After narrowly escaping a bizarre accident, a troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a large bunny rabbit that manipulates him to commit a series of crimes.
ActorsStarring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Patrick Swayze, Drew Barrymore, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Holmes Osborne, Daveigh Chase, Mary McDonnell, James Duval, Arthur Taxier, Mark Hoffman, Patience Cleveland, David St. James, Jazzie Mahannah, Jolene Purdy, Beth Grant, Jena Malone, David Moreland, Noah Wyle, Kristina Malota, Marina Malota, Katharine Ross, Scotty Leavenworth, Phyllis Lyons, Gary Lundy, Alex Greenwald, Stuart Stone, Seth Rogen, Joan Blair
On October 2, 1988, Donnie Darko, a troubled teenager living in suburban Virginia, is awakened and led outside by a figure in a monstrous rabbit costume, who introduces himself as “Frank” and tells him the world will end in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes, and 12 seconds. At dawn, Donnie returns home to find a jet engine has crashed into his bedroom. His older sister, Elizabeth, informs him that the FAA investigators do not know where it came from.
Donnie tells his psychotherapist, Dr. Thurman, about his continuing visits from Frank. Acting under Frank’s influence, he floods his school by damaging a water main. He also begins dating a new student, Gretchen Ross, who has recently moved into town with her mother under a new identity to escape her violent stepfather. Gym teacher Kitty Farmer blames the flooding on the influence of the short story “The Destructors”, assigned by dedicated English teacher Karen Pomeroy, and begins teaching attitude lessons taken from motivational speaker Jim Cunningham. Donnie rebels against these motivational lessons, leading to friction between Kitty and Rose, Donnie’s mother.
Donnie asks his science teacher, Dr. Kenneth Monnitoff, about time travel after Frank brings up the topic, and is given the book The Philosophy of Time Travel, written by Roberta Sparrow, a former science teacher at the school who is now a seemingly senile old woman.
Dr. Thurman tells Donnie’s parents that he is detached from reality, and that his visions of Frank are “daylight hallucinations”, symptomatic of paranoid schizophrenia. Donnie disrupts a speech being given by Jim Cunningham by insulting him in front of the student body, then burns down Cunningham’s house on instructions from Frank. When police find evidence of a child pornography operation in the house’s remains, Cunningham is arrested. During his hypnotherapy session, Donnie confesses his crimes to Dr. Thurman and says that Frank will soon kill someone.
Rose agrees to replace Kitty as chaperone for her daughter Samantha’s dance troupe in Los Angeles, so Kitty can testify in Cunningham’s defense; with her husband Eddie in New York on business, her older children are home alone…