Movie and Film Reviews (MFR) Sci-Fi,Thrillers Donnie Darko (2001): Director’s Cut

Donnie Darko (2001): Director’s Cut

In the director’s cuts of this film, expressed by Richard Kelly himself, are segments which narrow the otherwise “open interpretation” one otherwise has to apply to its viewing. What Mr. Kelly, however will leave to “divine intervention” as the instrument through which its gifted storyline conducts itself has a basis in more than metaphysics or religion. Indeed, books such as those one of the important characters in the movie have written, Roberta Sparrow’s (Patience Cleveland,) The Philosophy of Time Travel, have been written and most certainly had their impact on modern physics. John Dunne’s, Experiment in Time and The Serial Universe are but two examples, the latter exploring its own model for unified field theory long before that expressed by Albert Einstein.

Foremostly, see this movie in this version, then see the director’s cuts, especially the one where Donnie Darko (the talented Jake Gyllenhaal) reads his poem to Karen Pomeroy’s (the lovely Drew Barrymore,) class. As with the trimming of Donnie’s first meeting with Frank (James Duval,) this cut was made out of the director/writer’s intent to be less blatant for, as he puts it, “a more open interpretation.” Where fitting the film into a two-hour requirement is not the intent specifically here, perhaps an intention to make a pitch towards the arcane obscurity of a cult classic is. But then Mr. Kelly should never have provided this Director’s Cut version, were that being the case.

Donnie Darko sports a superb cast. Highlighting are the accomplished Mary McDonnell as Rose Darko, Donnie’s mother and the talented Patrick Swayze as the celebrity pedophile, Jim Cunningham. Supporting cast is extensive and professional with many established actors you’ll recognize. Selections for the music score is impressive, sets and scenery grand, camera work on the money, and casting exquisite. The choice of Mary McDonnell for the mother was this reviewer’s favorite, while Patrick Swayze, in his role, was a close second. And no one can play a self-righteous simp like Beth Grant (betcha in real life she’s a neat lady.)

As for the storyline, is it worth all the cerebral expenditure required to get through? Very, and a tale of Karmic beauty it is. Has it precious scenes subtle in telling? You bet, the reviewer’s favorite being when Donnie is under hypnosis by his psychotherapist and, recalling one of his favorite entertainers begins to commit “self-abuse”. Of course the therapist, lovely Katherine Ross, cues him to wake up (else we’d have to X rate this film.) Exploring the cuts we find another scene cut of Donnie watching this “entertainer” performing in her very popular sit com role…cut explicitly under threat of a suit by the young lady’s mother. These director cuts can be fun.

Metaphysical, religious, experimental science exploration are all here. “Discuss amongst yourselves.”

4 thoughts on “Donnie Darko (2001): Director’s Cut”

  1. A mind wrapping movie that supports amazing actors/actresses. it will take you 5 or 6 times to understand the movie and even then will you not understand it fully. a wonderful movie for anyone curious to think about a movie as much as watching it.

  2. On that note, you might like a “B” movie, Dreamland. Not nearly of the
    quality, its storyline still requires the same complexity to put together and is as worth it.

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