This goes without saying, but I am incredibly thrilled to be reviewing this film. Without a doubt, DONNIE DARKO sits highly atop my all-time favorite films list. With its quintessential soundtrack and complex story elements, this cult classic has perplexed its audiences with its unanswered questions (for those who haven’t seen the director’s cut) and theories about time travel. With Arrow Films’ newly restored release of DONNIE DARKO, we can now revisit this iconic film and all of its tragic and beautiful moments through its brilliant 4K quality.

Written and directed by Richard Kelly, DONNIE DARKO stands as a piece of art that enables its viewers to think constructively, while wondering endlessly after the fact. This highly emotional and complex film follows high school student Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal) through life, death, and time continuums. Shifting from present day into a Tangent Universe, Donnie must unravel this rift (being led to do so by Frank – a man in a giant bunny suit) in order to prevent the end of the world.

While I’m sure we all find the theatrical version to be customary, the director’s cut persists to be the more informative version, presenting extended scenes while shedding intuitive light towards hefty subjects intended by the director. Originally, DONNIE DARKO prevails itself as a piece of cinema that has a structured core with seemingly loose ends that are left for the audience to decipher. Through viewing the director’s cut, almost all of those loose ends come to a head, helping to complete the puzzle with pieces thought to be intentionally missing. Each sequence transitions through chapters from The Philosophy of Time Travel, allowing both Donnie and the audience insight towards the situation at hand.

After fifteen years, DONNIE DARKO holds its place as being iconic and profound, continuing to haunt the hearts of its viewers. The film’s intricacies remain beautifully catastrophic, intertwining drama with comedy, while producing heavy emotional content. The ultimate notions of fear, love, loneliness, and sacrifice mold together to form an in-depth look into the lives, interactions, and consequences of each individual character. This new release provides genre fans with an awakened resurgence towards this cult classic, allowing us to experience this film through heightened visuals, while keeping the nostalgic presence we all fell in love with.

Abigail Braman

DONNIE DARK will be available on Bluray + DVD April 18 from Arrow Videos. DONNIE DARK will also return for weeklong runs in Denver, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Phoenix, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco on March 31st, and in El Paso and Detroit on April 7.

Special screenings include Jacksonville, Austin, Dallas, Honolulu, Lubbock, Baton Rouge, Sioux Falls, Oklahoma City, Tucson, Durham and Stamford throughout March and April.

Abigail Braman
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