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Donnie Darko


  • Theatrical Version
  • Director's Cut
Release: Mar 28, 2008 - Author: LJSilver - Translator: klepp - external link: IMDB
The Director`s Cut is 19 min. 44 sec. longer than the theatrical version!

Comparison between the Director's cut and the theatrical version. The Director's cut was represented by the UK-DVD from Metrodome, the theatrical version by the German Special Edition from MCOne. Richard Kelly grudgingly had to cut 20 minutes out of his festival-version of Donnie Darko for the theatrical release. The reasons for that were the new run time suited a release in theaters better and the high license-fees for the music. After the huge success on DVD, Kelly was allowed to deliver his Director's cut (which isn't supposed to be identical to the version shown at the festivals). Changes compared to the theatrical version in short:

  • More deepness of the characters. Especially the characters of Drew Barrymore alias Karen Pomeroy and Eddie Darko profit from that.

  • More enlightenment. Thanks to the new text inserts, the audience is not kept in the dark for that long. That's rather bad for friends of puzzles, of course. In that case, people who see the movie for the first time should watch the theatrical version.

  • Better music. Some of the songs were replaced as well as parts of the instrumental soundtrack. In some scenes it now sounds darker and more threatening.

Note from the translator:
Used Abbreviations:
DC: Director's Cut
TV: Theatrical version

00:00 min.

Different corporate symbols in the TV.

length: no time-difference.

ca. 2:30 min.

INXS ("Never tear us apart") is played instead of Echo and the Bunnymen ("The Killing Moon").

length: no time-difference.

05:53 min. - 06:11 min.

Rose Darko blames her daughter Elizabeth for not telling her about Donnie's discontinuation of his pharmaceuticals.

length: DC 18 sec. longer.

7:04 min. - 7:13 min.

We see Rose walking down the hallway. After that a shot of Donnie.

length: DC 9 sec. longer.

08:00 min. - 08:23 min.

The speech of presidential candidate Dukakis in the television is a bit longer. A shot of Eddie Darko follows, it's a little longer in the DC. Now you already see George Bush sen. on the TV in the theatrical version while Dukakis is still talking in the DC.

length: DC 8 sec. longer.

8:38 min. - 8:49 min.

Another shot of Donnie's room with him sleeping.

length: DC 11 sec. longer.

8:53 min. - 9:21 min.

After the dawn of the new day (2.10.1988) via text insert the DC features a long sequence of blackscreen with threatening sound-effects, until eventually Frank's ghost-voice announces: "Wake up!" After that, we see a closeup of an eye with an expanding pupil. Then, for a millisecond, Franks rabbit-head is cut in (like in Fight Club). The transition shot of the Darkos' house is much longer in the DC, too.

From now on, the eye always symbolizes the tasks and abilities which he gets "implanted" by Frank.

length: DC 28 sec. longer.

9:56 min. - 10:14 min.

Sleep-walking Donnie enters the living room with his father sleeping in front of the television in an additional shot.

length: DC 18 sec. longer

15:24 min. - 17:27 min.

The family Darko in the Holiday Inn. In the DC there was a bit of recutting. In the DC the scene in the children's room comes first, then the scene in the parents' room. In the TV the scene in the parents' room is first and then the scene in the children's room, but both scenes heavily shortened.

In the children's room there are the following extensions: Donnie tells Samantha to shut up, whereupon Samantha expresses her dislike towards Donnie. Donnie takes his revenge by telling her that he will fart in her face when she sleeps.

After that there is the extended scene in the parents' room in the DC, with a new piece of Eddie Darko wondering if Donnie has a guardian angel.

length: DC 67 sec. longer.

22:41 min.

In the DC the shot of the teacher Karen Pomeroy is disrupted by an additional shot of the class examining Gretchen distrustfully.

length: DC 3 sec. longer.

23:29 min. - 23:54 min.

The beginning of the car ride is another take and remarkably longer in the DC. Here father and son are arguing about the radio station.

length: DC 18 sec. longer.



ca. 27:15 min.

While Miss Farmer is showing the "Controlling Fear"-video, Frank tells Donnie off-screen to pay attention in order not to miss anything.

length: no time difference.

27:28 min. - 27:43 min.

Longer shot of the sleeping Donnie. Again the eye with the millisecond-rabbit-head and a transparent image of water over it. Another step in Donnie's evolution (the strength to hit the ax in the bronze sculpture) is being symbolized by that. Accordingly, the water raises the idea in Donnie to demolish the water pipe.

length: DC 15 sec. longer.

