A case study of Donnie Darko: analysing interpretations and its cult status

Bishop, Matthew K. (2006) A case study of Donnie Darko: analysing interpretations and its cult status. BA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    This dissertation grew out of interest in the film Donnie Darko (Richard Kelly, USA, 2001) and my desire to understand it, as well as a quest to establish how Donnie Darko conforms to the notions of cult film. I examine academic discussion regarding ways of identifying cult films and some of the difficulties, and use this as a backdrop to the dissertation when considering Donnie Darko's cult status. My own textual analysis helps flag up key areas where the film does and does not fit into existing cult film definitions as well as establishing my personal interpretation of the film. A comparison between the Original Theatrical Release and the Director's Cut edition reveals the ambiguous nature of Donnie Darko and an examination into the production history reveals an interesting debate: whether or not Donnie Darko was made to become a cult film. I conduct a survey in critical and fan reception to define whether this had an impact on the cult status of Donnie Darko and how the fan community operates and works towards solving the questions posed by the film, by looking at reviews in journals and Internet discussion groups. By examining the various components of Donnie Darko, the production, distribution, reception and the text itself, I am able to come to a conclusion as to what extent it can be defined as a cult film, and how the Internet was a crucial factor towards its status in plight of a troubled production by uniting fans and securing its success on home video and DVD, as well as a re-release at the cinema.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries > School of Media and Performing Arts
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2011 12:47
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:13
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/162

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