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Donnie Darko 4K Review

“Donnie Darko” still holds up 20 years later.

2001’s “Donnie Darko” revolves around the titular not so average troubled teen who evades death, sees things, sleepwalks, and, oh yes, talks to a man in a creepy bunny suit named Frank. Not only does Frank tell him the world will end in 28 days, but he also tells him to commit crimes that may be part of some larger plan. 

As you can tell from above, describing “Donnie Darko” does not do the film justice. Writer/director Richard Kelly’s eerie, ambiguous, mind bending, multi-genre feature film debut is a wildly original coming-of-age sci-fi film about time, time travel, fate, mental health, alienation, politics, and death. It’s not the type of movie one can sum up. It’s the type of movie one has to experience.  

Although the story may center around Donnie, I like the fact that ‘Darko’ also focuses on the community as a whole. The teachers, classmates (like Gretchen) and parents all have a place in the story. Plus, the 80’s setting is really a character itself (especially with the wonderful 80’s fueled soundtrack). Basically, there’s a lot of impressive world building going on which is always a recipe for success in my eyes.

Speaking of the characters, this movie has an absolutely stacked cast featuring Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone,Patrick Swayze, Drew Barrymore, Noah Wyle, James Duval, Mary McDonnell, Katahrine Ross, and a young Seth Rogen. While everyone turns in a quality performance, this is very much Jake’s movie. You’re really seeing a star born here. Yes, he had done roles before, but this is what skyrocketed his career and made him a household name. 

Note: This 4K set includes the theatrical cut and the longer director’s cut which offers more answers (if that is what you seek).


Presentation: 2.35:1 2160p. How does it look? The 4K restoration from the original camera negatives on both cuts is pristine. The movie has never looked better. It should be noted, however, that people have encountered issues with the theatrical cut in certain 4K players. Luckily, replacement discs are available here: https://arrowfilms.com/news/donnie-darko-uhd-replacement-programme/

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? A nice dynamic 5.1 track.

* A double-sided poster
* 6 postcards
* A hardcover book with color photos, restoration notes, a foreword by Jake Gyllenhaal, an interview between Kevin Conroy Scott and Richard Kelly, essays by author Nathan Rabin, Mark Olsen, Jamie Graham and critic Anton Bitel.
* Richard Kelly’s short film “The Goodbye Place.”
* Trailers for both cuts, TV spots, and image gallery.
* 20 deleted/alternate scenes with optional commentary by Richard Kelly
*  A new 85 minute making of documentary featuring a variety of interviews titled “Deus ex Machina: The Philosophy Of Donnie Darko.”
* 2 commentary tracks. One by Richard Kelly and Jake Gyllenhaal and the other by Richard Kelly, Sean McKittrick, Drew Barrymore, Jena Malone, Beth Grant, Mary McDonald, Holmes Osborne, Katharine Ross and James Duval.
* Storyboard comparisons.
* B-Roll footage
* Cunning Visions Infomercials
* A music video for “Mad World” by Gary Jules.
* “#1 Fan: A Darkomentary”- A fan competition extra.
* Individual archival interviews with Jake Gyllenhaal, Mary McDonnell, Holmes Osbourne, Maggie Gyllenhaal, James Duval, Jena Malone, Drew Barrymore, Noah Wyle, Katharine Ross, Richard Kelly, Sean McKittrick, Nancy Juvonen, Hunt Lowry, Casey La Scala and Steven Poster.
* “The Donnie Darko Production Diary”- A 52 minute behind-the-scenes production diary with optional commentary by Steven Poster. A
* “They Made Me Do It”- Part 1 is about a “Donnie Darko” art exhibition and the 2nd is about the fanbase.
* Commentary on the director’s cut by Richard Kelly and Kevin Smith.

June 4, 2021 - Posted by | 4K UHD Review | , , , , , ,

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