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Donnie Darko: an interpretation

As most of you know, I saw and loved Donnie Darko a few months back. It's a genuinely original and extremely well-done film. It's also quite bizarre and confusing, and I've put a fair amount of mental effort in recent weeks into trying to figure out what exactly is going on in the film. Here is my interpretation. Major spoilers abound, so if you haven't seen the film yet, do yourself a favor and go rent it!

I'll try to lay out my interpretation as simply as possible. Here are my assumptions and hypotheses:

  1. Donnie isn't insane; the events of the movie are actually happening as we see them; they aren't the product of Donnie's mental issues.

  2. Frank, the rabbit, is God.

  3. Donnie was destined to die when the aircraft engine fell through the roof. That was "God's channel" for his life (a phrase that surfaces later in the movie during talks about predestination).

  4. Donnie did not die as he was supposed to. As a result of this, reality is tearing apart and the world will end soon.

  5. To restore reality and save the universe, Donnie must return to God's channel--he must go back in time and die as he was originally supposed to.

  6. All of the characters Donnie encounters in the movie--Gretchen, Jim Cunningham, Grandma Death, his therapist, all of them--are there to guide him to the right choice. Between Frank's guidance ("I will show you the way") and the subtle encouragement of the other characters, Donnie is guided towards his final choice and arrives at the end prepared to make the right decision.

    This point probably merits some elaboration. Almost everything that happens to Donnie in the film leads progressively him further along the path of knowledge and discovery, further along the path towards his ultimate choice. He is being nudged and prodded by all the other characters in the film towards his choice. For instance, Frank tells Donnie to break the school water main. As a result, Donnie meets Gretchen and they start going out. Gretchen and her advice play a major role in Donnie's choice (in the final moments of the film, he remembers her quote about going into the past to undo wrongs). Grandma Death and the Noah Wyle character are there to help Donnie understand the concepts of time travel and free will/predestination, so that he knows the stakes he's dealing with. The therapist's final speech with Donnie is quite blatant in this regard--she warns him not to let the world end; she also draws subtle connections between Frank and God. Drew Barrymore's character pushes Donnie towards his encounter inside the "cellar door" at Grandma Death's. Even slimy Jim Cunningham is there to warn Donnie not to be afraid--to make his choice based on Love, not Fear. At one point, Donnie's gym teacher urges his mother to direct Donnie down the "path of righteousness." And throughout the whole movie, of course, Frank tells Donnie what to do next--he himself never tells Donnie what is going on, but he urges him to take actions and meet people who will prepare him for his final choice.

  7. Donnie makes the correct choice at the end, choosing to sacrifice himself to repair the broken universe. Using the time travel knowledge he has learned, he "rides" the airplane engine back into the past to die. The universe is saved.

  8. Why did Frank (God) pull Donnie out of his chosen channel to start with? Because he wanted Donnie to choose his fate instead of simply blindly going along without free will. By pulling Donnie out of his predestined channel, Frank takes the risk that Donnie will choose "wrong." But, as was the case with Adam and Eve, righteousness chosen freely has more value than righteousness predestined.

  9. This movie is essentially a treatise on the concept of free will vs. determinism.

Those are my thoughts in brief. Agree or disagree? Comments and critiques are welcome!


My intuition is to disagree with you in your first hypothesis that, "the events of the movie are actually happening as we see them." This is a movie where metaphor and reality are freely interwoven and blurred. Like the scene in Like Water For Chococolate when the outhouse bursts into flames of passion, we are not take every event as literal truth. Some events serve as hyperreal expression of emotional and spiritual tumult. The laws of physics need not apply, and they don't have to for the story to still work! The rest of your ideas about destiny and sacrifice retain their power in a metaphorical world.

I can't, however, back this up with specifics without a second screening. Does anyone in our circle of friends have a copy I can borrow? It's been too long and the details are fuzzy.

I'm curious, you had mentioned that Donnie might be a re-working of the Last Temptation of Christ. Did you find more to back that up?

This sound like a good interpretation to me, but I have a few other comments:

1. What does Frank say to Donnie the first time he talks to him, when he calls him out of bed so he doesn't get hit by the engine? I remember that he starts by saying something like "I've been watching you" but can't remember what comes after.

2. In the last session with the psychologist, she says something like, "If the sky opens and the world ends, that means there would be no one left but you and Frank, and you don't want to be alone." This sounded to me like a negative thing, and made me think that Frank was at least in part a bad character. A few other things in the movie left me in doubt as to whether Frank was actually a good guy or not, and I was left with the impression that he was kind of a capricious trickster character rather than a good God.

3. How does Gretchen's death figure in as leading Donnie toward the right choice? That's something that never wouldn't happened if Frank hadn't been planting ideas in his mind.

4. I think IMDB said that the original script was more overtly religious. Have you found any info on how it was more religious, or how it was changed?

I really like that the movie forces you to think and re-think about a lot of really important issues. I'm looking forward to seeing it again some time, I have a feeling my interpretations will keep changing every time I watch it.

Wow, great comments, guys! I do realize that my interpretation has a number of holes in it and that other, possibly more plausible takes on the film could be advanced, but what can I say, this is what I got out of the film :)

Alan, I did consider the possibility that much of the movie simply takes place in Donnie's warped mind. However, I decided against that interpretation because a) to me personally, it seems to take away some of the magic of the film, and b) in one of the "deleted scenes" on the DVD, there is a moment in which we learn that Donnie's medications are just placebos.

As for the Last Temptation connection, I believe it is there from what I know of the LToC storyline, but as I have not finished reading the book I cannot really comment yet.

Michele: I have read that the original film was more blatantly religious in its themes, and that seems to be born out by some of the deleted scenes on the DVD. However, the deleted scenes aren't enough to really prove or disprove my theory that Frank is God; perhaps the director's commentary on the film will reveal more. I'll have to give it a look-see.

Thanks again for comments, guys!

I probably didn't state my case clearly enough. If portions of the story took place in Donnie's mind, then there remains the possibility that every scene can be rationalized as either a real event or an imagination. I'm saying that reason does not apply, that some portions of the story cannot be classified as real or imagined, and that in the service of the greater themes, it's not important that everything be rationalized. It's like a Piers Anthony tale. We know that magic and ogres don't exist, but within that universe we believe that they can. Donnie Darko is part allegorical fantasy and part drama with a dash of sci fi for extra flava.

ok. good interpretations. but alot of it is very symbolic and metaphoric and can seem intangible. my somewhat 'realistic' interpretation (i have many other interpretations, no use having just one) is that donnie is a schizophrenic who has a gift for seeing the future. his subconscious can analyze the present events into prophetic visions of the future, much like nostradamus(sp?). frank has the bullet hole in his eye because donnie knows he will shoot him, subconsciously. the liquid snake dealies, i forget what theyre called, are indicative that donnie knows through calculation what is going to happen. that is why donnie is able to evade his own death. however, one of my speculations is that at the end of the movie, donnie doesnt go back in time, but merely becomes so emotionally damaged that he has to imagine himself undoing gretchens death by dying himself. after all, it does say october 2 before the final scene, does it not? if donnie had actually gone back in time, it wouldnt say october 2. donnie is likely locked up somewhere by this time and is having a schizophrenic hallucination. let me know what you guys think.

whoops. nevermind about the october 2 thing. i always think halloween is on the 31st of september for some reason. nevermind that bit.

Hmmm, interesting. I'll have to go check the film again to see what the exact date is at the final scene.

I would tend to agree that the most "realistic" interpretation is one in which Donnie is simply mentally demaged or schizophrenic. In that sense, most of the movie could be interpreted as him hallucinating or fantasizing about the great things that happen to him (he gets the girl, he is made the most important person in the universe), and the great things that he does (he stands up to his silly teachers, he gets away with his misdeeds, he saves the world). If he's just imagining it, then the whole movie could be seen as his own fantasy construct, and perhaps as a picture of the way he wished his life really were.

Good comments!

A few unanswered questions/things that are still in the way of a lucid interpretation: 1). Why is Jim Cunningham referred to by Darko as the antichrist? If he is physically not the antichrist then it would at least seem that his single spectrum doctrine, at least, is flawed and, perhaps, inherently evil. 2). The chubby Chinese girl has a book that falls out of her bag with the words Donnie Darko on it. Darko then takes her earmuffs and wears them. Why? 3). What is the significance of the school's mascot? Darko puts an axe into its head after breaking the watermain and also people in desperation sit underneath it. Also, it has an undue amount of camera time to be allocated no importance. 4). What are Drew Barrymore and the principal discussing in terms of preventing the children from apathy and why is she fired? I think that these subtler points must be answered before a completely cogent 'meaning' for the movie can be pasted together. I am not saying I have them, it was simply that these little details aggravated me as they are either utterly significant or merely throw away scenes.

One last thing. If one is to follow the biblical interpretation that has been leveled (quite a good interpretation by the by) then Frank is obviously the devil. First, he is the one that takes Darko off the path of death which sends the world into tumult. Further, he tells Darko that he can "do anything he wants." Just as satan told Jesus towards the end of Jesus' forty day fast--the last temptation of Christ, where Jesus could, in essence, choose to save himself from death, as he is, afterall, just as much God as is God the father. This parallels Darko's story. Darko could either live, and the world would be destroyed, or die in order to save the world, like Christ. Also, Darko's interpretation of the smurfs is not completely unimportant to this interpretation. The Smurfs were based on Calvinist doctrine of Christianity. Gandolph is Satan and the Smurfs are the early Christian disciples. That is why the Smurfs are, in a sense, communist, just as the original disciples lived. Jesus, like Mohammed in fact, states that it is wrong to make interest on money and often encourages a social structure very similar to communism. Thus, Darko's explosion at his friends poking fun at the smurfs puts him in another position paralleling Jesus. So, in a sense, the entire movie could, perhaps, be seen as a modernized version of Christ's (Darko's) last temptation before choosing to live and destroy the world or to die and save it (jet engine rather than crucifix is quite funny). Oh, one more thing to this point. Darko asks his mother at one point what it felt like having a lunatic for a child. Just as Mary had to deal with having a god as her son, Darko's mother must deal with the modernized version of the sacrosanct, derangement. Sorry, on last thought, Jim Cunningham could be seen as a Pharisee because he preaches a shallow doctrine that exists only as a veneer to his deeper evils yet has a certain mass appeal. Perhaps this is why Darko's first question to him is "how much are they paying you to be here". Just as Jesus was fed up with the Pharisees for making money in the temple (righteous anger). Well, that drug, apologies.

I like the religous interpretation regarding Frank as Satan. But there is much left unexplained about time travel. Following the assumption that Donnie has a choice to follow God's path or the world will be destroyed, how is it possible that the plane engine, which is from a future of Donnie's choice and resulting apocolypse, kills him? There would be no engine from the plane if Donnie chooses to die. Confused.

If Donnie chooses to die, there would still be the plane engine. The difference is that instead of his mother being on the plane, the gym teacher would be boarded instead. The gym teacher wouldn't need to be at Jim Cunninghams arraignment because Donnie would have never burned down Cunninghams house to expose his kiddy-porn ring, and therefor the teacher would be the chaperone for sparklemotion. So by choosing to die, Donnie not only puts the teacher on the plane instead of his mother, but his mom never goes out of town which means that Gretchen and human Frank wouldn't die either. When the world is forcasted to end, I don't think the actual world is ending but rather Donnie's vision is ending.

I dont think that the wormhole was part of the apocolypse. i think the wormhole was just a physical anomoly in the space time continuem. Because that still has to happen in order for there to be a jet engine to kill donnie. But i think that its interesting how things unfold in the movie. How Donnie sees his path in life, how he sees that liquid arrow which guides him to the gun which he uses to shoot Frank (human) in the eye. So why was frank the messanger? why did he come back in time to pull Donnie away? if donnie would have died october 2 then he never would have killed frank. and also if frank is the devil why does he bring up time travel when he's talking to donnie? because its that conversation which leads donnie to figuring things out. i agree with the earlier post, that there is a lot more to be figured out, but i think you all are on the right track i'm going keep checking this board.

(side note)One scene that i found interesting is where donnie is talking to his therapist and he tells them that Frank is going to kill, and frank then runs over Gretchen.

Interesting board... I don't agree in Frank being the devil. Cuz Frank isn't really anyone before Donnie shoots him in the eye. Just an unlucky kid who runs over Gretchen. And why is Frank travelling back in time?? Is it to prevent Donnie from shooting him?? And if Frank is God, why is it a human Frank?? Confused as well...

And by the way: Think of the time travel theory. "If God controls time, then all time is predecided". If Donnie then are able to perform time travels, then it's a proof that God doesn't excist. And i think that's why the professor can't continue the conversation. Because he can loose his job if he says anything that contradict the excistence of God. And as Donnie IS able to travel through time, then it contradicts the excistence of God. And if Donnie "proves" that God doesn't excist, how can Frank be either God or the devil?? Or am i wrong...??

Guys I found this whilesearch for more interpretations, this has put it all in a greater prespective.

1. The Philosophy Of Time Travel
The Philosophy Of Time Travel book that is given to Donnie directly explains most of what happens in the movie. However, as we aren't told whats in the book, the events in the film are left unexplained. A copy of the book can be found on the Donnie Darko website. Unfortunately, its a bit difficult to find, so click here to open a copy in a separate window.

2. So What Happened?

A jet engine from the future crashes into Donnie's house and triggers a parallel world, which will end in 28 days. Frank is sent to warn Donnie of the end of the world, and help guide him into a position where he will send the engine back through time, closing the parallel time frame, and saving the world. Frank is basically a premonition from the future, as Donnie kills Frank at the end of the film. Donnie is manipulated into situations which will eventually leave him no choice but to send the engine back through time. He meets Gretchen, which proves to him that he doesn't have to die alone (one of his fears), and makes him less scared of death. He burns down Cunnighams house, which leads events to making his mother go on the trip with his daughter, thereby setting up the plane in the correct position to deposit its engine into the black hole. His shrink also admits that Donnies medication are placebos, indicating he's not as mad as he thinks (this is on the DVD as a deleted scene). As the climax begins to unfold, Donnie unwittingly gets Gretchen killed, and realises that his mother and family will also die if he doesn't close up the black hole. In closing the black hole, Donnie sacrifices himself, saves Gretchen from being killed, and because he doesn't burn down Cunninghams house, saves his mother from being on the plane (as the other mother could take the kids on the trip instead). He also doesn't kill Frank. In closing the black hole, everybody then wakes up on what would be back on the 1st of October (the start of the movie) and to the news that Donnie has died from a jet engine landing on him.

3. Events Explained By The Philosophy Of Time Travel
The book explains of the Primary Universe (real life) and a Tangent Universe (like a parallel universe). When the forth dimension of time is broken, a Tangent Universe occurs, and is unstable. Hence the world ending in 28 days time. If the Tangent Universe ends, then the world ends, the Tangent Universe basically swallowing the world up in a black hole.

The Tangent Universe occurs when an Artifact passes into the Primary Universe. The Arifact (as explained in the book) is usually metal, and its whereabouts cannot be explained. The jet engine that crashes into Donnie's house is the artifact. Obviously the engine has come from the future, and triggers a Tangent Universe, which Donnie has to close to enable the world to return to normality.

Donnie is identified as the Living Reciever, as the person nearest to the vortex when the engine appeared. Its Donnies job to send the artifact back through time to close the Tangent Universe black hole. Apparently he has "special powers" - is this to do with his time-manipulation and visions, or just cos he's schizophrenic?

Everyone around him become whats known as "The Manipulated" and are basically there to guide Donnie (as the Living Reciever) on a path to make sure he uses his powers to close the black hole. Karen (Drew Barrymore), Roberta Sparrow and Gretchen are all manipulated living, Karen dropping some large clues for Donnie throughout (again, see Drews deleted scenes on the DVD for more stuff). Frank is The Manipulated Dead, a premonition from the future used to give Donnie guidance. His job is to put Donnie into a position where he has no choice but to save the world. The Ensurance Trap is set when not only Gretchen is killed, but when Donnie realises his mother and sister will die in the plane crash, and when he kills Frank (revealed as Elizabeths boyfriend). If he sacrifices himself, everyone else will live.

In closing the rift, and being killed by the engine, the Manipulated all awake from the parallel time frame back at the start of the movie (or 1st Oct). The appearance of the engine will never be explained.

5. Gretchen's Comment
Twice in the movie, Gretchen makes reference to going back in time, and placing good things in the past. The second time this happens is before Donnie drives off in the car, before placing the engine in the black hole. Possibly misconstrued as a throwaway comment on first viewing, it becomes more significant second time round, especially when you realise whats actually happening.

has anyone here been to the donnie darko website? if so have you been able to get past the third level? when i get to the transcript of the conversation about the fallen plane the next thing that happens is a text that reads 'times up, donnie' after that i can't seem to get anywhere. if someone could help out it'd be greatly appreciated

When you get the transcript of the conversation on level three, they say that the engine is from an english plane. I thought the engine was from the same plane as Donnies mother was on. Or?? And how did Donnie actually get back in time?? At the time he went back, he was sitting in his car. He wasn't even near the plane or the enging...

