“DONNIE DARKO”— The Man in the Rabbit Suit

“Donnie Darko”

The Man in the Rabbit Suit

Amos Lassen

After narrowly escaping a strange accident, a troubled teenager, Donnie Darko, is plagued by visions of a man in a large rabbit suit who manipulates him to commit a series of crimes, after he narrowly escapes a bizarre accident. Donnie is introverted, medicated and dreams that he is being stalked by a tall rabbit who warns him of the oncoming Apocalypse. Set in suburbia in 1988 on the eve of Halloween, we meet Donnie (Jake Gyllenhaal) who captivates us as the titular anti-hero of the plot. The film has become a cult classic with an endless amount of lines to quote and several images that remain in the memories of the viewers.

This is director Richard Kelly’s debut and it is a tale of adolescent angst ripe with enigmatic sci-fi underpinnings. Regardless of whether Donnie is seemingly deranged or merely on the brink of saving humanity from itself, his time-warping fantasies are metaphors for confused teenage male development. By film’s end, Kelly has expertly transformed his comfortable ’80s milieu into a look at moral complacency and heartbreak.

This is director Kelly’s idea of what life was like in the ’80s. After Frank saves Donnie from the plane engine that crashes into his bedroom, Donnie comes to believe Frank’s prophecy that the world will end in 28 days. Halloween’s arrival and the Bush/Dukakis race pitch-perfectly compliment the film’s apocalyptic wind-down. With doomsday nearing, Donnie becomes a messianic character who rids the town of self-righteous false prophets, while also finding time to have a romance with Gretchen (Jena Malone). Donnie is determined to get to the new-age gym teacher who makes little emotional allowances outside her fear/love lifeline. Her downfall is followed by and linked to the fiery demise of a self-help guru played by Patrick Swayze, whose motivational shenanigans Donnie hysterically shoots to the ground.

In search for enlightenment, Donnie does away with the town’s false prophet, whose participation in a kiddie porn ring seems to shatter the entire town’s sense of complacency. The film is an affront to ’80s naiveté that is mindful of strange events that seemingly happen for a reason though not always for the better good.

Special features include:

– Brand new 4K restorations of both the Theatrical Cut and the Director’s Cut from the original camera negatives produced by Arrow Films exclusively for this release, supervised and approved by director Richard Kelly and cinematographer Steven Poster

– High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentations of both cuts

– Original 5.1 audio

– Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing

– Audio commentary by writer-director Richard Kelly and actor Jake Gyllenhaal on the Theatrical Cut

– Audio commentary by Kelly, producer Sean McKittrick and actors Drew Barrymore, Jena Malone, Beth Grant, Mary McDonnell, Holmes Osborne, Katharine Ross and James Duval on the Theatrical Cut

– Audio commentary by Kelly and filmmaker Kevin Smith on the Director’s Cut

– Brand-new interviews with Richard Kelly and others

The Goodbye Place, Kelly’s 1996 short film, which anticipates some of the themes and ideas of his feature films

The Donnie Darko Production Diary, an archival documentary charting the film’s production with optional commentary by cinematographer Steven Poster

– Twenty deleted and alternate scenes with optional commentary by Kelly

– Archive interviews with Kelly, actors Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Drew Barrymore, James Duval, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Holmes Osborne, Noah Wyle and Katharine Ross, producers Sean McKittrick, Nancy Juvonen, Hunt Lowry and Casey La Scala, and cinematographer Steven Poster

– Three archive featurettes: They Made Me Do It, They Made Me Do It Too and #1 Fan: A Darkomentary

– Storyboard comparisons

– B-roll footage

– Cunning Visions infomercials

– Music Video: Mad World by Gary Jules

– Galleries

– Trailers

– TV spots

– Illustrated collector’s booklet containing new writing by Nathan Rabin

– Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Candice Tripp

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