Jake Gyllenhaal gives a brilliantly disturbing performance as the mentally confused teenager of the title in this clever, mesmerising psychological chiller.
Set in 1988, this debut from writer-director Richard Kelly (who was only 26 at the time) has a bold originality that’s rare in modern Hollywood and is alternately funny, sad and deeply creepy.
A sharp-witted misfit with a big imagination, Donnie persistently sleepwalks and has conversations with a strange man called Frank who wears a disturbing furry rabbit outfit and tells him that the world is due to end in 28 days.
So, what’s all this got to do with his new girlfriend (Jena Malone), his English teacher (Drew Barrymore), the local self-help guru (Patrick Swayze) and the mysterious jet engine that suddenly drops out of the sky and crashes in the room where he should have been sleeping?
The plot isn’t anywhere near as impenetrable as it sounds – it’s just that Kelly’s roundabout way of telling his story is a little eccentric.
A cult classic, this just gets better and better with each subsequent viewing.