And scott, i've tried the third level several times, but i can't get anywhere either. I've tried to write something as well, but it doesn't help... Frustrated...

question........is there any significance to the fat man in the jump suit who is in the woods and then in the front yard at the party with the flashlight im not quite sure what his importance is. and then the chinese girl. she is in it way too much to not have importance as well?

about the plane crashing it was caused to crash by the wormhole that was opening up as a result of the universe being ripped apart. so donnie had to guide the artifact (engine) back into the wormhole so it would close the rift that it had opened. the reason that it fell out of the sky in the first place is simply an act of God (according to The Philosophy of Time Travel) and donnie was chosen to guide the artifact through the wormhole to close the rift. being chosen as the one responsible for closing the rift he was given special powers (telekenesis, super strength, ability to read minds to name a few once again all of this is according to The Philosophy of Time Travel) so thats how he was able to guide engine through from the cliff. now as to whether he flew the car to the engine, or used his mind, or whatever i'm not sure. and actually it wasn't an english plane, it was a 747 which flew around the country, they shipped the engine to london to do tests on it. the morning of october 2 the plane was flying over colorado, and the plane was in good condition when the conversation took place, which was some years afterwards. one of the things about the artifacts that cause these rifts is that they are never explained, often becoming idols of religion.

all that being said i still would like to know if there's anything past level 3

Read the The Philosophy of Time Travel. It explains loads. I've made a picture of the "whole" book if someone wants it. It's just cut and paste, but you can read it. Just e-mail me, and i'll send it.

I agree with Cody...but think there is more signifigance with the fat girl and the comments by the english and science teachers. it's almost as if the last two know something about Him that nobody else does. They have that brief conversation in the staff room that you get to see just for a moment, and the science teacher says he might lose his job. I thought it was because he was teaching Donne more than the cirriculim allowed, letting him think for himself-which is why the english teacher got fired. She activly encoraged free thouht, as opposed to the gym teacher so would not deviate from her set lesson plan of the Fear----Love line.

The fat girl is a bit of a mystery. All I could figure is that maybe, and it's a big maybe, she idolised Donnie and thats how we get to know the story, with her imaginative embellishments. The book she dropped was actually a story about him. the story we where watching....maybe.


i have yet to see the dvd, so there are still some details which i need to work out before i can really form a good interpretation of the movie, but i'm warming up to the idea that the movie deals mostly with theology and free will and god, etc. frank, however, is a bit confusing to me. with this interpretation in mind, it seems to me that frank plays the part of both good and evil, god and the devil. i suppose this is a pretty song statement to make, but i think it could make sense.

what strikes me in particular is when frank says to donnie, 'i can do anything i want...and so can you.' he is offering him some kind of an opportunity, or vision, which seems clearly to contradict christianity and its ideas of right and wrong.

yet on the other hand, frank ultimately sets donnie up to make the right choice to save the lives of those he loves. it is undoubtedly frank's guidance which leads donnie to close the black hole in the end.

i don't know...i still have to watch the movie again, but it seems like there's a lot to support the idea the frank represents both good and bad throughout different parts in the movie.

as for some of the smaller details, like the asian girl, the fat guy, or even the two punks (their roles are obviously more extensive, but what purpose they serve, i'm not quite sure of), they all seem to be aspects of the movie which are the hardest to figure out. maybe they weren't intended to have any real purpose beyond adding to the 'mystery' of it all.

also, i'm not entirely sure this is true of the whole movie, but i found it interesting that anytime frank actually appears to donnie, it is in darkness. even the psychaiatrist's office is surpringly dark. any time frank communicates with donnie during the day or in light, you only hear his voice. i don't know if this means anything, but i found it interesting.

a few final thoughts: i thought it was hugely comical that as gretchen and donnie go upstairs to the bedroom during the party scene, joy division's 'love will tear us apart' is blaring on the speakers.

lastly, i looked it up just for the hell of it, and found that the name 'donald' actually comes from an old gaelic name meaning 'ruler of the world.' it'd be interesting to know if this was intentional or just a coincidence. if it was intended, it could very well tie in with frank telling donnie that he can do anything he wants.

well, those are my observations. i'd love to read more thoughts and interpretations, as i haven't quite gotten everything to add up just yet.

I noticed some interesting stuff in the movie. The school mascot (the bronze statue) is called "The Mutt" and the school's nickname is "the Mongrels". On the bus when Donnie jumps out it says Mongrels Rule on it. The asian girl sits by the Mutt after her Autumn Angel performance. Donnie puts an axe in the Mutts head.

It also talks about how Donnie's "problem" comes from his inability to deal with the forces he percieves to be threatining. His meds are nothing more than placebo's for his mind. On the VHS right before the shrink has this conversation with his parents they show a cut-away to a cross in the sky. To me this seems like "traditional religion" is nothing more than a placebo for our minds, a way to deal with supposed threatining forces in our life, like god, and being alone.

What does this say about religion?

What does this say about our ability to deal with supposed threatining forces in our own lives?

How did the asian girl deal with these threatining forces?

How about the two punks?

Perhaps we all take things alittle to serious, I know I do sometimes :-)

My interpretation

I think everyone assumes that unless donnie left the house at franks bidding he would have died to the jet engine. I think this is wrong. Donnie sleep walks every night, so this is one bullet he would have dodged anyway. That particular night there is a worm hole in the sky. Donnie goes outside as usual, frank tells him to look at the sky (i.e. look through the worm hole). Through this worm hole donnie sees his future, the rest of the movie is the vision he gains through the worm hole. In the end of the movie we see Donnie hopping back into bed, this means, he has looked through the worm hole (at franks bidding) seen the future and made the decision to go back into his room and die to prevent the tradgedies that will result from his actions. Therefore Frank in my mind is a spirit, who has appeared to Donnie to make him aware of what will happen and give him the choice to sacrifice himself.

So basically what actually happens on that night is he gets up, walks outside, has the conversation with frank, then walks back inside and hops into bed.

This makes sense to me, but there are still parts that puzzle me. I don't know if every aspect of this movie necessarily plays a clear role in helping the story or whether a lot of the things are not necessarily connected. I tend to thinkt he latter.

the one major thing that bothers me is that by Donnie dieing all these tradgedies are avoided save one. If Donnie dies Cunningham is not brought to justice. So what does this mean? That bothers me. It would seem significant as anyone who has watched the deleted scenes will be aware of Donnie's poem where he talks about saving the children from the monster, which would obvisouly be Cunningham. So it seems that it is important, yet in the end this monster is left unharmed.

I do belive that Donnie suffers from mental problems, he does act strangely. But basically my take on the whole thing is that everything between the first meeting with Frank, and Donnie hopping back into bed right at the end is a vision gained from looking through the worm hole. Otherwise in my mind it makes no sense how he transitions from the top of the hill with dead gretchen back into his bed.

Please point out any flaws you see in my theory, I find this movie fascinating and I love reading everyone's theories.

On the Donnie Darko website, you find that after Donnie dies, Jim Cunningham kills himself on the golfcourse, so is this justice? Who knows...but he's dead.

I watched this movie for the second time last night. Today I started to look on the web for more information and I found this website. I found it extremely helpful and informative. I'm looking forward to watching the directors commentary before I make any analysis.

One interesting thing that this series of posts has not touched on is what "Gramma Death" was looking for in her mailbox everyday. Clearly her presence in the street let to the car running over Gretchen and let Donnie to speak with her in the first place but why else was she looking in her mailbox?

Grandma Death is waiting for Donnie's letter :-)

Don't wait for the directors commentary. The director did the movie the way he did so people could watch it and arrive at their own conclusions...so what's yours? :-)

just wanted to point out that i finally saw the dvd version for the first time (having posted here the other day), and it's really pretty informative and generally just interesting all around if you're at all interested in the filmmaking process.

andrew c is right, in that the movie is definitely intended to be open to interpretation. i recommend you watch a few times before watching it with the commentary. the commentary is great, but it will most likely change your original ideas about it in some way or another, and that might not necessarily be good for some people.

one thing i did want to mention from the dvd, (because i found it so interesting and fairly obvious once i knew), that the man in the red jogging suit is simply one of the FAA agents trying to dig up some info on why exactly a random jet engine fell onto a random house. i hope i didn't spoil anything too terribly for anyone, but after i saw that, i just thought to myself, 'ah, that makes perfect sense.'

anyway, there's plenty more left to discover and interpret, and i do highly recommend getting the dvd after you've seen it on its own a few times.

The first comment that I would like to make is that I believe the events in the film DID actually happen and Donnie DID actually travel through time. If everything was simply a foreshadowing of the future why would Frank show him terrible things that Frank made him do. It seems that if it was a vision Donnie would be left with several choices: He could sacrifice himself or he could live out the 28 days and not do the things that Frank told him to do. By looking at the film in this sense I see much more evil in Frank's character than good. Perhaps Frank only saved Donnie to use him as an agent of destruction and even the cause of the world's end. In this respect Donnie overcomes evil by discovering the secret of time travel for himself and foiling Frank's plot.

Another big unresolved question in my mind is the behavior of the other characters in the film when they wake up at the end of the film. Perhaps Gretchen's ideas of replacing memories has come true to some extent and all of the other characters get a glimpse of the future when Donnie travels through time. This would be another way Donnie overcomes evil. He has let others see a little gilmpse of their futures and prevents some of these things from happening.

I find it hard to accept that Frank is evil. He never really convinces Donnie to do anything that is overly bad. He vandalises the school but this could hardly be classed as "evil". Apart from that, he exposes a kiddy porn ring, definately a good thing. He also apologises to Donnie when they are in the movie cinema, which he does after Donnie asks what happened to his eye. So it's a fairly safe assumption that he is apologising for gretchen's death. And the fact that he doesn't elaborate on this fact supports the idea that he feels genuine remorse as telling Donnie that served no purpose.

Although I stated earlier that I think it is all a vision I am in no way certain about that fact, it's just a theory. But either way I think Frank is simply there to help Donnie investigate and realise what's going on so that the significance of the situation doesn't just pass him by. Without Frank's help Donnie may not realise what's going on and make the choice to change the future. Certainly Frank is the first one to put the idea of Time travel in Donnie's head.

But definately all of Frank's motives are still a mystery to me, as is a lot of what happens.

On a side note, does anyone know what that music is that is playing both during the cinema dialogue wtih Frank and the start of the end credits.

Some of these discussions on this board is deeply religious so I will not mull on those points. However if you paid attention to the deleted scenes and the commentary. Sometimes "Artifacts escape reality and agents are sent to retrieve them". In this case it is a jet engine, and Donnie is the agent. The chubby chinese girl. She looks flabbergasted when she sees Donnie. Why? Because he sees she has donnie darko written in her notebook. He puts on her earmuffs to prove he is real. She knew (maybe not in her conscieous mind) that donnie was not suppose to be there. Hence realizing early the connection between the "Mutt" mascot and her waiting for donnie at it.


Some of these discussions on this board is deeply religious so I will not mull on those points. However if you paid attention to the deleted scenes and the commentary. Sometimes "Artifacts escape reality and agents are sent to retrieve them". In this case it is a jet engine, and Donnie is the agent. The chubby chinese girl. She looks flabbergasted when she sees Donnie. Why? Because he sees she has donnie darko written in her notebook. He puts on her earmuffs to prove he is real. She knew (maybe not in her conscieous mind) that donnie was not suppose to be there. Hence realizing early the connection between the "Mutt" mascot and her waiting for donnie at it.


Some of these discussions on this board is deeply religious so I will not mull on those points. However if you paid attention to the deleted scenes and the commentary. Sometimes "Artifacts escape reality and agents are sent to retrieve them". In this case it is a jet engine, and Donnie is the agent. The chubby chinese girl. She looks flabbergasted when she sees Donnie. Why? Because he sees she has donnie darko written in her notebook. He puts on her earmuffs to prove he is real. She knew (maybe not in her conscieous mind) that donnie was not suppose to be there. Hence realizing early the connection between the "Mutt" mascot and her waiting for donnie at it.



I know what you're talking about--I loved that piece of music. I think it was the song entitled "The Evil Dead", it was the last song title on the end credits. I don't believe it's on the movie score, though, and I'm having trouble finding it on P2P programs.

Anyway, I love this movie, and I've enjoyed reading your guy's interpretations of it.

Unfortunately the evil dead is that very chirpy upbeat music that plays at the END of the movie. It is the actual credits music to the Evil Dead movie which is what they are watching in cinema.

Hugh, I've found it!

On Kazaa, I searched for "Donnie Darko Ave Maria"
If you can't find it, I'll be glad to send it to you over an instant messaging program.

reading all the previous posts has helped me understand much of the movies which i didnt before. one thing that i still dont get is after donnie makes the engine go back throught the wormhole, enabling him to be killed by it, how did doonie himself get back so tha the could get killed? did he go through the wormhole as well?

also there has been a number of posts linking donnie and jesus, one ecsecially hit on jesus and his temptation. on the dvd teh last deleted scene shows donnie being impaled by a board, looking very much like a chirst figure.

I didn't see anyone comment on this, so I thought that i would. I believe the clear tubes you see in the movies are the predestined paths of the people they come out of. They are usually invisible but donnie can see them because someone wants him to see them.

I'am am slightly retarded but that doesn't mean I'am not able to voice my opinion.
I feel that when Frank wake's donnie for the fist time donnie awakes in a dream world, what happens there after is a dream, a prophecy of some sought invested in donnie in the form of a dream by God.

Donnie was giggling before he collapsed back down to sleep towards the end of the film. Now he could have awoken and shot out of his room like a bitch in heat but he didnt ..... he knew that living was pointless due to all the pain that would be the ultimate result ... Grecthen would die and he would kill Frank. (good shot by the way ,damn!!! dead centre in the right eye!!!)ouch!!

but i often fell that this simple "dream" idea is to some extent wrong .... and the idea of donnie using the jet engine as a means of time travel rather good becuase these spereh tube like s*it (remind me of that bit in the abyss wit the water and it makes the guys face)are the persons pre-determined path ... and at the the end of the film you see the engine falling through the sky in what looked like one of these tubes but of course an extremley big one!!!

also i dindt get the deal wit the plane donnie's mum was in decompressing and shaking an s*it. was the engine from the plane she was on?????
i part of the future or dream world that manged to slip through in the real??????

either way dope movie and i was wondering if some one could post a basic idea of wot the deleted scences were about cause i didn't get a chance to watche em? thanks!!!

anyway i am sorry for the spelling and grammer errors as i stated before i am slightly mentally retarded.


another thing donnie is apperently a very keen sleep walker but at the end of the film he giggles and goes back to sleep because he soughts know he's will be at peace or like prevent the ultimate doom of gretchens and frank death. so to me it soughta shows that donnie has accepted his fate and inturn that kinda makes me think that perhaps this is god wanting to see if we can make the right decision ... if we are willing to sacrifice are selves for the needs of the many .... " the needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many"


i've jus read joel's post and screw the crap i've been talking i agree wit the points he made completely!!!!!!

I just watched the movie for the first time, and rushed to the net to try and find some guidance about whhat I just watched (Mullholand Drive had the same effect).

Good thoughts everyone. I think it was mentioned above that this story mirrors The Last Temptation of Christ, for anybody that didn't notice ... this movie (The Last ....) shares the marquee (sp?) with Evil Dead 2 when Donnie and Gretchen go to the movie.

I will watch this spot.

Ok, some of this may already have been posted, but here are my personal theories:

1. Frank is Jesus, not God or the Devil. I went to Christian school for two years, and didn't pay a lot of attention, but I specifically remember that when Jesus returns, the righteous will be saved, and all others will be left with hell on Earth. This state of the world is also knows as the apokalipse (sp). Therefor, when Jesus returns, it will be the end of the world. That is why Frank says the end of the world is comming, and he saves Donnie. Donnie is the only truly rightious person, because he tries to understand God and religion instead of accepting it all. This idea is further backed up because Jim Cunningham is supposed to be all Holy, but he is actually a pervert with a kiddie porn fetish, showing that you need to do more then go through the motions to be truly christian. Plus, there is Frank's line "I can do anything I want." Jesus had great powers, he could walk on water, make one loaf of bread into 1,000 etc. yet anotother piece of evidence for this: Donnie says "I have to obey him, he saved my life." Just as people devote their lives to Christ after they are 'saved' by him. And also, that would explain how Frank is Godlike in his ability to be in the mirror, but also human at the end, since Jesus was both God and a human. I think the fact that he looks so evil is just for irony's sake.

2. The reson Gretchen dies is because although she was needed to make Donnie make the right choice (as explained in the first interpretation) Donnie will not leave her, but if she is dead, he not only doen't have to be sad about living without her, but he can also save her.

3. Frank is both real and not real. While he is not phisically in the room or mirror or whatever, he is also not a figment of Donnies imagination. If I am right about Frank being Jesus, he could easily be able to make himself apear to certain people only.

4. This isn't really an interpretaion, but its about an earlier post. Frank doesn't have the bullet hole eye because Donnie will shoot him later, but because he stabbed the eye in the mirror before. The reason he is shot in the same eye later is because that ties it all together.

5. Donnie doesn't go back into the past. He does create the wormhole, though, but only the plane engine does through it.

Now, a few questions:
1. What is the significance of Donnie and Gretchen's children eyeglass thingies with the pictures in them?

2. Is it significant that the girl is Chinese, or forign at all?

3. What was the purpose of the older sister? I guess she was the excuse for having the party, but they could have found other ways to make the party happen.

4. It seems that the countdown is more or less to Gretchen's death, but then how is the world still going a few hours later until he creates the wormhole?

5. Why is Frank a rabbit? Why not a turtle, or a puppy?

There are tother things I wanted 2 say, but I can't remember them all.

On a different topic, how does the web site work? I tried spelling out "Pay close attention you could miss something" but there are like 3 extra words. Im on level one, and have no clue what I'm doing. Please explain.

