It's baa-aack ... Donnie Darko, The Director's Cut

A few years ago, my friend Thomas flew into town from Texas for the annual AppleCom and he dedicated our traditional bookstore tour to including finding me a DVD copy of Donnie Darko, which he praised to the skies.

He was right. It was lovely and dark and fascinating. The narrative style was fresh and innovative, Jake Gyllenhaal as fascinating as a blank-visaged basilisk, and the recurring elements bizarre and perfect. Left me thinking.

The following morning, my smarter-than-me-but-she-lets-me-use her-best-lines wife said: "You know that movie we watched last night? It was It's a Wonderful Life."

Well ... yes, ok, if you stuck your hand all the way down the throat of It's a Wonderful Life and pulled it inside out, it would be Donnie Darko. (I don't think it gives too much away to say that in this case, the question might be, "What would the world be like if I didn't die?")

The movie may have something to do with time travel or perhaps not.

Roger Ebert seems to have come to really like this movie the second time around, despite the fact that, as he says in his review:

"I'm no closer to being able to explain the film's events than I was after seeing the 2001 version, which was about 20 minutes shorter. The difference is, that doesn't bother me so much. The movie remains impenetrable to logical analysis, but now I ask myself: What logical analysis would explain the presence of 6-foot-tall rabbit with what looks like the head of a
science-fiction insect?"

The DVD actually allowed for a bit more comprehension, the excised scenes, while rightfully deleted, adding some insight to the depth of the story.

It was a victim of inadvertent bad timing in its first release.

A dark tale about a jet engine falling from the sky was not exactly what the public thought they wanted in October of 2001. (The Donnie Darko story takes place in October.)

For the story of the long strange path from there to here, check Adam Burnett's article on Indiewire.


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