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DONNIE DARKO: THE DIRECTOR’S CUT (R) (2004)

Pandora Cinema

Official Site

Director: Richard Kelly

Producers: Christopher Ball, Drew Barrymore, Hunt Lowry

Written by: Richard Kelly

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Drew Barrymore, Patrick Swayze, Mary McDonnell, Jena Malone, Noah Wyle, Alex Greenwald, Katharine Ross

 Rating:


If you haven’t seen the original Donnie Darko, you’re missing out. You should rent it right now.

If you have, here’s a quick review of the director’s cut, which I wrote before my interview with Richard Kelly:

While the subtlety and succinctness of the original edit is what makes Donnie Darko brilliant, DD: The Director’s Cut somehow further endears us. Not because the expanded version gives us much new, vital information about Donnie’s mystery, but because it spends more time on fascinating but previously less-developed characters like Eddie Darko (Osborne) and Karen Pomeroy (Barrymore). In addition, a timely re-release in the fall of an election year gives us yet another context in which to contemplate this wonderful film.

And now, my thoughts after talking to the writer/director:

Richard Kelly believes that the theatrical release of this director’s cut is crucial to his audience’s conceptual understanding of the science fiction plot. I don’t agree with him, but I greatly enjoyed the director’s cut anyway. Kelly underestimates us. The only people who will pay to see Donnie Darko: The Director’s Cut are his fans, devotees who have seen the original cut multiple times and bought the DVD long ago. They’ve watched the deleted scenes. With commentary. They won’t watch it because they don’t understand the story. On the contrary, they could recite the shit backwards in their sleep. They’ll go see it because they love the experience of this movie and they love the characters. To me, the most endearing moment of the director’s cut was a brief scene in which Eddie Darko, nursing a glass of whiskey, sits Donnie down and attempts to slur forth the fatherly assurances that both he and his son are dying to believe: that his son isn’t crazy, and that whoever says otherwise can go fuck themselves. Donnie is unsure whether to roll his eyes or to break down completely. Here Kelly portrays more poignantly than ever the idea of the parent-child relationship defined as existence on opposite ends of the same desperation. Whether he intended to make this statement or not is completely unimportant. Despite Kelly’s insistence on having us understand the film his way, his creation is bigger than he is. It’s open to interpretation.

—Leah Churner

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

Itís worth a full-price ticket.

Itís worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...


Mike Doughty



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