Man! This movie has made me puzzled. I got it from a friend. He told me to be sure, to have some time afterwards, when I watched it. Now i know what he was talking about.

This site has made me think I understand a few things. Thanks

But what about grandmother death. what is her role? She was a nun but quiet to become a science teacher and is the one who wrote the philosophy of timetravel. A book which descripes the stuff Donnie is seing, according to himself. In the end she is dressed in white. I'm thinking a pure color. It is to avoid her that Frank kills Gretchen, and then Donnie kills him (But then her Nickname is Grandma Death).

I'm thinking, like some of you, that this movie has a religious theme to it. And i'm sure that the role Roberta Sparrow plays in all of it has something to do with religion. I'm still trying to make sense of it.
if it does I'll post it.

Can anybody tell what Donnie says to the punk outside Roberta Sparrows house in the end. seth (the punk) says "did you call the fucking cops" then Donnie answers with something but what?

Can anybody tell what Donnie says to his psychiatrist at the last session? It is the point that start of with:"time's up..." but what is the last part Donnie says? and then he says something like a kid crying, but What?

Have anybody read the GRaham Greene Book?

Andrew C

You wrote:
"I noticed some interesting stuff in the movie. The school mascot (the bronze statue) is called "The Mutt" and the school's nickname is "the Mongrels". On the bus when Donnie jumps out it says Mongrels Rule on it. The asian girl sits by the Mutt after her Autumn Angel performance. Donnie puts an axe in the Mutts head."

Do you know what this means? Because I do not? Is it a language thing I'm danish so my english isn't my primary language(maybe some of you have noticed)
Hoping for an answer


It's not a language thing really. I just thought it was a bit of a metaphor for how the church views people that aren't a devout religious faith. Like their somehow "mongrels" the un-converted masses are somehow inferier without some sort of religious placebo for their minds.

Maybe I'm looking into the movie too much, but it makes sense to me, and that's what matters :-)


Hi/ I think that a lot of the things said here make sense, but my biggest problem here is the paradox of time travel. I think it's fairly obvious that donnie must die (when in the hotel room, his parents talk about a guy who died on his way to the prom, whom everyone said was doomed, like they could say about donnie), but that's about it. I guess he has to do all those things frank tells him to do, in order for the wormhole to appear, and for the engine to fall on him. But what if he just stayed in his bed at the first place? I think that the wormhole appears BECAUSE he does all those things - the wormhole appears because the sky breaks open. The sky breaks open because the world is going to end. So, if donnie's death prevents all this at the end, how come the engine still falls? That's the paradox.

You kind of answered your own question. Donnie was not meant to leave his room that night, causing this whole journey. You asked what would have happened if he didn't go out that night, and the answer to that is easy if you think about it. 1st off, the school isn't flooded, so he doesn't meet Gretchen (sp). Then, he doens't expose the kiddy porn ring, so the guy doesn't go to court, so the Gym Teacher doesn't have to go to the trial, so she goes on the plane instead of Donnie's mom Rose. Frank doesn't die, and neither does Gretchen. There are other things that wouldn't happen, but those are the big ones. And that is why he has to create the wormhole, so that it DOES kill him, and he never ends up leaving his bedroom.

Yeah, off course, but my question is - why did frank pull donnie out of his room the night the engine crashed. To some extent he caused his own death by doing that. He could have left him there in the first place and everything would be the same. I don't buy the assumption that donnie sleepwalks anyway, cause it's fairly obvious that frank wakes him up, and donnie even says to his therapist that franks saved him.
My theory is that in order for the wormhole to appear, all of these conditions had to be met - gretchen and frank had to die (I don't think donnie's mom being on the plane is relevant. The only reason she goes is so donnie can have a party, and frank can go buy beer etc) for the world to end, so the wormhole would appear, and carry the engine back in time.
That's the paradox right there, how could the engine still fall on him, if all the conditions needed to make it happen, don't occur?

This may come acroos as sounding a little meaner then I intend it to, but if you read the philosophy of time travel, you will know some important things. 1. Donnie was closest to the worm hole that droped the engine in his room. This makes him a specia person, the Chosen One. It is the Chosen One's job to lead the Artifact (the engine) back to the normal universe. There are people who help him, including the Manipulated Living and the Manipulated Dead. That is why Frank pulls him out that night. He is being manipulated by a greater power and being forced to show Donnie, the Chosen One, the way to fix everything. It is really interesting to read the Pholosophy of Time Travel, I recomend all big Darko fans do it.

I have a few questions for the panel.

1) I thnk that Donnie says deux ex machina before Gretchen is hit by the car. What is the significance of that?

2) What event do you think triggered the change of Roberta Sparrow? Was it similar to the experience of Donnie?

3) What role do you think Cunningham plays throughout the story? Because I feel like he is the antithesis of what the movie stresses, yet some people have posted that he also helps lead Donnie to his eventual righteous choice.


Hey well a few of you were askin about the website, which is trippy as i might say... AWESOME! Ok well you asked about a level three, there is a level three, the level where they show the phone converstaion about the airline is actually level three and sadly is the end to the website. the website seems to go through the movie in three stages, and level three represents the dying of donnie from the airliners engine. "TIME IS UP DONNIE" just makes an end, the end of everything, donnie, the story and the website. Thanks for all the comments too it really drew conclusions to my questions on this amazing film!

Hey again, another comment, for 'Jon'. Deux ex machina is the 'God from the machine', first used in greek amphitheatres. The hero would get into an impossible jam and this chair decked with flowers came down from overhead. the hero sat down in it and was drawn up and out of harms way. The symbolism of it being that the hero had been saved by god by this godly machine. it is also known as 'the old paracute under the airplane seat trick.' Correct me if im wrong but by Donnie saying this it answers his question on how he can time travel - he needs a shuttle to transport him, DEUS EX MACHINA. He is given the insight into what he needs to do to get out of harms way and time travel back into the correct relm of time, he is saved by god (possibly Frank?) by realising that it is the plane/engine which is his shuttle through the portal (then again i also got the impression in the film that his shuttle through the portal of time travel was the family van? but who knows!)Im not sure if this is right, it could also mean that he senses that Gretchen is about to die therefore saying Deus Ex Machina in hope that god will send one down for Gretchen. ?? actually ignore what i said first because i'm leaning more towards my last answer that he is saying it in hope of the saving of Gretchen, considering he says it before she dies. I reckon it helps Donnie understand how to get through the portal but im reckon he says it before Gretchen is run over because he has a last hope that god will save her, considering he knows he cannot. i'm not sure if this answers your questions but i hope it has helped. sorry that my explaination is all over the place, hope you understood.

Is Frank the person Frank the Bunny?? this is one aspect that really confuses me?? why is Frank the person at the end rubbing his eye as if he knows what has happened, when the rest of the characters dont know??? If Frank the person is also Frank the bunny does that make Frank the person not reality, or the bunny reality??? Or are they two different characters with the coincident that Frank the person has the same name and dresses as the bunny therefore confusing Donnie into thinking he is Frank the bunny? but then that doesnt tie in with Frank the person appearing in the cinema and the last scenes where he honks his horn to warn Donnie of the engine, rubbs his eye and where the scanning of the camera shows his drawings of the bunny mask and the suit. Is he god in a human body who is disquised by the bunny suit????
AArgh someome please help me understand!

Hi everyone. I've been reading people's interpretations these past few days and I think that it's awesome that there is a place like this for people to share what they think.

I had a question if anyone was willing to help. I've been checking out the donnie darko website for some time now. I know the password to level three is Rose. But what the hell are the ones for one and two? I've been driving myself crazy!

Hey Ruth,
I'm here to try and help you with the website, yeah its pretty confusing at times. It goes through showing many different passwords which distract you from the real passwords, these just lead you through the site. I dont want to tell you what the passwords to level 1 and 2 are (unless u get really stuck!) coz that takes the fun out of things but remember one thing: the letter Donnie writes to Rose will tell you level one's password and level two's, preety darn confusing, coz they are the same password! hope this helps!

Does anyone know if the beginning of the film holds any significence? As in Donnie laid on the ground with his bike in the middle of the road..And when he gets up we see a bright white flash which religiougly signifies death.

This is also close to where the time portal opens.

Maybe (This is a pretty lame theory) Donnie died there by getting hit by a car on his bike..And liks what Gretchen and Donnies presentation said about putting glasses over peoples eyes and giving them better memories...

Well maybe God did this to Donnie so he would feel like he had a worth-while life, he didn't die alone and he saved the world.

So as soon as Donnie wakes up on the ground and gets on his bike..It is all a vision God has tricked him into seeing..Like a different version of your life flashing before your eyes.


Okay, sorry if these questions/statments have all ready been said, but I lost my patience reading and I had to post my thoughts.

1. Someone stated that when Donnie went downstairs to meet Frank the first time, Donnie looked through the worm hole and he saw the future: everyone dying and the world ending and that was they movie we watched; therefore he knew he was going to die and decided to back upstairs and go to sleep and allow the engine to fall on him.

I agree with this because:
a.) If the movie was actually happening and not just a glimpse into the Tangent Universe, then Donnie rode the engine through the wormhole and arrived in his bed to be flattened. But if this happened then what about the other Donnie--the one who is out there sleep walking? We've all seen Back to the Future, if you go back in time then your alternate self is there...so I believe that he did just see the future with Frank outside and went back to bed.
b.) Another reinforcement is that in the final scene with him laughing and going back to his bed, he's wearing the same clothes (blue teeshirt) that he would have been wearing that night.
c.) We don't actually see Donnie riding the engine throught the hole, do we?
d.) If he rode the engine through the hole, how did he pass the engine and arrive in his bed before the engine got there.

(*These last two subpoints are small because I guess Donnie could have jumped through the hole before the engine and that would cancel out c and d. But anyway.)

2. I read some questions as to why did Frank tell Donnie that he could "do anything he wants." I believe this was to let Donnie know that he was the Living Receiver (which according to the book they have special powers). This is just a clue to tell Donnie who he is and not any kind of statement that should make us believe that Frank is either Satan or God.

These are my thoughts--or better my ramblings. Peace.

One other thing. Why is it important that Donnie's mother is on the plane instead of Kitty? I can understand that he doesn't want his mother to die in the plane crash (I guess we assume it crashes after the engine falls off), and therefore that's another reason he must die--so save his mother. But what about his sister? She's one the plane, and it's going to crash. I would thing that if the f-ing engine falls off the plane it would crash, and most likely leave no survivors. Right? His sister dies too then?

OR now that I see my thoughts, I guess we can assume that because of Donnie's death, his sister never went to LA? And then she would not be on the plane. But that's a lot of assumptions.

Why, on Donnie's notes on the Philosophy of Time Travel, does it list Gretchen as one of the "Manipulated Dead?" She certainly doesn't appear to be in the same league as Frank (not even the same ballpark, to be frank - haha) and I can't make out the scribble that follows her name... help a brudder aht.

Mini tanks =- =- =- =-

i haven't been to the website yet, Joe (slowwwwww connection over here =\)... but "help a brudder aht" probably means "help a brother out".

It's the closest thing that is at least intelligible! =)

This site is great, it's so cool to read all the different interpretations of the movie. And if you listen to the director's comments, that's how he wanted it to be. It wasn't supposed to be a clear-cut film with anything that says "this is what it all means," the director says that he specifically cut down and deleted several scenes that would help direct the viewers toward one unified interpretation of the film. It's such a great movie because of this, because it's really whatever you choose to make of it. I have a lot of theories too, but they've pretty much all been posted here already =)

How about this...

For this interpretation to make sense you're going to have to assume a number of things for a moment. =)

Donnie Darko is Christ.
Frank is Satan.

Here goes.

Why is Darko Christ?
Alright, he dodges a bullet by being out of the house when the plane engine crashes through his room. While he's out on the field to meets Frank for the first time. Alright so 'christ' meets 'satan'. What does satan want? Come on who's seen Dogma =) The end of all life, in this particular case. Now 'satan' tells 'christ' that the world is coming to an end. What he doesn't tell him is that it's his decision to 'die' on a cross of tubular plane engine steel for humankind, or to LIVE and deny the existance of god, therefore stopping time altogether. Also, Donnie's being here is the second coming of christ, rapture, which fits pretty nicely with the whole end of the world thing. He's got the choice on whether it goes all the way or not though. He is sort of like an accidental christ. =\

The movie progesses and head to the bus stop and meet the little asian girl, (a pretty clear object of oppression). Now our good ol' Jesus, protector of innocence, tells the two fellas making fun of the oppressed to leave her alone.

We meet Frank (satan) in the bathroom, tempting Donnie (christ) to do whatever he wants. Smite god, =) in this particular case. He floods a pretty obvious symbol of organized religion and plants an axe, in an strangley symbolic dog's head.

So it appears that our Christ figure doesn't care too much for organized religion... it was of course satan is putting all these ideas in his head.

Love and Fear is a simplified -shake and bake dinner- religion, if you will. A sort of 'buy my book and get QUICK EASY SALVATION' deal. And it just so happens to be what the school is preaching. When Donnie talks about Patrick Swayze he calls him the antichrist, hehehe cause he's preaching nonsense. In the same way that organized religion has become nonsense compared to a broader and more analytical interpretation of the bible. =\ No offense intended, I promise.

Now stay with me cause this get's complicated. Alright, 'Love and Fear' (organized religion) preaches a response to any given situation in black and white. However, Donnie (christ) doesn't like this so much, as a matter of fact he thinks it's pretty stupid. And when he get's his situation card in class (And picks up that wallet on the sidewalk) and is asked to respond as to whether it's love or fear, his reaction is to burn down the source of the BS and expose it for what it is.... a metaphorical kiddy porn ring? I'm not gonna mention the catholic church, but hey.

Before he burns down the house he meets up with Frank in the movie theatre, watching a moving about the end of the world, hah hah hah... it's the subtle things. He receives his next mission there. So we gotta ask 'why does Frank (satan) want to destroy organized religion if it's such a bunk bi-product of the bible'? Well I guess it is still 'religion' which he's out to destroy, in any form. Especially if it's people with silly delusions of a black and white reality. I think Frank's a pretty cool guy too, I mean you gotta hand it to him, he has a great sense of humor.

Oh the Last Temptation of Christ was kind of a give away too. After this Frank doesn't get another chance to assign him with more evil missions before the end... Before he smites satan... err Frank I mean.

Darko's Mom.. (Mary? Who knows.. *sigh*) goes out of town and the house is left to him and his sister. Things are about to get pretty messy, however he has a last meeting with his psychologist, where we find out that Frank is 'going to kill'.. Hrm... Also the idea of dieing alone get's brought up, for the second time I believe. Darko is afriad to die alone, he is pretty undecided in his oppinion about whether god exists or not. If there is a god, well then of course you won't be alone after you die. There's no solid proof either way though. The pschycologist is one of the 'queens on the chessboard' though she doesn't come of as a key character. She's pivotal to the choice Donnie makes in the end.

Party time. Gretchen comes over and he and her get jiggy with it... so what's this he gives in to sin? I want to say no, but it's difficult to take it any other way. It's only at the last minute that he really wakes up though. Frank woke him up before, to a new reality, but it wasn't him making the decisions, he was being fed information and played like a pawn. He knows what he has to do. He's gotta save the human race, and He's gotta seek out Grandma Death ('Sparrow' is her last name and symbol of god's providence in literature). He gets to her house and enters her 'Cellardoor' to find the two boys laying in wait. Him and Gretchen get pulled out of the house, and when the point of the knife is at his throat it's time to call in a bit of 'Deus Ex Machina'. Frank rolls up (it's the same car that dropped off Donnie's sister, you'll notice) and runs over Gretch, but saves Donnie in the proccess. Why the heck would 'satan' save 'christ'... Because if he dies before the time is up than god can still exists, only him living denys the existance of god and stops time. =) Right, so now Donnie's enlightened, he knows what Frank is.


Bye Frank or satan, or whoever. He tells the clown that everything is gonna be okay. And it is. He's decided. He heads up to the mountain and watches things get hot, and not surprisingly he wakes up in his room, ready to bite gods bullet and die for mankind. Laughing all the way, cause he isn't going to die alone.

I hope that made some semblence of sense to atleast one of you.

Consider also that if the 'parrallel universe' thing is like that of Back to the Future Donnie from the future is dead in his room, but Donnie from the present is sleeping on the gold course...?? Hm... =)

Also, the Hound statue is god, I'm pretty sure. =\


1st: Second movie at the movie theater is "The last temptation of christ" making this movie an obvious metaphor for that.

2nd: Donnie sees the future when he looks into the sphere and his eyes get big. That's why he goes to grandma death. He then knows he must go to grandma death to find out what to do, since he knows his mom will die. He also sees that he will need to save Gretchen, since he says he needs to save her far before the car is even close.

3rd: I agree that Frank is the devil. If he were god simply giving donnie a choice as the first writer said, why wouldn't god give everyone who was going to die some random way a choice?

Here's the thing: no matter if Donnie kills himself or not, the world will end.

Otherwise, how would the plane engine fall on his house in the first place? The engine has been shot back into the past from the wreckage of the plane. The plane was destroyed because the world ended.

Regardless of whether Donnie's mother and sister are on that plane, the world ended.

The World didn't end. Or the official web-site would have told you about it like they do about Jim Cunningham killing himself.

Another thing I was just thinking about is Donnies speach about Smurfs. He says that Gargamal(sp?) sent the female smurf to the other smurfs to bring them down from within..But the goodness of the smurfs changed her..

