DONNIE DARKO REVIEWED
“Donnie Darko” is one of those films from the early 00s that film snobs love to turn on in the present day. Hell, some of them hated it from the beginning. I can’t get onboard with any of that. Richard Kelly won me over from the first viewing through Southland Tales and even The Box. While not the next Spielberg, he reminded me of something that I loved when learning about film through intense HBO marathons in the late 80s/early 90s. Kelly is a low-key auteur with strong genre pinnings.
While CG allowed Kelly to restructure the idea of time travel/alternate realities, it didn’t say anything new. What it did was found a way to shove it through the guise of a teen period movie. This box set brings together the theatrical cut (my preferred), the Director’s Cut and a booklet examining the Darko phenomenon. If you own the film already on DVD/Blu, toss that copy in the garbage. It’s an incomplete attempt at trying to understand this film.
This is the kind of collection that proves that Home Video still matters. While not every film can generate this level of content, there is still a need to try. Right now, this is among one of the best of 2017.
- Brand new 4K restorations of both the Theatrical Cut and the Director’s Cut from the original camera negatives produced by Arrow Films exclusively for this release, supervised and approved by director Richard Kelly and cinematographer Steven Poster
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations of both cuts
- Original 5.1 audio (DTS-HD on the Blu-ray)
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- Audio commentary by writer-director Richard Kelly and actor Jake Gyllenhaal on the Theatrical Cut
- Audio commentary by Kelly, producer Sean McKittrick and actors Drew Barrymore, Jena Malone, Beth Grant, Mary McDonnell, Holmes Osborne, Katharine Ross and James Duval on the Theatrical Cut
- Audio commentary by Kelly and filmmaker Kevin Smith on the Director’s Cut
- Deus ex Machina: The Philosophy of Donnie Darko, a brand-new documentary by Ballyhoo Motion Pictures on the making of Donnie Darko, containing interviews with writer-director Richard Kelly, producer Sean McKittrick, director of photography Steven Poster,
- The Goodbye Place, Kelly’s 1996 short film, which anticipates some of the themes and ideas of his feature films
- The Donnie Darko Production Diary, an archival documentary charting the film’s production with optional commentary by cinematographer Steven Poster
- Twenty deleted and alternate scenes with optional commentary by Kelly
- Archive interviews with Kelly, actors Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Drew Barrymore, James Duval, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Holmes Osborne, Noah Wyle and Katharine Ross, producers Sean McKittrick, Nancy Juvonen, Hunt Lowry and Casey La Scala
- Three archive featurettes: They Made Me Do It, They Made Me Do It Too and #1 Fan: A Darkomentary
- Storyboard comparisons
- B-roll footage
- Cunning Visions infomercials
- Music video: Mad World by Gary Jules
- TV spots
- Exclusive collector’s book containing new writing by Nathan Rabin, Anton Bitel and Jamie Graham, an in-depth interview with Richard Kelly, introduction by Jake Gyllenhaal and contemporary coverage, illustrated with original stills and promotional materi
- Limited edition packaging featuring new artwork by Candice Tripp
- 2.35:1 1080p transfer
- DTS-HD 5.1 master audio track
RELEASE DATE: 4/18/17
The Plot Thus Far
Fifteen years before Stranger Things combined science-fiction, Spielberg-ian touches and 80s nostalgia to much acclaim, Richard Kelly set the template – and the high-water mark – with his debut feature, Donnie Darko. Initially beset with distribution problems, it would slowly find its audience and emerge as arguably the first cult classic of the new millennium. Donnie is a troubled high school student: in therapy, prone to sleepwalking and in possession of an imaginary friend, a six-foot rabbit named Frank, who tells him the world is going to end in 28 days 06 hours 42 minutes and 12 seconds. During that time he will navigate teenage life, narrowly avoid death in the form of a falling jet engine, follow Frank’s maladjusted instructions and try to maintain the space-time continuum. Described by its director as “The Catcher in the Rye as told by Philip K. Dick”, Donnie Darko combines an eye-catching, eclectic cast – pre-stardom Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal, heartthrob Patrick Swayze, former child star Drew Barrymore, Oscar nominees Mary McDonnell and Katherine Ross, and television favourite Noah Wyle – and an evocative soundtrack of 80s classics by Echo and the Bunnymen, Tears for Fears and Duran Duran. This brand-new 4K restoration, carried out exclusively for this release by Arrow Films, allows a modern classic to finally receive the home video treatment it deserves.