Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a resentful teen under therapy, and supposed to be takingmedication for his borderline schizophrenia. When a giant demonic bunny (Jimmy Stewart neverhad to deal with the like in Harvey) takes him out of the house just before a plane enginesmashes into his bedroom, life becomes even more strange. Reality becomes rubbery, and thefact that Donnie survived has more and more significant effects on the world around him.
David Lynch…meets Stanley Kubrick in Richard Kelly’s remarkable film, which is a headybrew of parallel universes, time travel, coming-of-age, social commentary, and horror. Thedirector’s cut is some twenty minutes longer than the previous release, and there are all kindsof new special effects as well (the reason for these, Kelly explains on the commentary, is topunch up the science fiction aspects of the film). Mind-bending and very much a thing unto itsown, this is one of the most striking films from the early years of this decade. Revised films canbe controversial (as George Lucas will discover, when he wakes up in Hell), but Kelly makesa pretty solid case for the changes.
The sound has been remastered from the original release. Kelly points out some of thesechanges on the commentary: the rights for the songs he always intended to use have beenacquired, and one of his other goals was to increases the eeriness substantially. Missionaccomplished. The music sounds magnificent, and the ominous insect songs and the like create acompletely immersive experience, one which feeds into the film’s themes.
The picture still looks terrific, and it has now been jazzed up with the aforementioned FX.The image is sharp, and the grain is minimal. The colours are fine, if a little on the dark side (butthen, this is a very moody film), and the blacks are, as one would hope, profound. A strong2.35:1 transfer.
Disc 1 has a brand-new commentary by Kelly and Kevin Smith. They go into considerabledetail as to What It’s All About, and Kelly points out all the changes made to the sound the FXalong the way. Disc 2 also has all-new features (so don’t go throwing out your original copy ofthe disc). DP Steven Poster provides optional commentary on an hour-long production diary (somuch more informative than the usual making-of featurette). “They Made Me Do It Too” is apeculiar half-hour collage of British fans (film journalists and otherwise) expounding on the filmand its themes. A contest was held for fans to make documentaries proving they are the film’s#1 supporter, and the winner is included here. Finally, there is a storyboard-to-screen featurette,and the trailer for the director’s cut. The menu is fully animated and scored.
An already terrific film is now, I think it is safe to say, even better. Good work.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- Production Diary with Optional Commentary
- “They Made Me Do It Too” — The Cult of Donnie Darko
- Storyboard-to-Screen Featurette
- #1 Fan: A Darkomentary
- Theatrical Trailer