Well..Maybe Frank was sent from hell by satan to warp Donnies mind and deny Gods existance..But he was overtaken by the goodnes..Thus him apologising in the theatre...And then he helped guide Donnie to save the world.

right... my and a few friend's have been discussing this film (and getting a headache for our trouble) and have come up with what we think happened.

Donnie was chosen (as the person who would be closest to the "artefact" when it landed) to close down the portal between the real and tangent universes, a rift that would destroy the universe at the time Frank gave him.

the universe was trying to right itself, and so manipulated events (Frank's appearence and the subsequent chain of events) to "convince" Donnie as the "living reciever" to choose the path that would lead the artefact back through the portal with the powers given to him (read the philosophy book on the website... i swear im not making this up)

by pushing the engine into the portal and killing himself, he collapses the tangent universe and stabalises the real universe, stopping the end of the world that was predicted, gretchen's death was the last thing to push him over the edge and make him sacrifice himself to save everything

thats my view anyway...

Ok, I have finished watching the film read all the comments and still have not got a clue. I understand that the director/writer want this film to be ambiguous and throw up discussion but surely there has to be a correct theory, the one that the writer sat down with and decided, so therefore there has to be enough clues in this film to quash all other possibilities. I now have a few questions to through out there to all the people that clearly have too much time on their hands (like me).

1. When Donnie dies and we see all of the people waking, why are they all crying, apart from the fat Asian girl? Could this be that they have all seen Donnie’s 'vision' of the future. (I.e. Cunningham knows that everyone else knows that he is into kiddie porn). So why is the Asian girl happy - possibly something to do with Donnie telling here it is all going to be ok?

2. Perhaps the Asian girl is some sort of recorder of time (this is totally out there theory) and this is why she has a book with Donnie Darko written on it.

3. Why right at the end does Gretch wave at Donnie’s mum like they know each other and share something?

4 Finally there is something strange about Drew's character and the science teacher, why is drew so in admiration of the fat girls show and why is it the fat girl sees drew screaming? Any significance.

Get back to me on these guys, cheers from the UK


could it be that by Donnie going back to kill himslef in effect has saved his own life?
if donnie hadnt survuved he wouldnt have need to go forward to kill himself, so he would just die, but having not carried on going forward the chain of events that triggered his death wouldnt have happened. so he dies period, but isnt trulyy alone, he is off in a parralel universe carrying out his life without the influence of frank to draw him to "the philosophy of time travel" so by killing himself in the "real time" he has undone it and created donnie time?
or something.
either that or im wrong. e mail me your moans at me!

I have too much to say about this movie, very little of which I fully understand.

Simon, I will try and give you my interpretation of a couple of your questions as quickly as possible.

I think that the movie carried another message aside from predestination/temptation/freewill, etc, with Donnie and Frank.

I thought that many of the characters that appeared in school actually were part of the writer+director's comment on school/the education system.

A. Enter the English teacher. She is a teacher who tries desperately to get across to her kids, but in her conversation with the principal she expresses her frustration with the kids: that most were too apathetic, no one cared anymore, and that the current teaching solutions were not working.

B. Enter the asian girl (Sorry, I can't recall her name). She represents the small student body who care, who look to succeed by school's standards, and who has not been lost in that SparkleMotion crap. She has a connection with Drew Barrymore's English Teacher, this portrayed in a couple scenes. Not mentioned sequentially, but the first being the English Teacher watching asian girl dancing as a graceful swan, demonstrating full appreciation for classic entertainment and the lack of shallow SparkleMotionDancing. Asian girl devotes plenty of time and work into the whole act, but nobody (as represented by the crowd) appreciates it, aside from the English Teacher who smiles and claps after the performance, then switches to a look of disgust when SparkleMotion comes on. The second scene would be when Drew Barrymore is fired and walks out, screaming "F********CK!". The girl is right by her, and the teacher realizes that they are in the same boat: One of loneliness, where they are not appreciated for the great qualities that they possess. When the English Teacher nods solemnly to the girl, I get the sense that she is saying "Yes, it has finally gone to hell." Also, the asian girl sitting underneath the bronze statue after the talent show obviously has some significance, but I'm not sure what it is, since I don't know what the statue represents.

C. Enter the gym teacher. Although I think she does play a role in the bigger picture of the movie, she also contributes a say in this second, minor issue. She is the simple-minded teacher who abides by supposed "morals" and bases her life and all actions on a scale of Fear and Love. She simplifies everything to the point where everything becomes black and white, and loses the second dimension: the grey between. She doesn't care whether her students learn anything, or if they have a problem with her teaching method. Instead, she just wants to make sure that all of them obey her standards and become ruled by them. I believe the Asian girl going up to read that card before Donnie has some significance, but again, what it is I don't know. Perhaps just a subtle message.

D. Enter Jim Cummingham. I think Jim plays a major role on both levels of this movie. I hold that Jim represents the Church, Catholic or otherwise. Some form of Christian Church I would think. Factors that lead to this belief:

1) He simplifies everything in black and white, everything is good/evil, Good Deed or Sin.
2) When Donnie gets up on the microphone he first asks him "How much did they pay you to come here?" Just like the school pays for a motivational speaker they don't need, so the people pay weekly tributes to a church they don't need to solve problems or understand God. This is why those kids got up there with their problems, like why her sister ate too much, why the kid didn't know what he wanted to be, and why the kid couldn't fight. Jim tried to solve these problems with bullshit answers about ridding yourself of fear and increasing love; just as the church solves everyone's problems by accepting God into your life and rejecting sin. Donnie speaks the truth and tells kids what they REALLY need to do, confirming this whole belief that Jim isn't needed there, and so the church isn't needed for people to accept God and solve their problems. This is taken one step further when Donnie, after admitting that he does have his problems, says that he thinks Jim is the antichrist. If my proposed representation of Jim is correct, this is a big statement. The author is in essence saying that the Church worsens the situation and loses our connection with God and with what we really need to do.
3)When Donnie burns down his house, he exposes Jim for what he really is: A collector of kiddy porn. Correlation between that and child molesting priests? I believe so, yes.
4)Jim is crying at the very end, before his house is burnt down and all. I don't know exactly what this signifies. Perhaps the true emptiness he is and feels.

E.I think SparkleMotion says something. What it's trying to stress is open to interpretation. Especially the gym teacher's involvement in it..."I doubt your commitment to SParkleMotion"...the best quote in the movie.

F.The punk who threatens Donnie in the bathroom and nearly kills him at the end? Someone have an idea as to what he represents?

is the red jogging man the devil to franks god. ok frank draws donnie away from gods way and into his own way thus saving his life but setting the chain of motions whih would have killed him. he shows donnie the way to get out and be the hero. "How do you know im not a super hero"
the reason donnie goes back to die is because he loved the girl too much to see her die and sees himself as the cause for her death, so if he didnt love her he wouldnt go back to save her thus destroying the world. so the devil guy is there at moments of great sensuality between the two he is there in the woods, he is at the party and is running at the begginning of the film. so is he trying to upset the chemistry of the two, and what frank did he did to save the world and took on a form which would show donnie what he would become to scare him. like daveboard said he kills himself to save himself and the world and the girl and his parents and the english teachers job.
i think im starting to read way too deep into this!

hi there guys !
have just watched this amazing film for the second time and boy is it a mind-fuck ! first of all i haven't seen the DVD but am eagarly awaiting it ! second of all after reading all these comments i still think the tangent universe happens and its not a dream. but asside from all the major questions going on about religious ties and so on what really bugs me is the man in the red jogging suit ? before seeing this film for the first time i had heard that i should look out for the jogging suit man and also to an announcement made over the tannoy at the airport, so what the hell is going on ?! ( seems to be the question of the day ! )

cheers, any response is welcome and forgive me if i dont make any sense or a valid point as i have just watched the film and its 4 in the morning !
P.S i enjoyed the idea that the chinese girl is a "recorder of time" rather than just a girl with a crush on donnie ?!

I don't know what to make of the man in the red jogging suit. He interrupts the two moments Donnie and Gretchen have together. It must be something related to their relationship -- awkwardness perhaps?


There is NO level after level three. read my response on the 25 march. ive tried to explain why there isnt a level four...

cheers for the response doanld, although i still find it a mystery as to why i got told to look out for him ! oh well..... generally i think the whole film is a paradox so trying to form a final theory to what is going on is going to be impossible ! but hey as people have been saying, the film is produced to make you think and form your own opinions. obviously more thought is required.....by the way does anyone know of any future projects the director is going to embark upon ?

The guy in the red jogging suit is from the FBI..He is so astounded that a Jet engine can appear from no-where that he is following Donnie to try and find out..Thats why you see him at the end when Donnies body is being taken out.

Ah, I see Pritch. Is that a prediction or a fact?

My thoughts-

I think that this film is a play on an interesting paradox that is brought up in “A Brief History of Time” (Seen in the Movie). The paradox presented by Hawkings in this book goes something like this:

What if someone were to shoot a gun through a wormhole that would kill that person in the past before they could shoot the gun?

This paradox is actually presented twice in the movie.

The first and larger one is the jet engine. The jet engine is the “bullet” that travels from the future to kill Donnie in the past. Preventing what we saw in the movie. So did the movie that we saw happen or not? That’s the Paradox?

The second is the killing of Frank. If Frank were never killed in the future he wouldn’t be able to go back and warn Donnie, thus dooming himself. Frank warning Donnie allowed the movie to happen and him to be killed. Because Donnie was killed, by the engine the second time, there is no Frank.

I’ve loved reading everyone’s interpretations and its helped me think so much more about the movie. Thanks. I’d also like to hear what you think of my interpretation.

as i said before the film is closely tied in with time travel and tangent universes ( duh ! ) so is basically one big paradox ( or a collection of smaller ones ) one thing that i've been thinking about is the fact of him " riding" the engine back through the worm hole at the end, but what he does is take the station wagon out to the spot on the hill/road watches the storm gathering over the village. so could it be that he doesn't ride the engine again, but see's the storm gathering and thus knows that the wormhole is opening again ( at the same point in time as the original wormhole in the regular universe, but at the end of the 28 day timeloop in the tangent universe ) so he then just drives back to his house where the wormhole is about to open again and rejoins the regular universe when the timeloop ends and rejoins the regular universe to fall asleep and die. complicated i know but basically i mean that at the begining he doesn't travel THROUGH a wormhole but travels INTO it and then the 28 days ensues(as the tangent universe) and the loop rejoins the regular universe at the same point in time, so when the loop ends he is back in the regular universe ready to die ? i mean this time travel/paralell universe stuff is complicated ! anyway let me know what you think............

Two things.

A. Did any of you read An Occurance at Owl Creek Bridge? It's relevent.

B. What year was A Brief History of Time written. =) Thatttt's right!

Peace all,


nice spot, didn't realise that it was published then !!!!!!!!!! coincidence ?! or is because it enabled the film to be given a fantastic soundtrack...........?!

Sound track of course, pfft...

*Dances the sparkle motion groove.*

i DID read '...owl creek bridge' in like, 6th grade.
short story assignment.
i barely remember what it was about though.
if you could summarize, and note the relevance to 'darko' i would be eternally grateful.

i just watched the movie about an hour ago.
i got the basic gist about predestiny and stuff, but knew nothing of the web site or this board.
i was looking for other peoples' thoughts.

Blarg.. Alright.

An Occurance at Owl Creek Bridge, by Ambroce Bierce, raises the question of whether that which we perceive to be reality is in fact reality and not fanciful irrationality spawned from our inability to cope with what's really taking place.

Peyton Farquhar is a confederate sympathizer that gets caught in the act. The story opens with hims about to get hung by the yanks.. After a few powerfully obvious metahpors (a stream creeping along slowly, a watch that ticks more slowly as the moments creep by) He falls... but instead of his neck breaking, the rope does.

From here, things get strange, the world seems suddenly surreal, he frees his hands and manages to flee. Upon reaching the shore he finds he's not in the clear, however. The enemy manages not to hit him and he's home free. Although through out this whole section you get the feeling that something isn't quite right. A 'grey eyed man' (the most accurate shot according to the text) misses him.

He walks through the woods on the path to his home but through the trees above the stars seem mysteriously unfamiliar and carry some malign implication.

As he approaches his house his neck is swolen and soar, his eyes are bulging and he can't breathe. And just as e reaches out to grasp his wife. *SNAP*

Wake up Donnie.

"Farquhar was dead, his body, with a broken neck, swung gently from side to side beneath the timbers of the Owl Creek Bridge"

Note that the movie is in fact pretty surreal. It almost seems as though these things couldn't happen in a ration world -Frank appearing out of nowhere every so often, An axe through a statue, flooding a school, burning down a house, Frank getting shot, a *time portal* opening.. quite a busy week. Just something to take into considerationg for all of you pondering the greater understanding of the film. =)


Holy god...

28days 6hours 42mintes 12seconds

28 + 6 + 42 + 12 =




well its very early in the m orning here and have just finished watching DD and thought like many of you WOW... what the *GE!+????? and with it being so early I have no one to call up and discuss the E@M+..... so was pleased to find this site and read many of the ideas which has helped me immensley in constructing some kind of response to what I have just seen...

so onto my thoughts

Firstly, DD is obviously a film and as such a work of fiction and like a painting or book etc.. embodies a multiplicity of different readings which continually change no matter the extent to which the director/writer has attempted to fix the possible meaning(s) of the film/fiction. I assume the director like (i assume again) most artists make art that is in some way a response to the human condition and many of the elements that make up the experience of being human are covered in very interesting ways above, religion etc..

So I just want to touch on a couple of points that interested me where I "imagine" the director has attempted to respond to a particular human phenomena and although perhaps the whole film might be dealing with this I think I can isolate something of this phenomena in a few particular instants.

The part that interested me was the project Donnie had made with his girlfriend about the idea of glasses which could have images inserted into them to effect the perceptions of children, (could these glasses be seen as television screens?) Now when donnie talks about altering the "Darkness" of childrens memories the Science teacher suggests that the darkness at that time of life might actually be essential to the development of a human being and attempting to insert imagery into that place in our lives, essentially trying to shed light on the mystery, trying to see and also controlling what we can see, might be an ill-fated endeavour likely to bring about serious consequences. Consequences made clear by the two criminals at the back of the class who suggest the imagery could be open to corruption/manipulation. Gretchen and Donnie discuss on occasion the possibility of changing the past, changing the bad and dark bits for good bits, essentially altering our memories of the past and is not altering our memories of the past a form of time traveling?

That is, that perception is fictional at best, that everybodies perception of reality is part fiction, proved in the way that everybody always has a slightly different version of the truth regarding memories of the past. There is no one past that is fixed and certain, rather only a past that is contingent and constructed from the multiplicity of diverse "vews" from each and every one of us. Perhaps the only true version of the past would be the one that God sees, but by assuming the existence of god one is compelled to account for the existence of the devil.

The point at which the rabbit informs donnie that he can do anything, suggests to me the power of altering ones own perception, not just of the past, but present and future, our perception is our most powerful tool in our lives, it governs what we see and how we see and can be changed, change the how and you change the what. Donnies schizophrenia is testament to the power of perception in terms of altering our experience of reality. What is needed is an instruction manual on how to proceed in the process of altering perception, time travel? The symbolic function of the time travel manual?

Regarding the devil and god issue, gods eye view of the true past, true present and true future? is not available for any of us to perceive, yet, on the one hand, we struggle against our own desire to control the nature of reality whilst desiring to perceive gods true eye view. In fact we are all in darkness/DARKOness, all a Donnie DARKO, battling between God and Evil, Good and dEVIL, where the role of the devil/evil is to corrupt the good eye view of reality and it is our purpose to struggle with our perception which we have FREE choice to alter in any way we choose to make the reality we live in the best we can. But there are many factors/devils which go a long way towards corrupting this process. In actuality perhaps good and devil are one in the same entity in place to effect our learning/development, learning to become masters of our destiny whilst always being in the dark, in part learning how to die.

Realizing that to be born at all is to effectively sign a contract with death, because to be born in essence means also to die. In this sense we are already dead, that is our fates are predetermined, but it is left for us to decide the how and what of our lives and deaths, just like Donnie, what an exciting oppurtunity, so I guess this director wanted to make a film about some of these things, good man!

As the guy said above, this is just a taste of one interpretation and I have others, thanks to everybodies for theirs.. marc

28 + 6 + 42 + 12 =

88? what constitutes a wow?
isnt that a #symbol for hitler?
and lindros?
whats it have to do with the darko?

btw, thanks for the owl creek info.
i remember it now, and that is pretty relevant.
my english teacher gave us an interpretation completely different than that, and id like to go back and kick her ass (@$$? im not sure how we're censored here...) for being so stupid.

Well I've been beating my head against the wall all day trying to figure out...

I mean the "42" minutes is a pretty obvious reference to Douglas Adams... the 88 is killing me though. I mean WHY 19'88'?! Why 28 + 6 + 42 + 12 = 88. Why the year that 'A Brief History of Time' was written (1988 obviously). It might just be an easter egg.

Oh well, I'll sleep on it.


I'm a dir hard H2G2 and Adams fan also, and of cource I noticed the 42 also, but I doubt its a connection. The genres are so different. All the other refrences were to books/movies/etc. that had a little more to do with DD. The only thing I could see is that this movie i trying to explain the meaning of life...

the book could always have been written in 1888? you never know with this movie.

also if you take the last number in the numbers they add up to 18. 8+6+2+2 = 18 = 1888 ??????

