and mother are leaving town due to a dance team appearance on Star Search. Donnie’s sister decides to throw a Halloween party, as the countdown to Frank’s predicted apocalypse is less than twenty four hours away. Somewhere along the way, Donnie’s dad vanishes out of the film and Gretchen Ross shows up thinking that her mom has been killed.
Donnie realizing that he now has the ability to alter timelines tells Gretchen and two school chums to get on their bikes and ride over to Grandma Death’s house. While there, the coke snorting bully shows up and starts trouble. He threatens Gretchen, when the “Deus Ex Machina” comes into play. Two guys on a beer run accidentally stumble upon the scene. The Blu-Ray comes with both cuts of the movie, featurettes and a director/cast commentary. Spread across four discs, you get both cuts in HD and standard definition. If that wasn’t enough, you also get a digital copy. It’s like FOX heard the fans out there and said here is everything we have. Color correct, uncut and presented in near reference quality 1080p. This is a must-buy.