Donnie Darko Limited Edition Bluray from Arrow Video

Donnie Darko Limited Edition Bluray from Arrow Video


I was a bit trepidatious watching the film in preparation for this review. I haven’t seen it for a good 7-8 years and I was worried that my opinion of the film would have changed. The second I was, maybe 2 minutes into the film, it was like slipping into a pair of comfortable shoes. I was right at home.

I still remember, as clear as day, the very first time I saw this film. It was the first DVD I ever bought, from play.com back in the day, I sat down in my back room and watched it on a portable tv/DVD player combo and I was transfixed (and kind of scared) for the entire runtime. It is one, of a few films, that have been important in shaping my moviegoing life and I am loyally grateful.

Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a troubled teenager that is plagued by visions of a large bunny rabbit that manipulates him to commit a series of crimes. The storyline is very complex and difficult to follow, but for me this is a positive because it means the audience is not “spoon-fed” so they have to use their imagination. It’s a film that has many different interpretations from many different people. Director and writer Richard Kelly should be applauded for the great job he did when creating this film, it truly messes with your mind. It is completely original, nothing like anything before seen in the film industry. One of my favourite movie soundtracks of all time. The combination of the incredible 80’s soundtrack combined with Michael Andrews‘ ethereal score is just magnificent.

Now, regarding the directors cut, I know that some people absolutely hate it, they feel that Kelly ruined the film. I quite like it, I like that the audio queues are different, like originally planned and the extra scenes are carefully chosen as to not feel totally superfluous. It’s a decent alternative.

Special features
Theatrical cut;
Deus Ex Machina: the philosophy of Donnie Darko – The jewel in the crown of this set is a brand new, 85-minute, in depth documentary on the making of the film. Split into chapters: Script, Cast & Crew, Production, Post-production, Release and Directors Cut. Includes interviews with Richard Kelly, producers, editors, composers and actors. I do wish they could have gotten more actors involved though, the only one they could get was James Duvall, who played Frank. Obviously most of the cast have gone on to have spectacularly successful careers so I assume they were too busy. Also hoped they would have gone into more detail into the deeper meanings and interpretations in the script but apart from that it is a must see for any fan of the film or filmmaking in general.

They made me to it too – Originally found on the directors cut DVD, this is a 30 minute doc studying the cult of the film, primarily in the UK. Includes interviews with fans and what the film means to them, phone conversations with Richard Kelly and interviews with professional fans. The music, the way it was shot is excellent. One of the best features in this set.

They made me to it too – Originally found on the directors cut DVD, this is a 30 minute doc studying the cult of the film, primarily in the UK. Includes interviews with fans and what the film means to them, phone conversations with Richard Kelly and interviews with professional fans. The music, the way it was shot is excellent. One of the best features in this set.

Goodbye Place – A never before seen short film directed by Richard Kelly, years before Darko but you can still see some of the techniques he would utilise later on in his career.

Deleted and Extended Scenes – 30 minutes of scenes (with optional Kelly commentary) some of which were reinstated for the directors cut. Most of the other ones were definitely deleted for a reason, nothing that really adds anything to the story.

Audio Commentary with Richard Kelly and Jake Gyllenhaal – I’m not sure when this was recorded but I have a feeling it was very close to the initial release of the film, just the way they talk is like they don’t yet know the audience reactions to the film.

Commentary with Richard Kelly and Cast + Crew – This commentary with a lot of the principal cast is a bit too anarchic, they talk over each other way too much. Again, I think this was recorded quite a few years ago.

Directors Cut;
Production Diaries – 50 minutes of handheld footage of location scouts, b-roll footage and interviews.
Archival Interviews – Interviews filmed during the filming of Darko with the principal cast, Kelly, producers and DP.
They made me do it – a short film when they gave graffiti artists 6 hours 48 minutes and 12 seconds to make a piece of art inspired by the film.
Storyboard Comparisons – a scene from the film along with the storyboards, in real time.
#1 Fan – A short film from the winner of a competition to find Donnie Darko’s #1 fan.
B-roll Footage – 5 minutes of footage from behind the scenes of filming.
Cunning Visions Informercials – The Jim Cunningham informercials shown in the film with optional joke commentary (as if the makers of the actual infomercials were doing it).
Music Video – Video for Mad World by Michael Andrews feat. Gary Jules, a Christmas #1 in the UK.
Image Gallery – Gallery of images from infront of and behind the scenes.
TV Spots & Trailer – Gallery of UK and US tv spots and a trailer for the DC.
Commentary with Richard Kelly & Kevin Smith – This commentary is quite interesting. Smith has nothing to do with the film but, as Kelly himself says, it would be pretty boring on his own which is the reason he bought him in. It’s a very fun track.

THE definitive release for this modern masterpiece.

Peter Fletcher

sci-fi, thriller | USA, 2001 | 15 | Arrow Video | 12th December 2016 (UK)| Dir.Richard Kelly | Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Drew Barrymore, Mary McDonnell, Katharine Ross |Buy:Limited Edition Dual Format

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I’m just a normal, working guy who loves movies.
I have a wide range of tastes, ranging from Brit thrillers to Russian dramas. There is no greater feeling to me than to discover new movies.

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