Donnie Darko: The Director's Cut
You can never go too far.
Directed by: Richard Kelly
Written by: Richard Kelly
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Mary McDonnell, Jena Malone, Beth Grant, Holmes Osborne, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Daveigh Chase, Drew Barrymore, Patrick Swayze
Primary Genres: Drama; Science Fiction/Fantasy; Mystery/Suspense; Horror/Thriller
2004 Cosmique Movie Awards
A high school student, Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal), is beset by sleepwalking, visions of a mysterious giant rabbit urging him to commit evil deeds, and apocalyptic predictions.
Donnie Darko was originally released in 2001, but with such limited publicity and distribution that it was all but impossible to hear about, much less see. In 2004, it was re-issued with a new director's cut. Normally, eligibility for the Cosmique Movie Awards are limited to a film's original release (except for lifetime achievement categories), and re-releases do not allow it to be reconsidered in a subsequent year. But having viewed both the original cut and the new director's cut, the Academy's Board of Directors has decided that the new cut allows for substantial reinterpretations of the film, and we have therefore concluded that the Director's Cut can stand on its own as a new release for purposes of the 2004 Cosmique Movie Awards.
The ruling allowed the film to earn a nomination for Best Film of 2004 - the only nomination it received, and the only Best Film nominee in the history of the awards (to date) to earn only a single nomination.
"Donnie Darko" is an usual and complex film, mysterious and confusing and more than a little creepy. The original cut was so ambiguous that it's hard to imagine how a viewer could fully interpret the film (short of simply concluding that Donnie was suffering from the early stages of schizophrenia) without resorting to extra material only available outside the movie (primarily on the official website, and later partially on the DVD's special features).
The director's cut incorporates many of these extras as overlaid pages of a book, which helps strengthen the film, or at least the director's original interpretation of the events unfolding.
Jake Gyllenhaal gives a powerful performance as the titular lead. Jena Malone, a previous Cosmo nominee for Best Young Actor, is wonderful as always. Maggie Gyllenhaal's performance is so natural and comfortable that she reinforces her position in my mind as one of my favorite up-and-coming actors. But the real standout is Mary McDonnell's portrayal of Donnie's mother. "Donnie Darko" will almost certainly make my top five list for Best Ensemble, and probably several other categories as well.
My Rating: 9
If you would like to submit a review to be posted on this page, please submit it in plain text format to the President of the Cosmique Movie Academy. Fans who are not members of the Academy are still welcome to submit their own reviews, but we reserve the right to decline to publish any review.