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Richard Kelly's astounding debut feature is a mix of stylish eighties veneer and existential horror starring Jake Gyllenhaal as the troubled teen who is haunted by a giant rabbit prophesying the apocalypse.
Director: Richard Kelly
Blessed with the energy and style of a first time director given the opportunity to put his vision to screen, Richard Kelly has never bettered his stylish and enrapturing debut feature. In his breakout role as the titular character, Jake Gyllenhaal plays a teenager plagued by visions of a giant rabbit called Frank who forewarns him of the coming apocalypse. As Donnie seems to descend into madness, he meets Gretchen (Jena Malone), a timid girl who may hold the key to his redemption.
A dreamy phantasmagoria that blends coming-of-age fantasy, 80's pop culture, mind-bending sci-fi and existential horror, Donnie Darko is a cult classic that's worth regularly revisiting. Following a muted response to its initial US release, the film first acquired a devoted audience in the UK, bewitching those who discovered it with its mix of rich visuals, an indelible soundtrack and perplexing ambiguities. Anchored by an elusive yet magnetic performance from a young Jake Gyllenhaal and featuring a talented cast including Drew Barrymore and Patrick Swayze, Donnie Darko addresses timeless themes of alienation, growing up and how to deal when your best friend is a giant rabbit named Frank.