28:18 min.

After Donnie has beaten the water-pipe with the ax we see him sitting on the bed again in the theatrical version.

length: TV 4 sec. longer.

28:29 min. - 29:12 min.

Bus stop: Donnie takes Samantha's poem and makes fun of it. The waiting students wonder where the bus is and make fun of fat Charita Chen once more..

length: DC 43 sec. longer.

29:53 min. - 30:01 min.

Samantha tells some students what happened at school. The scene from the TV comes later in the DC.

length: DC 1 sec. longer.

30:07 min. - 30:15 min.

Now the scene from the TV, in which Samantha tells the students something about baby-mice in the boys' locker room.

length: DC 8 sec. longer.

35:40 min. - 35:48 min.

A new shot of Karen Pomeroy in the DC. Afterwards Cherita is selected to write the phrase "They made me do it" on the blackboard, Donnie gets visibly nervous.

length: DC 8 sec. longer.

35:52 min. - 35:56 min.

Donnie gets even more nervous when Cherita sits down again because it is his turn now.

length: DC 4 sec. longer.

39:49 min. - 40:09 min.

At the parent-teacher conference Miss Farmer sucks up to the guests and passes handouts around. Karen Pomeroy asks her what the whole thing is supposed to be. Miss Farmer responds that urine and feces had been swimming in her office. Pomeroy responds snidely "Whatever fits!". This scene reveals the gap between the conservative Miss Farmer and the liberal Karen Pomeroy.

length: DC 20 sec. longer.

42:59 min. - 44:09 min.

It is Poetry Day at school. Donnie has written a poem about Frank. Karen Pomeroy wants to know who Frank is. Donnie says that he is a 2 meter plush rabbit, whereupon everybody starts laughing.

After the change of scene, a big part of the Cunning Visions-video is missing

length: DC 70 sec. longer.

ca. 48:50 min.

In the DC Frank's line from the off "I can show you the way!" is missing

length: no time difference.

51:07 min. - 51:22 min.

From this point on Donnie's development and his doings are subdivided into chapters in the Book of Time Travel.

Chapter 1: The Tangent Universe

Meaning of chapter 1, approximately : The story takes place in a tangent universe which is unstable and which exists only for a short period of time (the time that is left for Donnie till the end of the world). The danger is that when the tangent universe collapses, it can form a black hole that could also destroy the primary universe.

length: DC 15 sec. longer.

55:08 min.

In the DC there is 1 sec. of the scene missing that shows the transparent "path" coming out of Donnie's stomach.

length: TV 1 sec. longer.

55:18 min.

How Donnie's father follows the "path" is shown at regular speed at the end in the TV while it is shown in fast motion in the DC.

length: TV 1 sec. longer.

55:22 min.

This time the beginning of the shot is in fast motion in the DC.

length: TV 1 sec. longer.

55:32 min.

A shot of Donnie is missing as well as one of his father sitting down in his armchair again.

length: TV 6 sec. longer.

55:57 min.

The "path" forming an index finger abd thus signaling Donnie to come is missing in the DC.

length: TV 5 sec. longer.

56:40 min. - 56:43 min.

The dawn of a new day: In the DC there is a text insert that announces the 10/18/88 and 12 remaining days.

length: DC 3 sec. longer.

56:59 min. - 57:23 min.

The text insert is shown in the TV not until now. Then a new scene in the DC:

Donnie and Gretchen are seen in the classroom. Gretchen notices that Donnie has blood on his neck. Now water and the second chapter of the Book of Time Travel are put over this scenario again.

2. chapter: Water and Metal

Water and Metal are the key elements of Time Travel. Water is the barrier element for the construction of Time Portals used as gateways between Universes at the Tangent Vortex. (extension: Later you will find out that artifacts that can cross both worlds are made out of metal).

length: DC 21 sec. longer.

58:30 min. - 59:51 min.

Rose and Eddie Darko in the restaurant. Rose thinks that her son's comments towards Miss Farmer are not appropriate. Eddie, on the other hand, is proud of his son and wants to buy a moped for Donnie. Over this disagreement Rose says ironically that they should get divorced.

Change of scene. Donnie and Elizabeth are carving jack-o'-lanterns. Donnie's lantern looks like Frank's rabbit-head. Elizabeth says that it looks scary.

length: DC 81 sec. longer.

61:18 min. - 61:28 min.

