Donnie Darko (2001)

Made when writer-director Richard Kelly was only 25, this foray into the disturbed mind of a schizophrenic teenager (Jake Gyllenhaal) became a cult favourite.
“Donnie Darko, the first feature by 26-year-old writer-director Richard Kelly, is a wondrous, moodily self-involved piece of work that employs X-Files magic realism to galvanize what might have been a routine tale of suburban teen angst.” J. Hoberman, The Village Voice, 2001 Metaphysical foreboding during the Bush-Dukakis debate (it’s 1988) sends suburban teenager Donnie Darko into the night. Coming to in the wilderness of the local golf course, he returns home to a bizarre disaster: a jet engine has dropped out of the sky and crashed through his bedroom ceiling. And this is just the start, as a familiar world of high school and Halloween parties is complicated by time tunnels, apocalyptic visions and the appearance of a sinister man-size rabbit named Frank. Writer-director Richard Kelly’s cult debut made a star of Jake Gyllenhaal (whose sister Maggie also appears as Donnie’s sister Elizabeth) and – perhaps bizarrest of all – propelled Michael Andrews’s cover version of Mad World to the Christmas number-one slot in the UK Top 40. Characters from Donnie Darko returned in Chris Fisher’s sequel S. Darko (2009), which starred Daveigh Chase as Donnie’s now 18-year-old sister Samantha.
2001 USA
Directed by
Richard Kelly
Produced by
Sean McKittrick, Nancy Juvonen, Adam Fields
Written by
Richard Kelly
Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Drew Barrymore
Running time
113 minutes

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