Donnie Darko returns with this beautiful 4k treatment and a truck load of special features

Fifteen years before Stranger Things combined science fiction, Spielbergian touches and 80s nostalgia to much acclaim, Richard Kelly set the template – and the high-water mark – with his debut feature, Donnie Darko. 

Donnie (played by Jake Gyllenhaal ) is a troubled high school student: in therapy, prone to sleepwalking and in possession of an imaginary friend, a six-foot rabbit named Frank, who tells him the world is going to end in 28 days, 06 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds. During that time he will navigate teenage life, narrowly avoid death in the form of a falling jet engine, follow Frank’s maladjusted instructions and try to maintain the space-time continuum.

Described by its director as “The Catcher in the Rye as told by Philip K. Dick”, Donnie Darko combines an eye-catching, eclectic cast – pre-stardom Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal, heartthrob Patrick Swayze, former child star Drew Barrymore, Oscar nominees Mary McDonnell and Katharine Ross, and television favourite Noah Wyle – and an evocative soundtrack of 80s classics by Echo and the Bunnymen, Tears for Fears and Duran Duran. This brand-new 4K restoration, carried out exclusively for this release by Arrow Films, allows a modern classic to finally receive the home video treatment it deserves and whilst I recently picked up the previous Arrow release of this film (which itself has a great list of special features and a beautiful transfer) This new edition has even more and is tempted me to upgrade.  Along side the newly released 2 disc edition of Richard Kellys follow up film Southland Tales (also from Arrow) I sense a Richard Kelly double bill coming up soon when it comes to the films I revisit during this latest pandemic lockdown.  But back to Darko. Check out the list of special features for this impressive set. 

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY LIMITED EDITION CONTENTS

• New 4K restorations of both the Theatrical Cut and the Director’s Cut from the original camera negatives by Arrow Films, supervised and approved by director Richard Kelly and cinematographer Steven Poster
• 4K (2160p) UHD Blu-ray presentations of both cuts in Dolby Vision (HDR10 compatible)
• Original DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio
• Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
• 100-page hardcover book featuring writing by Nathan Rabin, Anton Bitel and Jamie Graham, an in-depth interview with Richard Kelly, an introduction by Jake Gyllenhaal and contemporary coverage, illustrated with original stills and promotional materials
• Double-sided fold-out poster featuring newly commissioned artwork by Luke Preece
• Six double-sided collector’s postcards
• Limited Edition packaging with reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Luke Preece

DISC 1 – THE THEATRICAL CUT [4K UHD BLU-RAY]

• Audio commentary by writer-director Richard Kelly and actor Jake Gyllenhaal
• Audio commentary by Kelly, producer Sean McKittrick and actors Drew Barrymore, Jena Malone, Beth Grant, Mary McDonnell, Holmes Osborne, Katharine Ross and James Duval
• Deus ex Machina: The Philosophy of Donnie Darko, a very impressive and detailed feature length documentary by Ballyhoo Motion Pictures on the making of Donnie Darko, containing interviews with writer-director Richard Kelly, producer Sean McKittrick, cinematographer Steven Poster, editor Sam Bauer, composer Michael Edwards, costume designer April Ferry, production designer Alec Hammond and actor James Duval
• The Goodbye Place, Kelly’s 1996 short film, which anticipates some of the themes and ideas of his feature films
• 20 deleted and alternate scenes with optional commentary by Kelly
• Trailer

DISC 2 – THE DIRECTOR’S CUT [4K UHD BLU-RAY]

• Audio commentary by Kelly and filmmaker Kevin Smith
• The Donnie Darko Production Diary, an archival documentary charting the film’s production, with optional commentary by cinematographer Steven Poster
• 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
• Director’s Cut trailer
• TV spots

26th April, 2021

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