Hm. Something tells me the 18 is a coincidence. But who really knows?

Did you notice that one of the songs on the soundtrack was sung by Echo and the bunnymen?!

In Ray Bradbury’s classic short story “A Sound of Thunder,” a time traveler steps off the prescribed path and crushes a butterfly. He returns to the future to find that everything has changed. This is the biggest conundrum in the conception of time travel, and perhaps renders time travel physically possible (at least according to Stephen Hawking) but metaphysically impossible.
Until Donnie Darko, films dealing with time travel have limited themselves to being just cool exercises in the “what if?” Terry Gilliam’s Twelve Monkeys (1996) is perhaps the most elaborate and successful movie mind-fuck, but its final revelation provides no answers to the time travel conundrum. The film remains at the level of example—if time travel is like this, then this is what would happen. It doesn’t explain why and its characters remain caught in a loop, destined to repeat themselves forever. Bruce Willis’s character will always watch himself die.
Donnie Darko follows a boy of superior intelligence whose emotional problems propel him on a very strange trajectory through a tangent universe. Donnie’s journey begins when he dreams about a rabbit telling him to leave the house. He follows the rabbit, and escapes being killed by a falling airplane part of unknown origin. But the rabbit tells him that the world is going to end in twenty-eight days. Donnie’s been given life and death at once.
Donnie Darko boldly attempts not only to transcend the time travel conundrum, but to link it explicitly to the biggest question of all: Does everyone die alone?
If God exists, he must by extension have a plan for the universe, a path for everyone to follow. If we are following a path that God knows from start to finish, then we should be able to jump to any point on that path because it already and always exists. Donnie is able to see these paths as Abyss-like arrows emanating from people’s chests. He tries to ask his science teacher what it all means, but his teacher can’t answer—he’ll lose his job. He can’t tell Donnie how to travel in time because it means telling Donnie that there is a sovereign God who created time and who oversees its unfolding.
Donnie’s bible is The Philosophy of Time Travel, a book written by Darko character Roberta Sparrow, a.k.a. Grandma Death. Sparrows are the birds most commonly associated with God’s providence. In the Bible, Jesus asks that we “consider the birds” to understand how God will take care of us. Shakespeare riffs on these words as Hamlet, confronted with his own mortality and understanding that he must take action, says, “There is a special providence in the fall of a sparrow . . . The readiness is all.” But the dark side of God’s providence is death. Hamlet understood this—the readiness of which he speaks is the readiness to die. Throughout Jesus’ teachings, the idea is that true devotion to God will remove the fear of death because of the trust that God is sovereign and he will provide, even after death. As the existential optimist Job says, “Though he slay me, yet I will trust in him.”
So why, then, does Roberta Sparrow say to Donnie, “Every living thing dies alone”? This question throws Catholic schoolboy Donnie into a tailspin. He thinks that the world is going to end and he’s going to die and be alone and there’s nothing he can do about it. Even as he falls in love with Gretchen and comes to know the depth of his mother’s love for him, Donnie watches his world spiral out of control. He finds destruction of his own making and destruction that is unavoidable. He can’t make heads or tails of any of it and comes to find that the world is a terrifying, dark place even as there are pockets of goodness.
Donnie is learning the meaning of what the biblical writer John calls “the now and the not yet.” The Christian believer lives in the paradox of knowing that salvation (from the eternal consequences of sin) has already arrived and that salvation (from the sorrow of living in a fallen world) is still to come. The conflict will be resolved only when the believer sees Christ face to face—that is, on the believer’s mortal death. Chiefly loving the “now” will lead the Christian to try to turn this world into heaven, to seek happiness in the temporal. Living solely for the “not yet” sends the believer into exile, devoid of intimacy with God’s much-loved children, dreaming only of an escape hatch. Choosing to (try to) love both creates a holy neurosis that might be what Paul meant when he said, “For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Or what Jesus did when he laid down his life for his friends.
As the clock runs out, Donnie makes love with Gretchen and then goes to Roberta Sparrow’s. He’s found love, and now he needs answers. If everyone dies alone, then it doesn’t matter that he loves Gretchen. What he finds is death, destruction, sorrow, and despair. The complete darkness of the fallen world is laid bare before him, and Roberta Sparrow is nowhere to be found. And then the sky starts to fall.
Donnie watches the clouds gather above his house, and then scenes from the movie run in reverse. Donnie is back in his bed on the night of his death. He laughs. He should laugh: he has time traveled, and now he will die—but Gretchen won’t be murdered. His family will weep but the world won’t come to an end at the close of twenty-eight days. He’s sacrificed himself to prove that God exists, that God is indeed sovereign over everything—and if God exists then no one dies alone, it is safe to die, and the world doesn’t have to come to an end. His death does change the future, profoundly, but he laughs because he’s learned that death isn’t the worst thing that can happen to a person, not by half.

Good thoughts Annie.

You know what we all totally forgot about, unless I missed it on the boards.. Lewis Carroll. Who followed the black rabbit into wonderland? =)


Very nice, Annie.

Just thinking: Does Donnie's mom reading "It" foreshadow the story in any way? What about the clown getting out of the car at the end? Connected to the whole "It" theme, or just coincidence?

just to say that one of my favorite songs is Head over heals - tears for fears excellent tune, and the film couldn't have ended on a more appropriate tune..gary jules - mad world.....truely amazing. ( also i don't think that there is a connection between 42/douglas adams and DD, for the same reason as Travis, different genre's. but you never know :) all adding up to 88 ? nice touch !
i had thought of the lewis carol connection when i first saw the film and also forgot about it, but thought it was a white rabbit :) !!!!!! saying that though is there more connections to lewis caroll ? its been a while since i read the book.........
on a random side note ( tangent sidenote ?! ) has anyone heard the theory that all stories can be broken down into 7 or 11 ( something around there ) basic stories and these can be broken down into a further two....a stranger comes to town or some-one goes on a journey. bit random i know but just to see what the panel think.....man i can't wait to get donnie on DVD !

Haha it was a white rabbit. I was putting into a Donnie context. The rabbit he follows is dark. =)

And as to why I think the 42 was intentional... Well the writer was obviously pretty big on 'metaphysical' reads. And if you recall, in the fifth (and fourth?) books in the Hitchhikers guide series there is a good bit about time travel, they journey to the end of the universe... the new 'hitch hikers guide' (the bird thing) can manipulate space and time.. etc.. etc.. And it ends with the universe collapsing. It's all just physics. =) Seems like a connection enough to me. =\


I've been to all three levels of the site - at least I think I have. I went to the site so I could read the Philosophy of Time Travel book, but even though I get to the part where all the chapters are listed, with what seems to be links next to each one, when I click on the links nothing happens. The password to level three is supposed to be in the book, or a hint of what it is, but since I wasn't able to read the book I had to cheat by getting the password from one of the posts here. What am I doing wrong? I'd really like to read the book.

Have any of you read "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test"? It explains the white rabbit in the book. There was a man famous for making LSD, his name was Owsley, although his nickname was the white rabbit :-)

Just wondering ( sorry if it has already been posted or in some way mentioned) perhaps the flooding of the school ( destruction ) and then Donnie meeting Gretchen was the creation of something new ( their relationshop) and thats what Frank intended on happening.

The people on the trampoline - any significance?

Argh! What is the level 1 password?!


I just finished listening to the phone conversation on the official site.
Does this mean that it obviously wasn't the same flight that Donnie's sister was on?

I'm not sure the creepy song played while they're watching the Evil Dead movie is actually the evil dead soundtrack or score. I've been looking through the internet and found this site Associated Production music (www.apmmusic.com). You can download music there (mp3 320 kbps), if you're a movie maker or a movie professional, of course. Surfing the site you can find this two songs: "Ave Maria" by G.Caccini and P.Pritchard, and "For whom the bell tolls" by S.baker and C.daye, the latter being "an Atmospheric lament featuring mezzo soprano voice over sonorous background", so I guess it's the song we're looking for. As I told before, I couldn't download it. I just downloaded the song from eDonkey (looking for Donnie Darko Ave Maria, as Corbin sugested, thanks, Corbin!)but the quality is 96 kbps. Anyway, if anyone knows where to find it in the net, I'd appreciate some suggestions (the cds are "Opera:the works" and "voicing the classic part 2", but they're not available to download anywhere.
Another soundtrack question is... where the heck can you hear "lucid memory" and "lucid assembly" by ged and mike bauer during the movie??? I've seen it twice and can't find them.
Then there's this song "show me" by quito colayco and tony herts, which I think is the song played while Cherita's performance.
Anyone correct this information, please.

By the way, great movie! I'm just speechless (and anyway, everything's already said, thank you all for your interpretation!)

the page you're talking about seems to be having some glitches, so after clicking the lower right window where Grandma Death is, don't click anything else. If you're lucky, the cover of the book will appear to the right, and you can navigate through the pages clicking the chapters names to the left. I had to try several times (even on different days, because the cover didn't show), but don't give up, you'll finally see it.


Thanks, it worked!

The "Philosophy of Time Travel" information on the Darko website is transcribed here: http://www.tonystuff.co.uk/darko-time.htm

It makes it easier to read:)

BTW, I loved reading all your comments. It's pretty amazing how many different interpretations we have come up with.

So on to mine :P. When I first watched the movie I came away with an idea of the story close to the initial interpretation on this page. I have since watched the director's commentary and read the "Philosophy of Time Travel" and changed my idea to fit the "rules" that the director set up. I dismissed all the "it's just a dream" and "its all in his head" scenarios since the director dismissed these options straight away. "The Philosophy of Time Travel" explains what is basically happening in the movie and everything fits, at least in my mind. The facts: 1. the "primary universe" splits off into the "tangent universe" because of the engine falling through the wormhole and donnie is chosen to put it back together. 2. The "tangent universe" is unstable and will colapse in 28 days. 3. all the characters within the "tangent universe" are being manipulated to help donnie understand he has to send the engine back through the wormhole.
OK, at first I was putting alot of religious meaning into my idea of what the movie was about but after listening to the commentary and such, I'm sure the director left that part of it for the viewer to interpret anyway he wants to....there is no definite answer. I take the actions of the other characters within the movie as being "manipulated" to guide donnie along. Who is pulling the strings is left up to the viewer.
Most of this has been stated previously but I wanted to state my opinion on one aspect. After listening to the director's take on the movie I don't believe donnie actually goes back through the wormhole. I don't believe he goes back at all. I take it as the "tangent" donnie is different from the "primary" donnie. At the beginning of the movie donnie wakes on the mountain and I believe he was manipulated there so when the time comes he will know where to go to get a better view of the wormhole. From there he sends the engine back through the wormhole to correct the universe. How he does it I'm not completely sure and I don't think the director was either:P. But this corrects the idea that if donnie went back in time there would be 2 donnies. And of course, the clothes he was wearing when the engine fell on him.
Anyway, it is finally starting to make sense in my head. It's hard to put it down on paper, sorry if I just confused you. I just have one question: When donnie wakes and is laughing back in the primary universe before the engine falls......do you think he was laughing because he thinks it a dream or because he is enlightened? Donnie, like all the characters, wakes up in the primary universe with a vauge idea of what happened in the tangent universe. I would like to think he knew what was going to happen but taking things as they are presented, I'm not so sure it was necessary for him to die. His purpose was to send the engine back, not to die. What do you think?


In the scene where he is laughing just before he gets killed i was strongly reminded of a book i recently read about a women who has suffered nothing but torture, loss and pain does the only thing she can on her deathbed:laugh. Perhas Donnie was laughing at death also *shrug*

even though donnie sent the engine back into the primary universe, didn't it still enter through a wormhole? and another wormhole would cause another rift in the universe, wouldn't it? if donnie sent it back, and didnt die, he would again be the closest to the vector and the artifact, and would have to send it through again, repeating the cycle. i guess since he does die in the end, the cycle is terminated... but there's still a rift from the engines re-entrance into the promary universe where donnie was asleep in his bed, was there not? and then the world would STILL end 28 days later, but donnie would already be dead.
-someone prove me wrong, please.

[...and would have to send it through again, repeating the cycle. but since he does die in the end, the cycle is terminated...]

Truth is... For it to make sense to me, should be this way:

1. The fall of the engine IS NOT the event which triggers the parallel world (the paralell world has been already triggered, maybe at 12 oclock). I think R.Sparrow tells in her book that the Artifact (engine) provides the first sign that a Tangent Universe has occured (she doesn't say it IS the event that causes it).

2. Donnie didn't put the engine back into the wormhole at the end (it was going into it already, without Donnie's help - otherwise, how did it fall on Donnie's bed at the beginnig???). Last scenes' sense (with Donnie at the Carpathian Ridge looking at the sky) is just for Donnie to fully realize what has been happening through all these 28 days, and for him to make his decision (wether he wants to die killed by a plane engine and save humankind from a collapsing Universe, or die anyway from this collapsing Universe...). He says "I'm going home" and these words are his choice. Suddenly everything goes back, and he's the only one who remembers what has happened (the manipulated living just remember as a dream - as told by R.Sparrow in her book).

Several things are left unexplained but I keep on thinking.
Sorry for my spelling/grammar... English is my 2nd language. By the way, if anyone could make a short summary of the phone conversation from the official website, I would be grateful (it's hard for me to fully understand it, and I can't fully read it neither).
Ah, and there's still this question about the soundtrack: where can you hear the tracks "lucid memory" and "lucid assembly"???
See ya

Aha. That makes sense :) The engine didn't cause the rift and donnie didn't send it back.
But I'm still not sure why donnie had to die in order to repair the rift. Any explanations? Maybe I'm trying too hard to make it logical....it science FICTION after all :P. Thanks.

But now after reading back over the "Philosophy of Time Travel" it did say "The Living Receiver is chosen to guide the Artifact into position for its journey back to the Primary Universe. " Hmmm.

Well, no matter how we try to explain it we will be left with a paradox.

Ummm... hard to explain, isn't it?
well, let's say the Universe was split up into two different universes at point 0 in a time-line. Now we have two time-lines:
·A-Normal Universe
·B-Tangent Universe)
The Artifact (engine) fell at point 1.B.
From now on, the movie goes from 1.B to... let's say 28.B.
Now we are on 28.B. and Donnie is up there on the Carpathian Ridge, making his choice. Now that he has read Sparrow's book, he knows everything about the Artifact, he knows he's the Living Receiver, and he knows he has to guide the Artifact back to 1.A!!! Maybe he knows the way to put it back to 1.A is just thinking about it (I'm going home) and maybe he knows he has to die, otherwise we are on Line B again (Gretchen dies, Frank dies, Rose and Sam and the sparke motion girls die....). Don't know, it makes sense to me... Hope it does for you ;)
Ah, another thing... I'm not sure Frank is God or the Devil (R.Sparrow says in her book that if anyone dies in the Tangent Universe, he/she becomes a Manipulated Dead, and they are able to contact the Living Receiver through the Fourth Dimensional Construct (i.e. TIME - Frank dies on 28.B and is able to visit the time-line from 1.B to 28.B)... quite a metaphysical explanation, but it's the only thing I've came up with until now... hope it works for you too! :)
I'll buy the DVD one of these days and try to reach better conclusions...

Yeah, after I posted last I actually drew it out on paper and it made more sense to me. As far as how he guided the enigine back and closed the rift I guess we will never know. As far as whether frank is God or the Devil or neither: he is the manipulated dead and therefore being manipulated by something or someone. It is left up to you to decide what "divine intervention" means and of course you will use your own theological beliefs to explain it. As it says in the book: "Divine intervention is deemed the only logical conclusion for the appearance for the Artifact. "

Yeah! it makes sense. So Frank's not God nor the Devil but he's maybe manipulated by God...
I think this is the first movie that keeps me thinking for so much time (or maybe the second, after "Open your eyes" but in that case everything fit finally like a puzzle).

Not sure if I'm going too deep with this but the number 8 (with it being in 1988) means judgement. It signifies that judgements have to be made (as Donnie has to choose his path) "decisions made concerning itself and others under it" It is also the sign of infinity and made up of 2 zeros joined together and it can be seen as "all or nothing" (like Donnie can die and save everyone or let the world end) It can be extremely ambitious but can also be self-destructive.

Also I agree with lots of the comments on here, it helped me to get some parts that I'm confused about (I saw it for the first time last night) :D

ive got two questions...

1) is it really possible to read the "philosophy of time travel" on the website? if so, how??

2)what's the name of the cure song in the begining of the movie??

thanx in advance


1. Yes it's possible but difficult due to some glitches. When you reach the part where Donnie and his father pop up in two different windows and then R.Sparrow, and later you see 4 pop up windows showing R.Sparrow whispering Donnie, click the lower right window and then DON'T CLICK ANYTHING ELSE. The book cover will appear to the right, and you'll be able to navigate throught its pages clicking the chapters name to the left.

2. The song in the beginning is called "The Killing Moon" and it's not by the Cure but by Echo and the Bunnymen.

hah. it does sound like the cure though.
thats the first thing that popped into my mind watching this movie.

love this site - the movie has just become available to rent over here (UK) and I am obsessed! how do you get to the part of the website where donnie and his father pop up?

Laura, try this one:

How fast did you have to drive the Delorian in Back to the Future to travel backwards in time..

Uh huh...

Weird isn't it? =\


Oops... 'Delorean'.


thanks jose, good site!So does anyone know the significance of 88 then? Also: any ideas on how/why the science teacher got killed 11 years later? driving me crazy. did Connie know about Jim's secret kiddie porn fetish (hence him killing himself and making her boss)?

sorry if i've posted this already! does anyone know why/how the science teacher died 11 years later?

