Donnie Darko: The Director's Cut

Rated R 133 minutes 2001

Richard Kelly's surreal, subversive mix of sci-fi and teen drama tanked at the box office in 2001 but has since become a cult favorite. With 20 minutes of additional footage, this release introduces the characters in a more leisurely fashion and provides a more elaborate rationale for Kelly's enigmatic time-travel story. Jake Gyllenhaal plays the title character, an angry suburban teen whose visions of a fearsome six-foot bunny lead him to believe he's been chosen to save the universe. I prefer the tighter (and more baffling) original, but numerous moments from this version reminded me how artfully Kelly balances thorny metaphysics with a loving portrayal of Donnie's misfit family and spiritually bankrupt high school. In either version this is extraordinary, one of the key American films of the decade.

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