“Donnie Darko” Gets 4K Restoration Treatment and Premieres at BFI Southbank

Cult classic Donnie Darko was released in 2001. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler, Zodiac, Nocturnal Animals) as troubled Donald Darko, the movie explores both time travel and mental health as Donnie and Frank (the man in a large, terrifying bunny suit that tells Donnie the world is ending in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes, and 12 seconds) navigate their way through a turbulent timeline.


Though it initially received a negative response, when it released on VHS and DVD it gained a cult following, which then spread to the United Kingdom – where Donnie Darko sold over 300, 000 tickets in its first six weeks.


It’s only fitting that with such a welcome reception in the UK, the 4K restoration undertaken by Arrow Films premiered at London’s BFI Southbank. The film opened on the 17th December 2016 to a full house at 20:15, and was followed by a Q&A by director Richard Kelly.


Few in the room raised their hands to being asked whether this was their first time watching Donnie Darko, but those who did were in for a treat. The film itself is a wonderful, thoughtful and visually provoking classic, and it’s well-loved for several good reasons – the masterful attention to detail taken by Kelly, the dynamic between Donnie and his family in the opening scene, and the mystery of what’s happening in this suburban town in relation to Donnie’s visions of Frank the Rabbit. Viewing the movie in restored quality, on a cinema screen in 2016, is a real treat.


For a movie about time travel and the theories surrounding it, it’s incredibly fitting that Donnie Darko is so timeless. The visual effects hold up well for its release date and the budget that the production had to work with ($4.5 million, according to Kelly), so it is truly a privilege that fans of all ages can come and see this movie in the big screen.


Arrow Films has done a beautiful restoration of Donnie Darko, and the movie is more than worthy of the time and effort this company has put into the restoration – it is a true testimont to how timeless a movie is when the full house in London’s BFI Southbank is a full spectrum of ages, from the middle-aged who would have been lucky enough to experience Donnie Darko when it began, to the new generation of Darko fans who are here for the next wave.

The Donnie Darko Limited Edition release is available to purchase from the BFI Shop.



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