In level 3, before the telephone conversation there is a pop up box of the chandalier (sp?) swinging, I tried to close that box and an entry box has appeared... does anyone know what to type in there or does it not lead anywhere?

for the last temptation of christ parodys, when he is at the movies the next movie is'the last temptation of christ.' maybe a little hint?
whats with the (fat) chinese girl? does she love donnie or sumthin, when they meet in the corridor and she drops a book with his name on it.

Hi guys, found some interesting comments here, thanx. Im in the same position as Laura, i've just seen it over here in the UK and it has become by far one of my favourite movies.
Via, the entry box should take you to a conversation about the plane engine. Thats the last part, if im not mistaken, and its not for those who havent yet seen the movie.
Peace out.

By the way, Gary Jules singing Mad World at the end of the movie just totally added to the class. Man I love that song.

Hi Marya!
well I read that there may more information after the telephone conversation and I was messing about and up popped the box. You know how you're supposed to click inside the pop-up box to get the telephone sign and then the convo and then "time's up donnie"... instead of that I tried to close the pop-up box and a prompt (? not sure) comes up and I was wondering what to type...

Hi :)
Hold on, i'll check it out myself.

Hey, try constantly closing the pop up box and the prompt(?) box grows bigger....its an empty box. But when you carry on trying to close the pop up box, it gets bigger. And then some writing comes up. I dont think its that significant, it takes you to the telephone conversation again.
I do apologise if this made no sense.

Hey Robbie, I dunno if this is of any importance.. but consider the name of the dance that she did at the school talent show, it was 'Autumn Angel'.


btw the Delorean had to go 88 miles an hour to travel back in time... (as above: movie is 1988, 28 + 6 + 42 + 12 = 88, Brief history of time was written in 1988 yadda yadda) I dunno what it all means. It's killin me. I think the Delorean going 88 miles an hour definately has something to do with it. And it seems too connected to be a coincidence. =)

i think eric lindros invented a time machine, and all these 88's are simply an homage to him... maybe

Well, I'm jewish, so I'm not really an expert on this, but maybe the significance of Frank being a bunny rabbit, as was brought up by a previous post, was if he was Jesus, perhaps there is some Easter connotation (which does have some bunnies). I really don't know what happened on Easter, but the only time I can think of when Religion and a Bunny ever had anything to do with one another was during Easter. Once again, I'm not too knowledgable on Easter, but if you want to know about Passover, I'm your man. Not really.

On a second note: Donnie keeps worrying about loneliness. Before I continue, there has been much debate about the chinese girls Shareeta (phonetically). Well, I would be very confident in saying that she is the epitome of loneliness. She wears her earmuffs (which donnie later tries on) and keeps telling everyone to shut up. She is always sitting behind donnie be it in health class or Barrymore's class and perhaps troubles donnie as a lingering fear. Since she is alone, she doesn't have to worry about anything other than herself, which is probably why despite all of the misfortunes of everyone else, she is still happy at the end of the movie. More spurts will come from me as I attempt to interpret this movie instead of doing schoolwork.

More stuff

Maybe when Donnie's pop says he's doomed, he is implying that if Donnie doesn't make the right decision, he's dead with everyone else and if he does make the right decision, he's dead because of the shear physics behind a jet engine falling on someone.

"Destruction is a form of creation"
"They just want to see what happens when they tear the world apart" - um, that's what someone is doing through the time travel and creating this parallel universe. To see what happens?

Recognizing that this is a movie and that someone wrote it with a clear intention of conveying something in particular, I do not believe that the author would have intentionally created any type of contradiction in the movie. So I believe that with a lot of the previous theories, if we are able to contradict even a small part of the theories mentioned above with a piece of the movie, then it's probably the case that that theory was not the correct interpretation.

So, further recognizing that there is an entire time travel guide provided by the author of the movie, it is my belief that there actually is another parallel universe created. Donnie is also clearly the living receiver, why? I can't explain, he just is because the screenwriter says so. OK, as I read on in Sparrow's book, why is Donnie the living receiver? "The Living Receiver is often blessed with a Fourth Dimensional Powers. These include increased strength, telekinesis, mind control, and the ability to
conjure fire and water." Donnie burns a house and floods a school, pretty strong connotations that this quote is referring to him. Furthermore, "the Living Receiver is often tormented by terrifying dreams, visions and auditory hallucinations during his time within the Tangent Universe." Now there is little doubt that Donnie is the living receiver, not Sesus or God. Now who are the manipulated who are trying to destroy him? Hmmm... These contrast to the Manipulated Living, who are trying to assist
Donnie in making the right decision. And the Manipulated Dead, who's responsibility it is to make sure Donnie doesn't screw up.
Manipulated: Swayze (through his declaring Donnie Crazy), that old lady bitch (who follows Swayze) and reminds me of Pat Summitt.

Manipulated Living: Barrymore, Sparrow, The Scientist, Psychiatrist

Manipulated Dead: well, who dies in the tangent universe...hmm...Frank. Ensurance Trap: running over the girl by Frank, makes Donnie have little to live for in the tangent universe and decide to use her as his memory. (That whole rant she goes on in the movie about remembering one thing)

Go to this site, it's totally laid out for you all.

Okay, so this explains what is happening in the tangent universe. Basically my biggest question is who in the hell decided to start the whole event of the parallel universe? and why?
I don't believe it was Frank at all. Frank comes into being after the tangent universe is created. I don't know. But who created it? Perhaps the divine that created it is just God, himself. And no one represents him. Perhaps
God just created the artifact and this whole dilemma just wanting "to see what happens when (he tears) the world apart."
I'm going to sleep. Good night, I look forward to your comments

think you hit the nail on the head there about Cherita. Never occurred to me about the ear muffs - obviously they are to shut things out, not to keep her ears warm! i think most of her scenes are about loneliness. Maybe she sits at the school statue thing because she wishes she belonged? Her significance bothers me the most! Maybe its to do with being alone and dealing with it, like you said. Must be more to it though....

Thanks Marya lol I've given up for the time being but knowing that site I *bet* there's something else!
Good point Mat about Cherita, I think that's why Donnie wears her earmuffs later on because he's blocking out the world, accepting his loneliness instead of fearing it, like he told Dr. Thurman(and thus carry out his destiny later on)??

if u use the same sort of thing as back to the future, then when donnie travels back in time to kill himself and thus saving the whole of mankind, then there are two donnies in that universe the one who dies and the one on the golf course, now my time traveling philopshy isnt to good..but when people travel back in time it has already happened, so u cant change it, and any attempt to change what happens will inadvertivily lead to it happening.
also little point the only two emotions donnie experiences in the film are anger and love. (apart from when he sees that chinese girl and feels sorry for her, maybe the chinese girl is there to enlighten donnie, without him knowing)

My interpretation

I think everyone assumes that unless donnie left the house at franks bidding he would have died to the jet engine. I think this is wrong. Donnie sleep walks every night, so this is one bullet he would have dodged anyway. That particular night there is a worm hole in the sky. Donnie goes outside as usual, frank tells him to look at the sky (i.e. look through the worm hole). Through this worm hole donnie sees his future, the rest of the movie is the vision he gains through the worm hole. In the end of the movie we see Donnie hopping back into bed, this means, he has looked through the worm hole (at franks bidding) seen the future and made the decision to go back into his room and die to prevent the tradgedies that will result from his actions. Therefore Frank in my mind is a spirit, who has appeared to Donnie to make him aware of what will happen and give him the choice to sacrifice himself.

So basically what actually happens on that night is he gets up, walks outside, has the conversation with frank, then walks back inside and hops into bed.

This makes sense to me, but there are still parts that puzzle me. I don't know if every aspect of this movie necessarily plays a clear role in helping the story or whether a lot of the things are not necessarily connected. I tend to thinkt he latter.

the one major thing that bothers me is that by Donnie dieing all these tradgedies are avoided save one. If Donnie dies Cunningham is not brought to justice. So what does this mean? That bothers me. It would seem significant as anyone who has watched the deleted scenes will be aware of Donnie's poem where he talks about saving the children from the monster, which would obvisouly be Cunningham. So it seems that it is important, yet in the end this monster is left unharmed.

I do belive that Donnie suffers from mental problems, he does act strangely. But basically my take on the whole thing is that everything between the first meeting with Frank, and Donnie hopping back into bed right at the end is a vision gained from looking through the worm hole. Otherwise in my mind it makes no sense how he transitions from the top of the hill with dead gretchen back into his bed.

Please point out any flaws you see in my theory, I find this movie fascinating and I love reading everyone's theories.

Posted by: Hugh on February 16, 2003 07:43 AM

I think what a couple of people continue to miss is that Roberta Sparrow's book, The Philosophy of Time Travel, is touted as a critical part of the movie. Therefore, It is clear that Donnie is living in a parallel universe sparked by the jet engine leaving the other universe. Once the jet engine is in the worm hole, the movie shows that Donnie hasn't gone to sleep yet, since he's hopping into bed. Therefore, if the artifact has already penetrated Donnie's main universe before he gets into bed, then Frank doesn't pull him out of the path of the engine, rather Donnie is already in the parallel universe, which is why Frank is able to speak to Donnie because Frank is the manipulated dead. So in terms of the time travel theory, the parallel universe is created before Donnie gets out of bed, so him sending the plane engine back in time to kill him is logical since he is in bed before the parallel universe opens up.

Why is Frank the rabbit telling donnie all that stuff when he was in the film later and didn't no donnie, and why did he get shot?...your probably laughing & thinking did this guy see the film? but hey im not with it 2day

On the site, an article pops up (I forgot which level it was on) and it tells you that Jum Cunningham has commited suicide about 10 days after donnie's death. This should be because of the deja vus from the tangent universe and he's appalled at himself and so snuffs himself ('scuse the language)
and Frank (the dead one) came from the future and the real frank doesn't know his future ... yet

Its all quite simple really:

1. The tangent universe forms (no explanation is given or is required - it just happens!) and the jet engine (artifact) trancends from the normal to the tangent universe to signify that this event has occured (it does not cause it but is a product of it).
2. It is Donnie's role to close the worm hole which he does by rewinding time at the end of the movie. This act alone removes the tangent (think of it simply erasing the rogue branch which deviates from the main time line) and puts the artifact back into the normal universe. The artifact still physically remains at the end of the film but the wormhole is closed.
3. All other characters (both manipulated dead and living) in the film are helping him with this task i.e. moving him towards making this decision in order to save the universe.
4. Donnie did not need to die when he went back in time but he had to be made to think that he did. i.e. he had to be given a reason to turn back time and close the wormhole.

Okay its not that simple (and quite probably completely wrong!)

One question - the web site lists the manipulated dead as Frank and Gretchan, fair enough, but in brackets after Gretchans name it says "and her real dad" (at least i'm pretty sure that's what it says!), so who is her real dad?

echo and the bunnymen (who do 'the killing moon' i guess its called? at the beginning of the film) i think cover the door's 'people are strange'. im downloading it now and cant wait to hear it. just thought id share. im excited

yes, you're right. That song is played in "the Lost Boys", great 80's vampire movie.

Good question, Andy. Think of the possible choices for male maliputed dead.... Jim Cunningham perhaps? Hm..

hmmmm..this film is one big connundrum, maybe the director shud tell every1 wot its all about, provided he knows and he meant all tons of stuff

also how did jim cunningham help donnie to make his descision (he was manipulated)

Someone asked what are the signifagance of the two "thugs" and the fat girl.


I was just wondering, the fat guy who is standing there when Donnie wants to kiss Gretchen appears again with a torch outside the house, just before the party. Any significance?? And why is he there in the first place? Please tell me you know what i'm talking about.

Am I the only one who thought Frank was Donnie? That's the first thing I thought when I was watching this movie.

Also, I couldn't help but notice that the car Donnie bikes past in the beginning on the road is the same car that Frank was driving. I'm gonna watch the movie again today to see if I can make better sense of it.

Frank couldn't be Donnie, I did think that maybe he was just a subconscious form of Donnie at some point which he only confronted when he hallucinated but it all made sense when he took his mask off at the cinema.

Wasn't the first car black and Frank's car red?? Godammit another reason to watch the movie.....again... ;)

Oh and one thing, I understand why Donnie's mother wasn't on the plane in the end, but why was his sister not on it?

towards the end of the movie, when they are showing many of the characters awake or waking from their sleep, why is Drew Barrymore (cannot remember the character's name) sleeping?

Hmm... good question Page.

What the......
Gretchens mom goes missing before the party, she thinks its her dad coming back again. This in effect leads to her going to donnie that night in the first place, them making love, everythng else that night. What is the significance of her mom going missing that night? Could the fat guy in the jogging suit be her Dad? or someone else stalking her.

1)How can Donnie be Jesus if he has sex with Gretchen? How can his mom be Mary (there are some similtarities) if she's not a virgin...eh, whatever.
2)What do the punks represent in the Jesus metaphor?
3) What are the undertones of Gretchen's idea to put images in infants eyes? I think there's a whole "hear no evil (the chinese girl's earmuffs), see no evil (the infant eye thingies) and speak no evil...yeah something.

Anyone catch the obvious postmodern undertones of the Cunningham program? Donnie rejects his binary way of viewing the world, and all of the characters, other than Donnie, Gretchen, Drew Barrymore and Noah Wyle, have strong postmodern stereotypes. Donnie's mother and father are classic bourgoise middle class, she always has a glass of wine, he's voting for george bush, he has the men over to watch football, etc. The gym teacher, fear/love therapist, and the whole school are stereotypical neurotics in search of easy answers. This goes along very well with the concept of "manipulated living". Perhaps they're not being manipulated by god, but by social construction.

Also, has anyone discussed the possibility that the entire plot was a flash in Donnie's schizophrenic mind in the few seconds before he died? Your mind goes into hyperdrive, I've heard.

Also, the Christ complex, in a psychoanalytic sense, is the first part of the collapse into complete psychosis. This easily goes along with the whole theme of postmodernism. If he thinks that he has somehow acheived some sort of higher knowledge, above the petty "manipulated living" of those around him, wouldn't he want to "save" them?

Just YET ANOTHER WAY to look at this absolutely incredible gem of a movie.

Whew. Just read every single comment. First of all, in the donnie darko website, beside Gretchen's name, it says "Not her real name". not "not her real dad" or "help da brudder" or something like that.
Secondly, many people are saying why the sister wasnt on the plane and etc, well the thing is. In the real world, that plane never took that flight. The jet engine is the only sign of the tangent universe (many people were asking why the jet engine still fell on top of donnie if the whole thing didnt happen). And... the sister wasnt on the plane, because i think, after the whole accident and donnie dying i dont think everything went to normal.. i think it said somewhere that the family moved somewhere else to live. The natural course that the events took on the tangent universe werent all going to happen in the real universe: starting with donnie never meeting gretchen, etc etc. The plane in the real universe never had that accident of the jet engine coming off the plane. Remember that the events on the tangent universe and the real universe couldnt happen exactly the same, because after all, in one donnie dies and in the other one he doesnt. Like someone said above how in the story of Ray Bradbury, the time traveler crushes a butterfly and the whole world changes.
Also a bunch of details from the movie:
-Shareeta (?) is always reading that book, the one named "Donnie Darko". She also overhears the conversation of Donnie with the science teacher. Why?
-When did the event at the very beginning occur? When Donnie wakes up and rides on the bike?
And a lot more which I cant remember because I should have wrote as soon as I finished watching it. I will watch it again and post them here.

Oh. and feel free to correct my thoughts or add what you think or contradict me or whatever :)

And some people were commenting that what if Donnie was Frank, which is odd that in the website the Frank costume appears on top of Donnie when he's in the class, in front of the fear love lifeline.

And to respond to jay ceezle's comment on hear no evil, etc, i think you're onto something, at the end of the movie Kitty covers her mouth with her hand... and there's also the chinese girl saying "Shut up". which could be the speak no evil part.

Tangent universe...this is a throughly discussed issue in the movie cuz its the only thing that could make it all happen. Prescription pills, human bodies, a school, jim cunninghams ideals of new age religion (hah yes, I can almost grab his head), rabbits, human like rabbits, names, donnie, gretchen,roberta...etc....

haha but none of u have ever thought what could have possibly forged the ending??? I mean, the ending is the beginning, or the beginning is the ending, that to me is the only unclear aspect and somewhat metaphysical aspect of the movie.

Talking about details such as jet engines (fire and air maybe?) the flood (water) and something else that could have represented earth, is nonsense couse the movie is based on psychological methods to reduce everything to absurdity and to make u all see the TANGENT part of it :)

so...what are the untangible elements here...

time...time can make it all, donnies hallucinations are an exact represantion of what God (time) might be, just standing a little bit ahead of us, of every movement, knowing it all, even if its just an alter 5 seconds...Im sure u all know 5 seconds is a lot...time is discussed in the film but more as a physical phenomena than a religious disembowelment towards this earths peripheral...or this movies peripheral...time is shown as numbers in the movie...but the numbers dont really represent anything to the rabbit, neither to donnie....only to the spectators who are seeing that time as literal prediction...

love...did u ever saw donnie hallucinating over gretchen?? no...becouse they had this most untangible splendour...love could not be seen, not even by god, but by the lovers only, and its aspect is mental "Hmm u are weird" "uhhh well... " " i meant that In a good way" ' :) '

u remember that? she saw his untangible aspect...thats why everything became unconditional and ilusional between them...and never changed, at the end, they were still in love...becouse they knew each other later on...and i also recall this fear-----love diagram....where theres only a linneal direction...a timing direction...A line is analog to a circle...si it all has to happen...fear and love back to fear back to love...eternally

Ok , so bottomline, this movie doesnt has a primary objective but to conduct the spectator to a land of oddities , of scratched scenery, and visual verbosity...but what it all matters to me, is the fact of the untangible, how comes they NEVER even say this word in the movie?

