Donnie Darko
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Donnie Darko

113 min | 133 min (director's cut)
Drama | Mystery | Sci-Fi
IMDB rate:
Richard Kelly
11 wins & 12 nominations
Country: USA
Release Date: 2002-01-30
Filming Locations: Santa Clarita, California, USA
Budget: $4,500,000
Opening Weekend: $24,728 (USA) (6 June 2004)
Gross: $727,883 (USA) (3 October 2004)
Drew Barrymore
Drew Barrymore
Donnie Darko
Patrick Swayze
Patrick Swayze
Donnie Darko
Jake Gyllenhaal
Donnie Darko
Holmes Osborne
Eddie Darko
Maggie Gyllenhaal
Elizabeth Darko
Daveigh Chase
Samantha Darko
Mary McDonnell
Rose Darko
James Duval
Arthur Taxier
Dr. Fisher
Mark Hoffman
Police Officer
David St. James
Bob Garland
Tom Tangen
Man in Red Jogging Suit
Jazzie Mahannah
Joanie James
Jolene Purdy
Cherita Chen
Stuart Stone
Ronald Fisher
Gary Lundy
Sean Smith
Alex Greenwald
Seth Devlin
Beth Grant
Kitty Farmer
Jena Malone
Gretchen Ross
Seth Rogen
Ricky Danforth
David Moreland
Principal Cole
Noah Wyle
Prof. Kenneth Monnitoff
Kristina Malota
Susie Bates
Marina Malota
Emily Bates
Carly Naples
Suzy Bailey
Patience Cleveland
Roberta Sparrow
Katharine Ross
Dr. Lilian Thurman
Lisa K. Wyatt
Linda Connie
Rachel Winfree
Shanda Riesman
Jack Salvatore Jr.
Larry Riesman
Lee Weaver
Phyllis Lyons
Anne Fisher
Ashley Tisdale
Kim, Dorky Girl
Alison Jones
Dorky Half-Sister
Jerry Trainor
Lanky Kid
Joan Blair
Mystery Woman
Fran Kranz
Scotty Leavenworth
Conrad Angel Corral
Vice Principal (uncredited)
Phil Hawn
Teacher (uncredited)
Nancy Juvonen
Flight Attendant (uncredited)
Margaret Kontra Palmer
Concerned Mother (uncredited)
Dee Austin Robertson
Movie Ticket Salesman (uncredited)
Jack Truman
Teacher (uncredited)
Did you know?
Someone at the house party jumps on a trampoline, wearing a Ronald Reagan mask. This is taken from a photo of Hunter S. Thompson doing the same.
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Richard Kelly said that the movie had a very difficult time finding a US distributor. Since the film embodied myriad genres and tones, distributors were confused by the movie's message, and how to market it. Additionally, Kelly also claims that "Darko" was very close to premiering on the Starz network until Newmarket Films picked up the film for theatrical distribution.
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Seth Rogen's feature film debut.
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While in the car with his father, the passenger side mirror can be seen outside of the window. During the back and forth shots between Donnie and his father, the mirror noticeably changes angles.
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The name of the high school is "Middlesex," which would obviously be abbreviated "MHS" for Middlesex High School. Immediately before Donnie's time travel conversation with his teacher, we see the top of the entrance of the school. There is a stone cross there with the letters "IHS". However, "IHS" is catholic acronym from Greek name of Jesus (Ihsous) and is commonly placed on the crosses. This letters aren't supposed to be acronym for the name of the school.
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When Donnie's science teacher begins talking about Roberta Sparrow's book, Donnie puts the Slinky around his neck. The camera cuts to Donnie taking the book and cuts directly back to a rear angle of Donnie to show the Slinky still taut around his neck, which it would not be if he had released his grip on one end of it.
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Donnie: Frank. When's this gonna stop?
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Elizabeth: I'm voting for Dukakis.
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Dr. Lilian Thurman: If this world were to end, there would only be you and him... and no one else.
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Why is Donnie laughing at the end and/or why doesn't he get out of bed?
Richard Kelly states this in the DVD commentary (with Jake Gyllenhal): (1) Donnie laughs for the same reason the other characters were reflective at the end. As explained in the POTT, they have some memory, if not of details than of a feeling. And since Donnie saved the world by finally preventing the recurring time loop, it makes sense he feels great (even if he doesn't understand why, and especially since he doesn't realize he is about to die). (2) The journey through the Tangent Universe had solved Donnie's problem of dying alone through achieving enlightenment, and he subsequently knew he was going to "something better" (from his letter to Roberta Sparrow). He was therefore laughing through sheer joy and anticipation and didn't want to get out of bed.
As Jim Cunningham isn't caught in the Primary Universe, doesn't that mean Donnie failed in revealing him as a criminal?
The Philosophy of Time Travel, the chapter Dreams states "When the Manipulated awaken from their Journey into the Tangent Universe, they are often haunted by the experience in their dreams.... Those who do remember the journey are often overcome with profound remorse for the regretful actions buried within their dreams..." This is seen in the film during the "Mad World" sequence when Jim Cunningham wakes up sobbing with what appears to be guilt. To further prove this, hidden on is a newspaper article about Jim Cunningham's suicide, which occurs in the Primary Universe on October 12, 1988, just days after Donnie's death. Cunningham's suicide took place on the fourteenth hole of the Sarasota Heights Country Club golf course, which is where he first met Donnie.Also, Donnie did not fail in revealing him as a criminal because that was never his main goal. Frank told Donnie to burn down Cunningham's house, which eventually led to the discovery of his kiddie porn dungeon. This leads Mrs. Farmer to go to Cunningham's defence instead of on the trip with Sparkle Motion, causing Rose Darko to go on the trip instead, which allows Donnie and Elizabeth to throw a party. Frank leaves this party to get more beer and has to drive by Grandma Death's house on the way back, which is where Frank runs over Gretchen and Donnie kills Frank. Without this party, Gretchen wouldn't have been killed. So, according to the Philosophy of Time Travel, since the Ensurance Trap (Gretchen's death, caused by Frank) was successful, the Living Receiver (Donnie) is left with no choice but to use his Fourth Dimensional Power to send the Artifact back in time into the Primary Universe before the Black Hole collapses upon itself. So burning down Cunningham's house was much more important than Donnie revealing him as a criminal (although Cunningham's suicide shows that he still suffers for his actions).
Why is Donnie smiling at the beginning of the film, when he wakes up?
It is possible that Donnie finds the odd places he wakes up amusing. It is equally possible that Donnie recognizes the nature of the time loop he is in and is laughing at his defying of death once again by showing up at the beginning of his own story.
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Photos from cast
Drew Barrymore Patrick Swayze Tiler Peck Sarah Hudson