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Special Edition, Director's Cut
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During the presidential election of 1988, a teenager named Donnie Darko sleepwalks out of his house one night, and sees a giant, demonic-looking rabbit named Frank, who tells him the world will end in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes, and 12 seconds. He returns home the next morning to find that a jet engine has crashed through his bedroom. As he tries to figure out why he survived and tries to deal with people in his town, like the school bully, his conservative health teacher, and a self-help guru, Frank continues to turn up in Donnie's mind, causing him to commit acts of vandalism and worse. The new Director?s Cut includes a production diary of the film (with optional commentary by Director of Photography Steven Poster), a story-board to screen featurette, the Director?s cut theatrical trailer, They Made Me Do It Too ? The Cult of Donnie Darko and the #1 Fan: A Darkomentary.
With an additional 20 minutes of material added to the original theatrical edition (including scenes not included in the augmented version previously released on DVD), Donnie Darko: The Director's Cut has a slower, more reflective pace than its first edit, and many more moments of emotional and tonal complexity. The film also has a fuller soundtrack (INXS' "Never Tear Us Apart" is featured prominently in writer-director Richard Kelly's mysterious opening) and new, startling special effects that underscore Donnie's ambiguous experience of time travel and cross-dimensional encounters with Frank, the 6-foot provocateur in a terrifying bunny costume. (Of course, new f/x or not, Donnie could still be a paranoid schizophrenic immersed in violent delusions.) Purists might find some of these changes to Kelly's 2001 cult hit about a troubled teen (Jake Gyllenhaal) trapped in alternative, apocalyptic destinies troubling. But overall the film is an even more haunting experience, impossible to shake.
An audio commentary track features a conversation between Kelly and Kevin Smith (Clerks) outlining the former's reasons for making a director's cut. Kelly says his intention was to amplify a science fiction and comic book element in Donnie Darko, re-design the sound (actually, Kelly claims, there never was a sound design for the original release), and purchase rights to various songs (including Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart") that were lost between the film's premiere at the Sundance Film Festival and the film's theatrical release. Kelly says he also wanted to give something new to the film's fans as thanks for their crucial, early support. Other features in this two-disc set include a highly entertaining production diary (including video of pre-production locations research) as well as a short film about the meaning of "Donnie Darko" as understood by some of the movie's British fans. --Tom Keogh
- Production diary with optional commentary by director of photography Steven Poster
- "They Made Me Do It Too: The Cult of Donnie Darko"
- Storyboard-to-screen featurette
- #I Fan: A Darkomentary
- Director's cut theatrical trailer
Top Customer Reviews
This is filmmaking at its best--an adventure for the mind--not to be missed.
Most highly recommended l
If you thought Mission Impossible One (the movie) had a plot that was "too complicated" for you to follow then maybe you should move on to the next movie in the list.
One of the top 5 pooka movies of all time.
I'm not in any way knocking the fact that many people watch their favorites quite often. My husband and I are especially inclined to do that with comedies full of great one-liners that make us laugh by simply quoting something (Christpher Guest movies are a good example). But personally, I need to be in the right frame of mind - with very little distraction - when I watch an intense film that requires attention to detail.
It's been a little while since I last saw Donnie Darko, and I was very hesitant tonight to watch the director's cut because I didn't want to risk having the story spoiled somehow. I'm glad I decided to because it didn't change a thing for me. But I'm also very thankful that I've seen the original several times because it was a thrill to "get it" ... and even more so each time I watched it.
If the only version that had ever been released was the director's cut, I wouldn't have a different view about the film. No offense intended to anyone, but if you've watched both versions and are still at a total loss as to what happened, this movie is definitely not for you. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that!
If you're like me and you do not have every detail of the theatrical version burned to memory, the difference between it and the director's cut was not monumental and didn't change my perception in any way. Now I'm compelled to watch the original again so I can compare the two.
For those who haven't seen the film: the acting is superb, the story is very compelling, and it's probably not at all what you were expecting to see. Keep an open mind.
I don't know if I can say which is better, it's really up to personal preference. The director's cut is different in the sense that it adds in some scenes, slightly alters others, and changes/rearranges some of the music and scoring.
The theatrical cut is much more poetic. A lot of people say that it is better because it leaves so much interpretation as to what all happens to the viewer.
The Director's Cut helps explain more of what happens, and the supernatural aspect of it, and leaves less interpretation. It tends to put a lot of focus on the sci/fi side of it.
Most people tend to like the version better that they saw first. I would recommend the Theatrical Version, but really either is better. For any Donnie Darko fan, I'd say to have both. I really like the commentary on the Director's Cut, it helps get an insight into all the thoughts that went into the movies, the changes made in the director's cut, and the music. It is quite interesting to listen to.
Hope that might help your decision.
*Very interesting filming style. Lots of vivid, memorable imagery. Good special effects that don't overwhelm the film.
*Rather interesting story (although it's very weird and hard to figure out; at the very least, everything came into full circle though).
*Interpreting the story is only half of the fun. There are also many thought-provoking elements regarding theology, the nature of humanity, the nature of youth, and the nature of space and time.
*Characters are good; acting was great. I could almost relate to the title character, as he tried to stand up against so many self-righteous adults.
*Frank is probably the freakiest bunny rabbit I've ever seen.
The Bad Things
*Good luck trying to figure it out! Aside from being strange, it's also quite complex.
Definately the strangest high-school film I know of, but also probably the most thought-provoking. It's definately more than a story about a schizophrenic kid; there are many different elements, both visual and in the content, that are crammed into the film. At the very least, it will leave you trying to figure out the plot. Then, perhaps you'll be thinking about the characters or the themes. It's definately food for thought.
The DVD has good video and sound quality. The two-disc special edition includes a fifty-minute production diary, about forty minutes of fan cult featurettes, some storyboard comparisons, and the trailer.
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