HAH thats my view...its all lying beneath ur cute characters and monstrous symbolism...stephen hawking had a chance to have the actual chance, roberta sparrow had the chance, and donnie made it happen...time is an ilusion, it wont have an effect on actions , they are all predestined...so if U want to see it all end my friends, just open ur eyes, and see it fall slowly............gretchen died the day after...

i agree with some of what you say but...
damn youre cocky

Short and sweet, here it goes...

The main issues of the movie (Frank, Donnie's hallucinations of him, etc...) have nothing to do with jesus, god or religion itself. Dig deeper, you'll find it.

I read somewhere Robert Kelly started on this script when he was pretty young, around the 80's, which might be the reason for the movie taking place in the 1980's. Also read his father was a NASA scientist. hmm.

well it just could be different...just the reason that u can post here makes it all possible...im just into my idea just like anyone else is into their own, and of course you can critizice.. :)

"my english teacher gave us an interpretation completely different than that, and id like to go back and kick her ass (@$$? im not sure how we're censored here...) for being so stupid."

dan, you said that, so do u have the right to call me cocky?

I dont denigrate auxiliar statements...

point taken 'me'.
i didnt mean any harm, but it just seemed that you were taking a stab at other peoples interpretations:
HAH thats my view...its all lying beneath ur cute characters and monstrous symbolism...
dont get me wrong, i agree with that, but that doesnt mean youre right and everyone else is wrong. i dont think this movie is meant to be monstrously symbolic. theres just so much open-ended weird shit that it could be taken a number of ways. your interpretation is one of many, so dont go and deride or belittle (or denigrate... if you will.) anyone elses.

point taken 'me'.
i didnt mean any harm, but it just seemed that you were taking a stab at other peoples interpretations:
HAH thats my view...its all lying beneath ur cute characters and monstrous symbolism...
dont get me wrong, i agree with that, but that doesnt mean youre right and everyone else is wrong. i dont think this movie is meant to be monstrously symbolic. theres just so much open-ended weird shit that it could be taken a number of ways. your interpretation is one of many, so dont go and deride or belittle (or denigrate... if you will.) anyone elses.

to "from finish to start" - Richard Kelly said that the whole point of the film was religion and he says so in the commentary (well that's what is reported in Empire we still have to wait until 19th may....)

Great Website!!!
My .02 - Not too much more can be said but I would like to give my interpretation.

I think a lot of the focus in the board has been on the "Philosophy of Time Travel" (the scientific basis of the movie) however it's clear that there is a strong religious theme for this movie (the deleted scenes and commentary on the DVD demonstrate this) which can't be ignored.

Donnie, I believe, is a symbol of a man who's on the cusp of enlightenment. He's searching constantly searching for more. I believe this is what his sleepwalking represents - and insatiable search. I wondered why he was smiling in the beginning of the movie after awakening from a sleepwalking session. Was he delirious? crazy? tired? It didn't become obvious until I saw a deleted where Donnie is talking to Gretchen about his sleepwalking. She says (I'm paraphrasing) "Do you always end up in a familiar place?" Donnie replies "Actually it's further away each time." Donnie is further away from physically from "home" - his agnostic beliefs but closer to finding the issue burning within him (Not wanting to "die alone" in other words proof of God)

When Frank the bunny appears finally there is some sign of God... but "frank" is everywhere so Donnie still has some work to do. I believe Frank is not the devil nor God rather he is the message of God. To be clearer the word of God is delivered through Frank(s). Why do I write Frank(s)? Because the word of God is everywhere as it is in the movie (in the deleted scenes there are more "frank" references. The name Frank shows up in various conversations and has different meanings one example - When Jim Cunningham is lecturing to the students he begins to tell a story of a lost boy named Frank. Jim uses his Frank to support his message which some might say is BS. I think JC is supposed to be organized religion. Many people believe (especially those who think you must find God on your own) that organized religion has manipulated the word of God and the true path to God is not through religion. The original message of God is quite frank but religion has made it meaningless (fear -- - - - - love).

The word of God or any power so great; really cannot be understood without help. That's why there is the manipulated living and manipulated dead to help Donnie with the scientific means (the how) to accomplish his task but more importantly the spiritual motivation (the why). I don't think this movie is either religious or scientific. I believe its both; it's an attempt at a synthesis of the two "schools of thought".

Why is Donnie smiling right before he dies? Simple - His question has been answered. Yes he's going to die but he will not die alone.

Cherita - She's very tricky to figure out but I think she's a pre - Donnie. If you put an enlightened man (Donnie) on a timeline; Donnie Darko would be at the end and Cherita would be somewhere at the beginning. She hears the words and sees the results of the manipulated but not in the same context as Donnie. She hears Drew scream, she sits at the base of the Mongrel (an image I still don't fully understand), at some point you see her eavesdropping on Donnie. She is close but not yet there, she knows there is more but she can't handle it. When spoken to directly all she can muster is a Chut Up! She's fascinated with enlightenment that's why she carries a book with Donnie Darko on the cover. However she doesn't want to leave the comfort of her ignorance...not yet. She's happy or well not crying at the end of the movie because in her dream (the tangent universe) there was hope and she was closer to the "message" than she was prior.

One question - If those who die in the tangent universe become the manipulated dead then is Gretchen also the manipulated dead as well?

If Donnie goes to bed and dies under the engine then everything is fixed. But does his little sister still die in the plane crash? Love the film but need help!!


Do you think that after Donnie dies the events in the town will go on as if nothing happened? The flight didnt even occur in the universe that Donnie died.

Thanx for answering my question Cris, it makes sense to me now.

Alright, I was bored at work and needed to think and type, and here it is.

To answer two recent questions...

*If Donnie had died after the engine crashed into his room (which wouldn't happen, as that would defy the laws set by the Philosophy of TT), then the next closest person would become the living receiver.

*If he closed the wormhole and the tangent universe disappears, then there would be no wormhole the next time around at that spot.

First and foremost, Donnie’s journey can’t be just a vision, because that would just downplay his and Roberta Sparrow’s sacrifice. Donnie had the freedom of choice, and he exercised it. Roberta Sparrow also chose to leave the convent and serve God’S purpose for her—to save all creation. Her coming into knowledge occurred prior to the tangent universe. If the tangent universe only accured in Donnie’s mind, Roberta Sparrow would serve no purpose. Also, the story definitely has to do with Christianity as the writer has said, but is plenty of other things without it, so no one has to dwell on that if they don’t want to.

Cherita likes Donnie, and follows him around, wanting to know all about him. It’s like witnessing a miracle. She is despised and ignored, actively denied by all those around her, so when Donnie actually puts her in the spot light for a moment, she runs away, embarrassed and frightened, unable to reconcile his behavior with that of so many others who always talk about her as she wasn’t even there (she’s the one that records Donnie’s story in his defense. He is as mysterious to her as a hero of romance, as Christ. One can make a parallel of her relationship to Donnie as that of Christ’s relationship to Mary Magdalen—closer to Jesus Christ Superstar, though that is not quite biblical.) As he puts her earmuffs on, he’s relishing what it feels like to be one who only watches and records, with no expectations from the world. But Clark Kent had to take off is glasses in the end too.

In the end sequence, everyone is awake except for Drew—one way to interpret that is that she is the only one who has no regrets from her actions in the tangent universe. All the others had denied a part of themselves/others in the tangent universe, and awoke with the recognition that they had done something they were not proud of. In this way, Drew’s character and Cherita were the only two who were keepin’ it real the entire time, no matter how they were persecuted by those around them.

As for Frank, he’s the manipulated dead—not evil, but with a capacity to be selfish. He is manipulated by God to embody the message, but is also given the choice to retain his own selfish reasons for wanting the tangent universe to disappear—a thirst for life. If he didn’t have the freedom of choice, he could simply be named the voice of God, instead of retaining his own identity. (The interpretation of Frank as Jesus in the second coming was great though—really enjoyed that!)

All the characters are archetypes, in a way, a representation of the faces of the world, a spectrum of the manipulated living. Jim Cunningham is an evangelist of his own religion, but living proof that religion cannot save; with Sparkle Motion comes all the trappings of commercialism (you’ll notice that Donnie’s little sister is the only one who is semi-devoid of personality, but more a part of the group-consciousness. But more than that, her child mind doesn’t know at all how to deal with Donnie’s situation, so she generally takes a step back from it); the punks embodied fear and confusion—they just did not know what to do with themselves and all their energy, unlike Donnie, who had a purpose in the end; the older sister is there and tries to help (so much more in the DVD—those who insisted on the shorter version has sacrificed much of what was essential to a well-rounded film!), and also serves to bring Frank closer to the focal point, so that he was always there, not someone who was detached from the story until the end, deus ex machina, as Donnie puts it.

Like the fear—love line doesn’t work, the representation of time as a line doesn’t work either. But that is what the author intends to tell us: the extremes of fear, love, and linear time can only be used as markers in a presentation. Time and emotions are not points, lines, or even three-dimentional. Time is the fourth-dimention, and emotions as a property may even go beyond that.

Perhaps he doesn’t know whether or not he needed to sacrifice his life when he returned to the tangent universe, but he was willing to sacrifice it. With Donnie’s personality and experiences, he would not give it all up without a fight. Under his veneer of desperation, he was full of hope. People without hope do not ask questions. Roberta Sparrow’s words were perhaps positive—everyone dies alone, so when you go, you don’t take everyone else with you. Donnie gave up his chance at life to give everyone else a chance. Like Tolkien’s heros, he was a hero of circumstance, given a task and the knowledge with which to execute it, but never all the answers.

so when donnie first met gretchen he told her "yeah...ive been in trouble......i burnt down a house" ....before any of this happened (of course im assuming that it was the same house..if not its definately a coincidence). for those of you who think frank was sent there to guide him to make the right choice to rightousness...how can this be if donnie already knew what he was going to do. hence, there wasn't a choice.

Ellen, I liked that last part you wrote. : )

ehehhe funny

cris is utterly cocky (ok not true, but had to take vengance) haha ok, again,without parentheses, cris isnt cocky

christ is but cris isnt :)

hehe does someone here knows someone else in here?

hey meanie. haha taking vengeance on me and i wasnt even the one to call you cocky :P

haha well, its all about acting without parameters......riteeeeee??????

cool beans...

i hope ur doing good

bye bye


I have a couple of questions/comments...

It is obvious from the postings that the movie is chocked full of homages and references to other movies, books, etc.

Here are two more that I haven't seen mentioned:

ET -- when they are riding to sparrow's house in the end on their bicycles in halloween costumes, the scene is right out of ET. Symbolism? I have no idea.

Watership Down -- In the deleted scenes the class watches the movie and discusses it. Donnie uses it as a sounding board to express his sexual frustrations with Gretchen. Gretchen uses it to note that the story of the rabbits is metaphor for human tragedy/destruction. Does this explain why Frank is a bunny -- he is a prophet?

Also Barrymore introduces concept of Deus Ex Machina, which Donnie utters at the end before Gratchen is killed. When asked what he said by thug, he responds, "my savior". Maybe Frank driving the car is the literal God of the Machine?

Does Donnie find God here? He now knows he won't die alone, which is the real source of angst throughout the entire movie. Donnie has death written all over him throughout the entire movie, the only question is this.

And Last Temptation... The final scene in the deleted scenes shows him impaled in a Christ-like fashion. There is no way this movie is not meant to have serious religious themes. Times like this when I which I would have paid more attention to my Bible studies class.

One of the devices that struck me when watching this film was the use of time dilation/contraction... speeding up through irrelevant bits and slowing down in others. It was almost like Donnie could control what bits of the timeline he wanted to pay attention to and skip the rest. Maybe he was jumping in and out of 'God's Channel' - he was 'out of time'? I think this was also the case when he saw the tubes, and when he talked to Frank.

Anyway, this film continues to freak with my head, I shall think some more.

Sorry if this has been posted, this comment list is about 15 pages long and I got through about 2/3 of it...

Anyone know the significance of these things?
1. Frank saying (about his name) "It is the name of my father, and his father before him."
2. Donnie talking about sex while hypnotized.
3. The spiral on the center of the jet engine

oh, and the plane that crashes is called, oddly enough, the 'red eye'. coincidence, maybe...

and, after the quick makeout session, why is a) donnie confused, then b) we see Gretchen confused, then c) we see Donnie with his head at Gretchen's waist, then he gets up, seemingly with no reason as to why he's there. She wasn't there when he was first at the fridge...

anyone have any idea?

ok, last comment, I swear.

3 things.

1. when Donnie is stabbing the wall-type-thing, Frank puts his head back and laughs, open mouthed. Maybe its just me, but his pewter mask is never open mouthed otherwise...

2. clocks play a huge part in this movie, they show up several times in key parts. As does the sound of a ringing bell.

3. at the *very* end of the movie, just after the boy waved and the screen turned black, if you turn up the sound you can hear muttering. I don't know what is said though.

there, i'm done now.

i think there is no absolout truth to this film, there for it can be talked about you years to come, makeing it imortal in a sence

my personal thinking is that most of the film he is just looking in to the future as it would be if he was to live

Frank is dead (not god) and so guiding him to what he must do to save his girl.

since donnie is looking in to the future then some thing can appear jumbled because time is jumbled.

he is guided to what he must do which is to die to save others, the ultimate sacrfice

of course i could be wrong but it's just my 2 pence

and might i add how mature threads on Donnie darko are, most films have really immature people insulting people and such forth


2 things, the spiral on the jet engine is fairly common on all aircraft not exactly sure as to the purpose, and alot of overnight flights are called "red-eye" e.g catch the red-eye from london to new york. so don't think these two observations have any signiificance to the filmn.

one other person has touched on this but i think it means more than what i understand it to mean.

Donnies elder sister is seen in the same scene twice. This is the scene where she enters her house and the jet engine crashes through the ceiling (once at the begining of the film and once at the end).From the DVD extras we know she is dating frank(human) and a car is heard speeding off in both scenes, what does this mean?

Frank is dropping Donnie's sister off that morning, which is why his car is heard speeding off. If you listen closely, at the end he is honking his horn after he drives off, probably because he has something of a memory of what happened in the parrallel universe and is possible trying to warn them. Also, at the beginning when Donnie is riding home on his bike, Frank passes him on the street in his car.

Although it's not fully explained in the film, the book The Philosophy of Time Travel included on the DVD pretty much explains what is going on. Frank must be some kind of premonition from the future for Donnie, helping to guide him, since Donnie has different "powers," such as psychic abilities, he can see into the future in this parrallel world. Frank, and possibly Gretchen to some extent, are the "manipulated dead." And it seems that Donnie does not "ride" the engine into the portal; with his abilities he opens the portal himself and "pulls" the engine off the plane, he "wills" it or something. He doesn't need to go through the portal, just by being there and opening it he closes the tangent universe. At the end he is laughing because, as the director says, he is "enlightened," and accepts his fate, and has found what he was looking for: love, and the realization that you do not die completely alone. And although nobody actually lived through it, at the end it shows that the echoes from this parrallel universe somehow reach the other characters, and the "epilogue" to the movie featured on the website, and on the DVD as well, shows this when it shows what happens to some of the characters. I think that Andy in a previous post pretty much hit the nail on the head. I think in some sense it may be "religous" and "scientific," but as the director himself said, it is pretty much straight science-fiction.

"Deus ex machina" is mentioned in the film, which is an ancient literary device which was literally a god brought in from a "machine," in those times it was a crane or something, and the god ties up loose ends and gets the characters out of a jam. Usually it is something out of nowhere and is still used today, though in writing today a dues ex machina is usually referred to in a negative way, as in the writer has just painted himself into a corner and comes up with something out of nowhere to tidy up the story. In Donnie Darko I think the dues ex machina is Frank's car coming, Donnie must realize that this was his purpose, that everything was leading up to that moment, it's the ensurance trap, where Gretchen dies and Donnie kills someone and must close this parrallel universe. After he says "dues ex machina" he also says "our savior." *Very* cool.

I think it is worth noting that at the very beginning of the film, Donnie wakes up on that cliff where he goes at the end, and apparently he went there, or was "summoned" there, for the view, to set up the end where he realizes that that is where he should go to open the portal and close the tangent universe, that is the best "view." It's kind of strange and creepy that he was summoned there before the parrallel universe even started- he's still in the real universe. Any thoughts?

Lastly, has anyone read the New York Times review of the movie? It's obvious that the reviewer didn't completely understand the movie and what was going on. And he also didn't do his homework- he claims that the inclusion of the song "Notorious" by Duran Duran didn't come out until the 90's- actually, that same-titled album came out in the fall of 1986, so it was correctly used in the film. I remember listening to that song when I was like 8 on the radio.

For those who havent seen the director's commentary, should, because everything is pretty much explained there.

yeah man, thanks ... no kidding.

Hey guys.

Firstly echo the guy before me, this really is a mature site! I think the time travel theories being posted are pretty much spot on, so no need to comment. A few things though.....

