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Wild Wild Nights: Donnie Darko

(Rated M)

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Wild Wild Nights: A Gin & Film Festival

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Overview

It’s 1988 and Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a suburban teen. Moody and troubled, Donnie has been going on late night bike rides, sleepwalking, and seeing a therapist as well as a newfound friend who wears a giant rabbit costume (and who may be a hallucination). Donnie’s dating a new girl in town, Gretchen Ross (Jena Malone), and their high school is in turmoil. Some bizarre acts of vandalism have been blamed on course content (assigned by English teacher Karen Pomeroy, played by Drew Barrymore), and in the hopes of initiating an attitude adjustment, some parents have enlisted motivational speaker Jim Cunningham (Patrick Swayze). Donnie’s younger sister is in a dance group called, ‘Sparkle Motion’, and time travel and doomsday predictions loom. Beautifully realised, Donnie Darko deftly mixes disparate tones and narrative twists for an utterly unique film that has not surprisingly found a rabid cult following (there’s at least one fan-made website with 20 pages of analysis).

Why You Should See This Film

Trying to quantify what is special about Donnie Darko is difficult, as the sum of the individual parts do not equal the whole (and too much build up if you have never seen it risks disappointment). Take the moody appeal of The Virgin Suicides, the high school satire of Heathers, the modern life malaise of American Beauty, Toddlers and Tiaras, some heavy darkness and WTF plot threads a la the best arthouse cinema, add Tears For Fears, The Church, Echo and The Bunnymen and Joy Division used to excellent, triumphant affect, and … that still doesn’t explain why this film is so engrossing.

Wild Wild Nights: A Gin & Film Festival

To celebrate the launch of 2021 Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz Gin, join us this October for Wild Wild Nights: A Gin & Film Festival. To celebrate the spooky season, we’re hosting a wild program of revelatory cult favourites across the themes of Mad World (Donnie Darko and Get Out), Occult Classics (The Wicker Man and Midsommar), Love Hurts (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Lobster) and Wild Things (Under the Skin and Climax).

Every week there’ll be a Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz Gin cocktail to match, available at the Golden Age Bar.

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Session Times

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  • Year: 2001
  • Rating: M
  • Director: Richard Kelly
  • Cast: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jake Gyllenhaal, Drew Barrymore, Jena Malone
  • Duration: 113 minutes
  • Language: English
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