Star Rating:

Donnie Darko

Director: Richard Kelly

Actors: Drew Barrymore, Jena Malone, Jake Gyllenhaal

Release Date: Wednesday 13th November 2002

Genre(s): Drama, Sci-Fi

Running time: 113 minutes

One of those rare films that defies categorisation, Donnie Darko is the debut of writer-director Richard Kelly and ranks amongst the most unpredictable and refreshing films you're likely to see this year.

Set in 1988, Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a bookish student who has "emotional problems" and attends weekly meetings with his therapist. Perhaps due to his reluctance to take his anti-depressants, Donnie is prone to odd behaviour, and has a tendency to sleep walk. However, nothing can prepare him for the appearance of a grotesque six-foot bunny, who tells him that the world will end within a month.

After waking up on a local golf course, Donnie returns home to his Wasp-ish family to discover that a jet's engine has fallen from the sky, landing on the roof of his home. From here, the rabbit makes regular reappearances and asks Donnie to do some very strange things indeed. To go into too much detail would ruin this genuinely strange film, but Donnie Darko is an unsettling yet highly original piece of work.

A remarkable blend of fantasy and reality, it's one of those pictures that probably requires a second viewing in order to understand exactly what the director is getting at, such is the wild scope of his ambition.

Admittedly, it probably won't sate those on the lookout for instant thrills, but if you're after a perplexing yet innovative experience, Donnie Darko is it.