In the end of the scene, when Donnie stabs the mirror, the editing is slightly different in the DC. Donnie is illuminated by the flash a bit longer but a short shot of Frank is missing after that. After this short cutaway there is another shot of Donnie's eye, this time with computer-data (formulas?) put over it, followed by water. After that, yet another shot of the Darko-parents listening horrified to the psychologist's explanations.

length: DC 9 sec. longer.

61:42 min. - 61:53 min.

The second line of penetrations in the mirror is also edited a little differently, but it has the same length. In the DC there is a longer shot of water again and a longer shot of Frank in the TV instead.

length: no time difference.

62:09 min. - 62:41 min.

Donnie and Gretchen in the amusement arcade. Donnie tells Gretchen that he is lead by a force. Gretchen asks if he is lead to a special place which he negates but says he wakes up further and further away from the house. The explaining text from the Book of Time Travel is there immediately.

Chapter 7: The Manipulated Living

The Manipulated Living will do anything to save themselves from Oblivion.

The scene-transitions are different in the two versions. In the DC a foggy forest-scenery, in the TV a shot of the school and the students in fast motion.

length: DC 28 sec. longer.



64:03 min. - 64:14 min.

While Cunningham is telling more about Frank everything is in fast motion. Donnie tells Gretchen that they are just now moving through time. Gretchen does not seem to notice anything.

length: DC 11 sec. longer.

64:19 min. - 65:43 min.

The event with Jim Cunningham was dismembered in the TV, hardly anything was left. In the TV we only hear the student's questions. In the DC Cunningham gives slimy advice to all of them.

length: DC 53 sec. longer.

68:26 min. - 69:41 min.

In the TV the scene dies out with an extended shot of Donnie, there is more in the DC. After a shot of Gretchen the two of them visit Grandma Death who is not at home. Leaving, they check the mailbox and notice Grandma Death standing on the porch. Frank gives Donnie the advice from the Off to write her a letter.

Chapter 4: The Artifact and the Living

When a Tangent Universe occurs, those living nearest to the Vortex will find themselves at the epicenter of a dangerous new world (which the movie is set in). Artifacts (in this case the turbine) provide the first sign that a Tangent Universe has occurred. If an Artifact occurs, the Living will retrieve it with great interest and curiosity. Artifacts are always formed from metal!

These words are highlighted with explaining images of the turbine.

length: DC 75 sec. longer.

71:13 min. - 72:08 min.

Karen Pomeroy announces that Graham Greene's book (The Destructors) got banned from school and that the students better should not be seen with it. She has ordered the books anyway, that will make her being fired more plausible later. In the meantime the class is supposed to read "Watership Down" by Richard Adams. When she hands out the books she tells Donnie that he and Frank can read the book together.

length: DC 55 sec. longer.

72:25 min. - 65:43 min.

Chapter 6: The living Receiver

The Living Receiver is chosen to guide the Artifact into position for it's journey back to the Primary Universe. No one knows how or why a Receiver will be chosen (here the possibility for religion is consciously left).The Living Receiver is often blessed with the power of the Fourth Dimension. These include increased strength, telekinesis, mind control, and the ability to conjure fire and water. The Living Receiver is often tormented by terrifying dreams, visions and auditory hallucinations during his time within the Tangent Universe.

length: DC 53 sec. longer.

78:20 min. - 78:29 min.

During the "Evil Dead"-screening the millisecond-rabbit-head appears in the DC again, this time highlighted with fire. In the TV the screen is morphed to Cunningham's house.

length: DC 3 sec. longer.



82:56 min. - 83:00 min.

A woman nods satisfied because "Sparkle Motion" is such a success. In the TV there is the proud Miss Farmer.

length: DC 2 sec. longer.



83:10 min.

In the TV we now have the shot of the nodding woman.

length: TV 4 sec. longer.

83:59 min. - 86:07 min.

Chapter 10: The manipulated Dead

Gretchen and Donnie wake up laying on a scarp. After that, there is a father-son-conversation with Eddie Darko telling him that he is not insane. He is supposed to remain honest and always tell the truth, no matter what others think. Most of the others are assholes anyway and only scared of him because he is so smart. This scene shows the intensive father-son-relationship and that Mr. Darko is not that different from his son.

length: DC 128 sec. longer.

86:49 min.

In the TV there's a traffic light in fast motion.

length: TV 2 sec. longer.

86:50 min. - 87:40 min.

