“Donnie Darko” Is Still Popular 20 Years Later

The cult-classic, “Donnie Darko,” has been out for twenty years now. Let’s look back at this critically-acclaimed film.

“Donnie Darko” is a science fiction psychological thriller film directed by Richard Kelly and starring Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Drew Barrymore, and the late Patrick Swayze. The film is set in October of 1988 and follows the life of Donnie Darko, a teenager with “hallucinations” of a figure in a rabbit costume, Frank. Frank informs Donnie that the world is going to end in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes, and 12 seconds. Donnie doesn’t believe him at first, but then realizes that he is the only one who can save the world. The filming for the movie took, ironically, 28 days. 

“Donnie Darko” premiered in January 2001 at the Sundance Film Festival and in theaters in October 2001. Since the film had a scene with a plane crash and the 9/11 terror attacks had just taken place, the movie didn’t do as well at the box office in the US. In other parts of the world, the film was a hit.

In 2003, Kelly published “The Donnie Darko Book,” which includes a foreword by Jake Gyllenhaal in which he talks about how confusing and mysterious the film is. It also includes an interview with Kelly where he discusses making the film and the marketing of it. The book includes the whole script of the film and some pages from “The Philosophy of Time Travel.”

Today, it continues to be applauded for its awe-inspiring strangeness as more and more people are discovering the film.