What if you could to back in time and take all those hours of pain and darkness in life and replace them with something better? This is the question posed in Donnie Darko, an independent film that combines aspects of a time travel, offbeat comedy, mystery, psychological thrill, symbolism, sleepwalking, romance, divine intervention, insanity, destiny, a coming of age tale, and ultimately salvation, with mind blowing imagry set in the late 1980's Bush-Dukakis era. Oh, and don't forget the six foot tall talking bunny rabbit named Frank. .
The film is the brainchild of the 27 year old first-time writer/director Richard Kelly who, after graduating the University of Southern California Film School in 1997, set out to make a movie by writing the most complex script he could concieve of. The result is a cornerstone of independent film for the 21st century. .
Kelly's script caught the attention of many large studios who offered to pick it up immediaty if changes were made to make it more marketable to the general public, but Kelly was resilient and stood by his vision, not only refusing to alter the script, but inisting on directing it as well. The film came to fruitation when the script was discovered by Drew Barrymore and Nancy Jujoven's film company Flower Films. Barrymore and Jujoven realized the originality and depth of the script, and it was ultimatly their excitement about the project that got the film off the ground with Kelly's vision intact. The script also drew many other high profile talents that were instrumental in the production of the movie such as Patrick Swayze, who allowed the infomercials for his character Jim Cunningmah to be shot at his ranch, and Steven B. Poster (ASC), the vice president of both the American Society of Cinematographers and the International Cinematographer's Guild who acted as the director of photography. .
With a meager budget of $4.