Donnie Darko, the 2001 science fiction thriller, has been listed as one of the greatest science fiction films of all time, one of the greatest independent films of all time, as well as one of the greatest cult films of all time. Written and directed by first timer Richard Kelly, it takes place in 1988 during the key years of Generation X. With its ennui, bleakness, and humor, the film became a fan favorite and a beacon for its generation.
Donnie, a young and troubled teenager, lives in a typical suburban town in Virginia. With its manicured lawns, happy families, and cute and fancy sports cars, nothing seems to be out of line. But looking at the high school students, we see something a bit different. Melancholy and angst makes everything less idyllic than it seems. And then Donnie begins to have visions which may lead to one young man turning the entire community upside down.
Starring Jake Gyllenhaal in a career defining role that would lead him to become one of movie’s biggest stars, the film also includes strong supporting roles by Drew Barrymore, Katharine Ross, Noah Wyle, Jena Malone, and Patrick Swayze in a part that is out of character for the actor. With Arrow Films releasing the 2017 special addition box set of the film, Dark Discussions revisits the classic movie.