In the TV the conversation between Karen Pomeroy and the principal is another take and longer. However, the effect in the DC is much better because the principal is avoiding the questions, creating the feeling that Karen is being mobbed out of her job. In the TV Karen blames the principal that because of the trash that is being taught the students are "slipping away" from the teachers. Here the effect on Karen is not that hard because she keeps a certain dignity in the TV while she is being polished off stone cold in the DC. The next scene of Karen running out of the school building and screaming "FUUUUUUUCK" is also another take.

length: TV 7 sec. longer.



88:33 min. - 90:32 min.

The students watch the video of "Watership down". In between a long shot of the thoughtful Karen Pomeroy. After that Karen and Donnie are discussing if a rabbit is worth as much as a human being. Donnie says that rabbits are primitive beings and only exist to reproduce. Gretchen answers that the rabbits are close to the author's heart. Then Karen says that the rabbits are liable to the law of story-telling and that the Deus ex Machina rescues them.

length: DC 119 sec. longer.

93:32 min. - 94:58 min.

The text insert of 10/26/88 and 4 remaining days is missing in the DC.

Farewell-scene. Rose Darko says goodbye to Donnie and Elizabeth.

The scene of Donnie visiting Karen at school is longer. You see Donnie entering the classroom and finding out that Karen was fired. Donnie says that she is the best teacher of the whole school. In the TV, Donnie already seems to know that Karen got fired and he asks her what he is supposed to tell the others.

length: DC 67 sec. longer.



99:21 min. - 100:17 min.

The psychologist says that Donnie's drugs are placebos and that he doesn't need to take them any longer. Then she says that Donnie is not an atheist but an agnostic, meaning somebody who believes that the existence of a God cannot be proven but who also does not exclude the possibility of an existing God.

length: DC 56 sec. longer.

ca. 100:30 min.

A pop-song playing in the background in the DC, nothing in the TV.

length: no time difference.

ca. 101:20 min.

At he Darkos' Halloween-Party, a metal-song is being played only in the TV. There is no music in the DC.

length: no time difference.

101:34 min. - 101:39 min.

The guy jumping on the trampoline is seen with a few party-guests a bit longer at regular speed in the DC.

length: DC 5 sec. longer.

102:06 min. - 87:40 min.

Kapitel 9: Ensurance Trap

The Manipulated Dead (=Frank) will often set an Ensurance Trap for the Living Receiver to ensure that the Artifact
is returned safely to the Primary Universe. The Receiver must ensure the fate of all mankind.
That seems to indicate that Frank runs Gretchen over because she is the only one who can stop Donnie from doing what he has to do.

length: TV 7 sec. longer.

104:40 min.

When Donnie and Gretchen come down the stairs a pop-song is being played in the background in the TV while in the DC it is Echo and the Bunnymen's "The Killing Moon".

length: no time difference.

105:57 min. - 106:09 min.

Another shot of the eye including the rabbit-head, showing certain scenes from the movie again. Donnie learns from the scenes what he has to do. In the TV we see Donnie's blurred face through one of the "paths".

length: DC 7 sec. longer.



111:12 min. - 111:42 min.

Grandma Death comes to Donnie and says: "The Storm is coming, you must hurry."

length: DC 30 sec. longer.

111:51 min. - 111:56 min.

Shot of the foggy forest-scenery.

length: DC 5 sec. longer.

112:01 min. - 112:06 min.

A television-set without reception. A sign that Donnie's work is done?

length: DC 5 sec. longer.

113:30 min. - 113:33 min.

Shot from the back of the car, Donnie driving.

length: DC 3 sec. longer.

113:38 min. - 113:45 min.

The eye again. This time accompanied by a countdown from the off.

length: DC 7 sec. longer.

114:08 min. - 114:21 min.

Longer shot of the laughing Donnie

length: DC 13 sec. longer.

ca. 115:00 min.

Only in the TV we hear two statements from the physics-teacher and Gretchen from the off.

length: no time difference.

115:25 min. - 116:37 min.

The turbine falling through the time-portal and the whole flashback are seen in an altered CGI-sequence in the DC, including the eye again. Over the whole scene, a fence-like effect is being layed and little additional transparency-effects, like fireworks or picture-in-picture, beautify the whole scene a bit.

length: DC 1 sec. longer.



117:55 min. - 118:15 min.

Chapter 12: Dreams

When the Manipulated awakens from their Journey into the Tangent Universe, they are often haunted by the experience in their dreams. Many of them will not remember.

The date 10/2/88 is missing in the DC.

length: DC 15 sec. longer.



End credits

A part of the end credits is faster in the DC, therefore there are special DC-end credits. The music is different, too.

length: no time difference.

The Director`s Cut is 19 min. 44 sec. longer than the Theatrical Version.