Probably one of my favorite films of the last decade is a small, indie film which became a cult hit. That film, which you can probably guess from the title of this post, is Donnie Darko. Darko came out of nowhere when it had a limited release in 2001, and didn't really go anywhere. The movie grossed less than a million dollars upon release, not even a quarter of its budget. Luckily the movie became an instant cult classic and gained in popularity enough to warrant the studio giving director Richard Kelly more money to finish the film he originally set out to make. In 2004 this version was released at The Director's Cut. And today both versions of the film are coming to the world in High Definition thanks to Blu-Ray.
I first saw the movie on my computer thanks to a friend who'd given me a copy he got through shady means. (The movie didn't come to out little town of Abilene, Tx so thus we justified it.) I remember being thouroughly confused as I couldn't read the text and thus missed so much. But even with being confused I knew I was watching something brilliant. Months later when it came out on DVD my friend and I sat down and watched it again, and once again I was confused. Even so, I still fell in love with the movie.
I've since watched the film multiple times and each time I've watched it I pick up a little more of the film. I've even watched every special feature and watched the movie with commentary (I love special features and commentary but rarely watch all stuff on the the discs) and I still don't have a complete grasp on the film.
In 2004 when The Director's Cut came out I once again wasn't in a town where it hit screens, so I picked it up the first day it was on DVD. And I've owned it for over 4 years and yet I've still never watched the Director's Cut. But now with it hitting Blu-Ray I aim to do just that.
I hope to have a review of the Blu-Ray disc and it's special features up soon. But for now here's the specs on the disc as well as a little synopsis of the film all from the press release.
"From Director Richard Kelly, this sensational and disturbing masterpiece defies genre boundaries and simple explanations. Starring Oscar®-nominee Jake Gyllenhaal (The Day After Tomorrow, Jarhead), DONNIE DARKO follows a delusional high school student who is visited by demonic rabbit with eerie visions of the past – and deadly predictions for the future.
Boasting powerful supporting performances by an all-star cast including Golden Globe®-nominee Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Dark Knight), Golden Globe®-nominee Drew Barrymore (He’s Just Not That Into You; Charlie’s Angels), Golden Globe®-nominee Jena Malone (Into The Wild, The Ruins), Daveigh Chase (“Big Love”), Golden Globe®-nominee Patrick Swayze (Ghost; Dirty Dancing) and Golden Globe®-nominee Noah Wyle (“ER”), DONNIE DARKO Blu-ray Disc includes two versions of the film: theatrical and director’s cut – featuring 20 minutes of additional footage – audio commentary with writer/director Richard Kelly and Jake Gyllenhaal and more.
Donnie Darko is a disturbed adolescent from a dysfunctional upper middle class family who narrowly escapes death when a jet engine crashes in his bedroom. He has visions of a giant rabbit, Frank, who instructs him to make violent acts and informs him that the world will end in 28 days.
BD-Specific Special Features:
The DONNIE DARKO Blu-ray Disc is presented in widescreen format (2.35:1 aspect ratio) on a 50GB dual-layer disc authored in BD-J with AVC (MPEG 4) compression with English 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio, Spanish/French 2.0 Audio plus English, French and Spanish subtitles.
Bonus features include:
Commentary with Writer/Director Richard Kelly and Jake Gyllenhaal (Theatrical Version)
Commentary with Cast and Crew (Theatrical)
Commentary with Writer/Director Richard Kelly and Kevin Smith (Director’s Cut)
Standard Definition Special Features
A second standard def disc is also included and presented with English Dolby Surround 2.0 and English Dolby Digital 5.1 in widescreen (aspect ratio 2.35:1). Bonus features include a Donnie Darko Production Diary with optional commentary by director of photography Steven Poster, “They Made Me Do It Too—The Cult Of Donnie Darko,” a storyboard to screen featurette, “#1 Fan: A Darkomentary” and the director’s cut theatrical trailer.