hmv.com presents… The Best Soundtracks of All Time: Donnie Darko
As part our 'Decades' series, every day we'll be picking the best soundtrack, one for every year, starting with 1950 right through to the present day. Today we're up to 2001 and we're looking at the mad world of Donnie Darko.
The unique 80s set apocalyptic coming of age movie Donnie Darko.
So what’s the film about?
1988: Suburban teenager Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal) goes sleepwalking outside and meets a man in a creepy bunny costume called Frank, who tells him the world is going to end in 28 days. When Donnie gets back home he discovers his bedroom has been destroyed by an engine falling from airplane – not only that, but the air authorities have no record of the plane ever existing…
As Donnie tries to figure all this out, he starts being further influenced by Frank, undertaking random acts of vandalism at his school. As the 28 days count down, Donnie finds himself in a series of weird situations, including a creepy motivational speaker (Patrick Swayze), giant wormholes in the sky, young love, and a mysterious book on time travel.
Is this a score or a soundtrack?
A score, but the special edition version also includes a second disc of 80s songs from the film. So it’s both really.
So who’s on it? Anyone I might know?
The score is by Michael Andrew, who also composed the music for films such as Bridesmaids and Funny People. The soundtrack includes plenty of pop and new wave bands from the 1980s, including INXS, Duran Duran, and (suitably, considering the prominence of a rabbit in the film) Echo & The Bunnymen.
So which songs are on it? Did any of them become hits?
The biggest hit by far from the film was Michael Andrews’ piano driven cover of the Tears For Fear’s classic ‘Mad World’ featuring Gary Jules on vocals, which was the Christmas Number One in 2003. There’s also a host of 80s hits on here as well, Joy Division’s ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’, Duran Duran’s ‘Notorious’, and ‘Under the Milky Way by The Church.
What’s the best moment?
When we first get introduced to Donnie’s high school, there’s a tremendous two minute long continuous slow motion shot panning through the hallways, accompanied by Tears For Fears’ ‘Head Over Heels’. Not only is it a staggering scene, it’s nice that Tears For Fears get their own version of one of their songs in there considering how big the ‘Mad World’ cover got.
Has it stood the test of time?
The score itself isn’t that memorable, but the new wave songs sound as good as they do today as they did in the 80s…