Donnie Darko

Release Date: October 26, 2001
Limited release

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Donnie Darko seems to be a film in search of itself. Billed as a fantasy/mystery/drama/romance/science fiction film, it tells the tale of the eponymous Donnie (Jake Gyllenhaal), a teenager who sees a giant rabbit. But this is not a benevolent lepus, such as befriended gentle Elwood P Dowd; no, this is the anti-Harvey, a demon bunny named Frank that convinces Donnie to pull all sorts of delinquent-teenager stunts. Frank also gets Donnie out of his warm bed at night and wandering round the town. One night, Frank tells Donnie the world is going to end in a few days. Shortly thereafter, a jet engine falls through the roof of Donnie's house and onto his bed, which proves to Donnie at least that Frank is clairvoyant.

Frank also tells Donnie about time travel, and directs him to the local old kook who seems to know something about the process, and he endows our hero with the ability to see into the future. Not very far into the future, mind you; just far enough to be able to see where someone is going to walk in the next few minutes. But the ultimate secret Frank imparts is the exact date the world will end: on Hallowe'en next.

Is Frank the figment of a sick mind? A way for a young man to cope with his own prescience? Or something else entirely? These are the questions that will be answered, one would believe, when the film is released. It has already debuted at the 2001 Sundance Festival, and is due for a limited release later this year. Given that the film can't quite decide what it is, it's going to be a hard sell, to say the least. The trailer might give more of an idea of the direction the marketing campaign will take; if it pursues one genre the film straddles, there's a chance for making it a modest hit. But if the trailer and marketing campaign are as all over the map as the synopses currently available, then this film is going to have a hard time finding its audience. Regardless, it likely won't see life outside the art-house circuit. (Calvin Trager/BOP)

Vital statistics for Donnie Darko
Main Cast Jake Gyllenhaal, Holmes Osborne, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Daveigh Chase, Mary McDonnell
Supporting Cast James Duval, Arthur Taxier, Patrick Swayze
Director Richard Kelly
Screenwriter Richard Kelly
Distributor Newmarket Film Group
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site
Rating R
Running Time 113 minutes
Screen Count 58
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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