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Worth A Look: 25%
Just Average: 14.58%
Pretty Crappy: 12.5%
Sucks: 8.33%

2 reviews, 36 user ratings

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Donnie Darko: The Director's Cut
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by Chris Wilson

"Hit and miss director’s cut can’t justify destroying the original’s appeal."
2 stars

If I told you one of the best movies of 2001 was about a teenager with visions of a grotesque man-sized rabbit, you might begin to question my judgment in films. Donnie Darko tells the strange tale of an 80s youth (Jake Gyllenhaal) who returns home from a bout of sleep-walking to find a jet engine has landed in his bedroom. Had our protagonist not been out chatting with the above mentioned demonic bunny he would have been crushed. Why has he been saved? What purpose does this strange and not-at-all-cute animal-man have for our hero? Is that really Patrick Swayze playing a self-help guru?

While it tanked at the box-office, Donnie Darko was about as original and hypnotically weird as movies were meant to be. Big chunks of it didn’t make sense and you could argue about what happened for hours. Those are just a couple reasons why the film became such a massive success when it was released on DVD.

To cash in on this unexpected success, and of course to free the further artistic vision of the film’s creators, they made a director’s cut. With enhanced special effects, a pricier soundtrack and twenty minutes of footage restored, it saw limited release in theaters last year. On February 15th Donnie Darko: Director’s Cut was released on DVD.

It shouldn’t have been.

Don’t get me wrong. The addition of music by INXS to any movie, especially one set in the 80s, was reason enough to make me giddy. Most of the added footage was beneficial as well, as it clarified and strengthened relationships between the characters. But along with those bonuses there was too much explanation of what was going on. And in a movie that got popular for being weird and confusing, that’s definitely not a good thing.

What’s worse was the execution of these explanations. Most were accomplished through superimposing pages of a philosophy book on time travel and fate over the onscreen action. If this sounds outrageously hokey to you then I applaud your perceptiveness. To be fair, the book was involved in the plot of the movie. But maybe instead of spending money to play “Never Tear Us Apart” the producers could have paid Jake Gyllenhaal to read the pages to us. Oh, to be in kindergarten again…

If you loved Donnie Darko or have yet to see it and want to get the most out of the film, rent or buy the original DVD. Watch the movie and then go to special features. First, check out the book Jake Gyllenhaal won’t be reading to you as all eight or so pages are included on the DVD. Your next stop, the deleted scenes section, contains virtually all the restored footage of the director’s cut. In addition, you’ll get some interesting and useful optional commentary from director Richard Kelly. Finally, the original website is presented as an interactive menu, giving further insights into the film. When you’ve done all that, watch the original version of the movie again. You’ll understand everything the director’s cut was meant to clarify and will feel better about it because you worked harder doing it. Now throw in some INXS for me and congratulate yourself on a job well done.

If you hated Donnie Darko because you demand your movies to make sense, the director’s cut will solve this. And you still won’t like the movie. Otherwise, take my advice and really explore the original. It’s worth the extra effort.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=9774&reviewer=400
originally posted: 04/25/05 01:07:36
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User Comments

2/20/17 morris campbell the original cuts better 3 stars
6/22/09 Simon That a director's cut like this even exists speaks volumes to the film's innate shittiness 1 stars
4/16/08 Quigley Bizarre, creepy and hard to follow. Original cut is probably better. 3 stars
12/22/05 ALDO Butterfly effect (cinema ending) is way better. this movie felt unfinished 3 stars
11/07/05 Jim Good, but not as good as the original version. Spells things out a bit too clearly. 4 stars
8/30/05 Digital Darko Surealism is something some can't apprecaite, this is great for those who can, possibility! 5 stars
7/25/05 Eric Rollins Like the Thing in the Jar exhibit, not really sure what to make of it. 3 stars
5/21/05 Cham An instant cult classic. 4 stars
5/09/05 Carol ok 3 stars
5/01/05 Paul Shawver depressing 3 stars
4/27/05 Colleen Godlrick quirky 4 stars
3/03/05 Jon Smith sucks! 1 stars
3/02/05 Laurie Le Blanc I liked the original better. 4 stars
1/31/05 Wendy S. A must see! 5 stars
1/16/05 Jeff Anderson THIS IS TIME TRAVEL AT ITS BEST! J. Gyllenhaal is a marvel and Michael Andrews' score ROCKS 5 stars
11/22/04 alien assassin Surrealism at it's best !!! 5 stars
11/11/04 a. Joe b It is awesome 5 stars
10/27/04 john shit 1 stars
9/23/04 Al Guy Sometimes not knowing is good. 3 stars
9/16/04 Kyle Wellcome One of my favorite films. definatly an awsome one. 5 stars
9/08/04 Jane M Absolutely my favourite film for years, really gets you thinking.... and Jake Gyllywotsit's 5 stars
9/07/04 emmy it was awsome jake was hot in it 5 stars
8/28/04 kryptKnight Prefered the cut version, I got to have my own theories. Directors intended strory gay IMHO 4 stars
8/26/04 M A journey well worth every minute!! 5 stars
8/25/04 Simmone Penhaligoon Surreal and frankly very trippy. 5 stars
8/23/04 Randy Great movie 5 stars
8/15/04 Dallas Moye Excellent 5 stars
8/14/04 Anthony G hey "mike", he didnt spell anything wrong, he just has bad grammer you fucking stupid jew 5 stars
8/14/04 Boris Hey "mike" did you know that proper nouns are capitalized you retarded worthless fool 5 stars
8/05/04 Mix Master Mason Slightly improved version of a mediocre film. Worth seeing. 4 stars
7/27/04 Cliftronic Excellent additions to the story 5 stars
7/25/04 mike "Best movie I've ever watch"....Learn how to spell. 1 stars
7/23/04 Steve Holcomb I loved this movie 5 stars
6/14/04 Jorge Best movie I've ever watch 5 stars
6/05/04 kevin directors cut was kind of akward...but some interesting new stuff 5 stars
6/04/04 David Love it! One of my favourite films... 5 stars
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  23-Jul-2004 (R)
  DVD: 15-Feb-2005



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