1) Not to lower the tone too much, but I just wanted to comment on how beautiful and emotive some of the characters were. Particularly Jake Gyllenhal and his mother. The scene where she says how wonderful it is to have a "weirdo" for a son is just simply amazing. I think the fact that Donnie comes to realise the extent of his mothers love for him and vice versa and also the extent of his love for Gretchen, has the effect that when in the end scene Gretchen and his mother connect on another plane - a residue from the tangent universe?

2) The two moments of passion between Donnie and Gretchen happen at times when she is going through severe emotional stress (both involving her family difficuties). Gretchen at first wanted to delay their first kiss until it would remind her of how wonderful the world could be. I was wondering whether any of you guys have any opinions on this? Incidently the guy in the red jogger suit - does he represent an omnipresence? god? He seems to turn up at key moments of their budding relationship.

3) I don't think this theory has been mooted - but i believe Barrymore and Noah Whyle (sp?), the two teachers, to be angels. They tend to guide Donnie as best they can but are restricted, as shown by him refusing to tell Donnie the answers he needs on time travel, due to the Christian notion of free will. There are also suggestions of their higher being status when sat in the staffroom they mention Donnie Darko. Barrymores teaching of the Grahame Greene short story about the children breaking into the house only to burn the money is also in keeping with an apostolistic lifestyle. - a rejection of money/consumerism - thus her distaste at SparkleMotion (especially its manufactured elements), yet total admiration for the Autumn Angel performed by Cherita.

I absolutely love the soundtrack! I think Joy Division's Love Will Tear Us Apart is so wonderfully ironic and Gary Jules' Mad World is fantastic!

What I love most about this movie is that everything seems to have a meaning, however hidden. For instance when Barrymore is packing up her stuff and after signifying "cellardoor" to Donnie we see the US flag as she leaves before shouting "FUUUUUUUUUUUUCK" she then nods to Cherita. A frustation of humanity built by social conditioning akin to the 'American Dream'? Again the talent show has some implications here - Cherita's true art as opposed to the polished performance by the other girls?

I think I might be reading way too deep. But its getting an obsession - I've watched the film about 5 times this week already!

On a seperate note. I think most of you guys would really like Ingmar Bergmans film 'Wild Strawberries' c.1957. It similarly deals with issues surrounding self-reconcilliation-through-a-journey. It is shot so beautifully too.
Any other suggestions for viewing?
Does anyone know what Richard Kelly has got planned for the future?
Anyhow gotta go do some studying..... Cheers from the UK

Watching the movie countless times, i have come to realize that many of the fact that you guys have shared, have allowed me to further understand, what i feel is an extreamly amazing, deep and insane film. First off, i think that while the movie is as big as it is, there are some major stars, Barrymore, Wyde, Swazy, Jake G. and the fact that this movie has not recieved more mad props than that of those who have tis obsession with it, well is beyond me....

First off... I need to get in to read the book.. I found where to read it, but i never can read it. oh where oh where can that book-y be? the lord took it away from me... Sorry had to break out in song.

Second off... sparrow, is she made up, or is she another stephen hawkins that i don't know about. I feel extreamly dumb for asking, and i was under the impression she was made up and the book was made up for the purposes of our viewing pleasure. If Kelly made up that book as well as the movie, MY GOD!!! he has a mind that i would not mind taking and picking at...
Cherio- from TX

Thank you all so much. I have just sat down & read EVERY post and you lovely people have expounded my theories & furthered my knowledge of this absolutely superb film (yep I'm English!).
Recently bought it on DVD & still haven't watched the deleted scenes or directors commentary yet so this was very enlightening for me. You should all give yourselves a pat on the back and have a beer!

It really is all there in the Philosophy of TT book by Sparrow (ingenious work by Mr Kelly I might add!). However, what no-one has mentioned yet is the manipulation the receiver has of water & fire, e.g. bursting the water pipe and torching Jim Cunninghams house.
Someone else mentioned Jim Cunningham acting as a symbol of organised religion. The initials JC would then take on a more purposeful meaning I suppose...

Oh yeah, and that extra text entry box that opens when you try to close the phone message pop up box on level 3 of the website, has anyone tried typing in it? I did & tried the passwords to no avail! However I did find that certain letters always appear as capitals (BFJKPQUYZ). All other letters always appear in lowercase, no matter how I play with my Caps lock & shift key. I don't know the significance, if any, of this but thought you people would like to know.

Good work on the whole 1988 number link as well. I think the number obviously relates to the Hawking book "A Brief History of Time", but the Delorean time travel speed was a nice touch in retrospect!

I think Frank, being the manipulated dead, was a messenger from whoever was trying to get Donnie to put the world back in order (in my opinion God). Donnie did go all through this, it was not a dream.
Gretchen is the manipulated dead 'cos strictly speaking in P of TT it tells us that anyone killed in the alternative reality becomes the manipulated dead. However, her significance to Donnie putting the world right again was not as great as Frank's actions so he is the 'instructor' & not her. Unless you have a Sixth Sense slant on things I suppose, then she could be manipulating him just as much as Frank.

According to the website, at the end of the phonecall, the american end of the connection hangs up, like he was expecting the answer from the UK. Could the guy in the red tracksuit be US intelligence? That's one for you X-Philes!

Someone asked the question would Donnies sister die on the plane crash? Well, JC's death 10 days after the event may mean that Sparkle Motion didn't travel to the competition. And did the family move as quickly to California as that? I suppose that the actual answer would be because the 'interdimensional rift storm' was sorted out by Donnie, then it never appears again & therefore the engine never gets taken from the plane. Therefore, they could go on the plane in 28 days time & everything would be cool.....well, as cool as any passenger plane can ever be (me? A nervous flyer? But how did you guess?)

I have just read a months worth of posts & they feel fresh as a daisy so if you want to put me straight, hang me out to dry or make further enlightened comments for my perusal, then please do. Everyone I know who has seen this cannot hold a conversation about it & you people are like gold-dust!

I think someone mentioned that the fat guy in the running suit was actually someone from the FAA. He was sent out to follow the Darkos to make sure something "strange" was not going on...

on another note, what is the deal with this new movie by Kelly and comp.? is that suppose to be happening any time soon?

someone ought to type up the whole director's commentary on here.

So.... why is the movie set in the 80's? Do you think it must be set in the 80's? Why or why not?

I don't think it must be set in the 80's - I think it could have been set in any time and still have been the same movie. My teacher says otherwise, although he didn't have time to explain why he thought that it had to be set in the 80's. Other than clothing, a political reference (Dukakis) and the music I have no idea why being set in the 80's would change anything about this movie.


ok... I'm still getting confused here. why did the alternate universe appear? because the engine fell through a portal and crashed in donnie's house. and If donnie had been in the house, he would have died, and thus the plane wouldn't have maybe gone the same way, the engine wouldn't have fallen through the portal, and donnie wouldn't have died. the universe would explode. I think. So Donnie was woken up by frank from the real universe and taken out of the house. He didn't die, blah blah blah, he leads the engine into the portal at the end, and chooses to die. So how is that different? I think I must be missing something here.

Also anyone have any comments on my questions I posted up above because they have been nagging me...I'll repost the important ones.

Anyone know the significance of these things?
1. Frank saying (about his name) "It is the name of my father, and his father before him."
2. Donnie talking about sex while hypnotized.
3. at the *very* end of the movie, just after the boy waved and the screen turned black, if you turn up the sound you can hear muttering. I don't know what is said though.

and, after the quick makeout session, why is a) donnie confused, then b) we see Gretchen confused, then c) we see Donnie with his head at Gretchen's waist, then he gets up, seemingly with no reason as to why he's there. She wasn't there when he was first at the fridge...

the last one being the most confusing for me.

Lastly, just a comment on the guy who said that all this discussion was unneccesary and we should watch the director's comments...

-For me the beauty of this film is the fact that I spent hours pondering it, and i watched it (honestly) 10 times in under a week. Every time made more sense to me. I tell people to watch the movie but I say they CANNOT read anything about it before because they have to see it for themselves first. Oh, and did anyone see the trailer for DD? Its up on the net, and its really nice, except for the fact that in the trailer they show the words "time travel" which pissed me off royally cause that should be pondered and discovered, not known before. Find it at the apple site, http://www.apple.com/trailers/independent/donnie_darko.html .

One part of this film I have no idea about and haven't seen mentioned here or anywhere else:
Near the end of the film we see a very short scene of a kind of flooded city.
Looks very futuristic and completely out of place.
Anyone have any ideas about this?

Another nice religious parallel may be that Frank loses an eye, just as the norse god Odin had to sacrifice an eye in exchange for wisdom...

smiffy that is the school, its a vision of the school being flooded. Or perhaps its more too...

Major concept:

The concept of parrallel universe. There is an infinite number of universes right now travelling next to one another all at the same time. Every person, every piece of mass, in the universe therefor exists infinitely, but also un-exists infinitely. For every possible "event" (an event being something as simple as saying hello to somebody or even a star exploding), there is a different universe, because every single event in the universe has a repercussion that effects the entire universe as a whole. Kind of like how every time a feather falls to the earth, the entire world moves slightly off course.

The concept of Donnie Darko was not predestiny. Predestiny doesn't exist. There's only present and past. Now if something went back into the past and changed merely the slightest thing, the present (being the exact time that the object left it's current time to go into the past) would cease to exist.

When you go back in time and change something, you destroy the time that you came from. The "past" would keep on existing as another universe; a new one that is effected by the repercussions of the new events. But the "present" universe that you left would cease existance, because the events that led up to it's present state would be different, thus not having the right circumstances to make it's existance possible.

In Donnie Darko, the universe would have ended had he not found a way to get that engine back in time. If that engine never went back in time, the repercussions of its arrival would not exist past the point it left, and the universe would collapse. If Donnie Darko -did- die in that accident, then he would have not started the system of events that somehow caused that airplane engine to get back in time, and if it didn't go back in time, the universe that he knew would end.


...forgot to mention:

When something goes back in time, it becomes an event in itself. You've gotta keep sending it back in time to keep the universe from ending (ie...i send something to my past self, who has to later send it to my past self, who has to later send it to my past self, and so on forever). In Donnie's loophole, he has to keep sending that airplane engine back in time to kill him in bed. His dillema is that he just happens to be the one person in the universe that sets the system of events into play that gets the engine back in time, so he's gotta get out of bed, which is where Frank comes into play.

The commentary states that Frank is merely a messenger; and he is. Frank is the thing that holds the universe together...maybe God. If it wasn't for Frank, Donnie would have never gotten out of bed and the engine would have never gone back in time, which would have killed donnie, which would have caused it not to go back in time (are you beginning to see the paradox this creates that can destroy the universe?). Frank is merely the force that comes into play whenever a little paradox in the spacetime continuum comes along every so often.

Example: Two men are arguing. One man points at the other and says, "Everything you say is a lie," The other man points right back and says, "You're absolutely right." Niether man can be right or wrong. No conclusion can be drawn. It's a nonexistant event. Thus is why a paradox can upset the spacetime continuum.

We see Donnie die at the end of the movie. As a result of his death, that engine won't go back in time. Donnie has betrayed his destiny, and he can not set into course the actions that would make the present possible. The universe will end at precisely the time the engine was supposed to go back in time. The last line before we see Donnie die is a qoute from his letter to Sparrow, saying, "When the world ends there will be so much to look forward to."

Keep this in mind: the Donnie we see at the end on top of the hill is a different Donnie than the one in the end. The one on the hill is present Donnie. He has already lived the events between Point A and B in time travel. The one in the end is a Donnie that's already happened and can still change the outcome of the future because he hasn't sent the engine back to himself yet. So instead of staying alive and sending it to himself, he decides to stay in bed and die, thus destroying -his- universe.

THIS IS A DIFFICULT CONCEPT TO WRITE ABOUT. I suggest that you all read more of Hawking and Einstein's publications to really get an idea of this.


I think at the end, where there is the futuristic flooding... that is the school being flooded, only in like 3d... if you look, there are doors that look like the doors to the room

hey, i just noticed that on the video, before the lifeline excercise #1, the bedwetting "I'm not afraid!" boy is thanking Jim, and they hug. But Jim puts his hand on the kid's ass! (cause he's a pedo...)

What is donnie trying to do when he is hitting the 'wall' with the knife? He could be trying to kill Frank, and the wall is a shield, or he could be trying to break through the wall, or ... I dunno...

just a note (I'm rewatching the movie, you see)

When Donnie gives his name to Jim he calls himself 'Gerald' - Gerald means 'Brave with a spear' or 'Spear carrier' .... coincidence?

interestingly enough, Donald means 'The ruler of the world', while Frank means 'free' ...but Gretchen means 'pearl'...so feel free to speculate on that one.

and thats the last time i'll post.

First off, WOW! great comments. I caught DD for the first time 2 nights ago on HBO. I watched because I'm trying to see all the movies on the IMDB's top 250 list and this, rightly so, is on it. Everyone's posts have furthered my understanding greatly.

Ben, you're absolutely right that it is a difficult concept to write about but, having read some of Hawking and Einstein (laymen's versions) I think you've stated it clearly enough.

You do have an interesting perspective I'd like to address, one that, I think, is at odds with the majority of postings here. I'm trying to grasp the implications of your comment "Donnie has betrayed his destiny." To me this differs from the majority of interpretations that Donnie has become "enlightened" in some way - seeing the path he MUST take, i.e. his destiny as laid out by the "manipulated" who are under the direction of a higher power(PoTT). Your use of "betrayed" implies to me a selfishness on Donnie's part. Here's what I fail to understand: In your construct, he has ignored the messenger (Frank - let's ignore the other "manipulated" for now) who seemingly is trying to keep the loop alive in order for the universe to exist - Frank is driven to continually get Donnie out of bed in order to allow Donnie to send the engine back every time and thus "hold the universe together." It follows then that Donnie has betrayed the messenger by refusing to continually get out of bed and "thus destroying -his- universe." By referring to Donnie's letter do you mean to imply that Donnie has decided to take everyone with him because this universe will end?

If the above is a fair interpretation of your post, are we to assume that after Donnie's death that the movie shifts over to show us another universe (one of the parallels as you described in your first post)?... would have to right if Donnie chose to end -his- universe? If so, this opens a huge can of worms with questions like "Why would the movie choose to end with one universe over any other of the parallel universes?"

Also could you elaborate on your para re: Donnie on the hill? I'mconfused between your descriptions of the Donnie. Did you mean one at the beginning vs. one at the end? I couldn't tell exactly to which you were referring.

Good post. Adds a twist to this page. Hope you can help me further understand your meaning.

thought this might be of interest to you guys, here's an online text of Graham Greene's The Destructors.

I haven't had a chance to read it yet so I can't comment...


interesting note: when the principal and the cops are doing that "they made me do it" think on the chalkboard, the list shows Cherita crossed off between Sam Bylan and Donald Darko...but she never went up.

Am I the only one but I actually found the film quite straightforward! I knew absolutely nothing about this film when I first saw it and was naturally completely stunned and moved by it. So much so that I immediately watched it again and found virtually every moment almost unbearably moving. I interpreted the revelation of the film's central mystery in terms of a case study I remember reading in Freud's interpretation of dreams where the subject is having an elaborate dream about the French Revolution. He is living his life as a pampered aristo; high living, affairs, palace intrigue, before he has to go on the run from the Revolutionaries. Thrilling chases ensue before he is finally captured and sentenced to death by guillotine. He stands before the crowd, gives a moving speech and then bends down to nobly accept his execution. The blade falls and at this moment the subject is awoken by a picture that has fallen from the wall above his bed and landed on his head.
I'm sure many of us have had these kind of dreams where intrusions from the waking world have effortlessly interwoven themselves into the dream narratives we are (supposedly) inventing. The nature of dream, reality, linear time, compressed time, desire and imagination have their part to play in this intriguing anecdote as indeed they do in Richard Kelly's extraordinary film. In the nanoseconds before waking or death (the same thing?) a whole host of elaborate narratives could decide to present themselves to the individual - the desire to have sex, to kill, to answer back to those in authority and also the desire to have all the terrible questions about the nature of reality and death answered are all things that would concern an intelligent 15 year old in 1988 who had just seen Back to the Future. I don't think he has any say in his destruction, he just has the 28 or so days allotted by the death figure, Frank to accept it. I think Frank merely represents Donnie's own impending death, naturally displaced by Donnie into a random figure of teenage tragedy, in this case a Halloween drunk driver executed by Donnie himself to avenge the death of the love of his life. The fact that he is also supposed to represent Donnie's sister's lover is one of many intriguing Freudian touches that crop up that I'm sure all have their significance and are explained by Kelly in his DVD commentary which I have yet to hear. When I have done, I may have more to say but for the moment I leave you with the first words of the film which I hope people realise sets up much of what is to come -
Under blue moon I saw you
So soon you'll take me
Up in your arms, too late to beg you
Or cancel it though I know it must be
The killing time, unwillingly mine

Fate up against your will
Through the thick and thin
He will wait until
You give yourself to him...

The Bunnymen!

how did donnie darko make the jet engine go back in time to land on himself in bed?

you may think that because donnie can see his path, and therefore has the choice to follow or not to follow the path he sees, means that a predestined path cannot exist because he has the choice to go against it. However, it is Gods wish that he sees his path, and whether he follows or doesnt follow the path has already been decided by God (or some kind of divine power). It is in "God's channel" as Donnie states. So the truth is, there is no choice.

i think i understand now. all events in the film between the engine falling for the first time and the engine falling for the second time occur in the tangent universe, an unstable and unreal universe. certain people dont act as their normal character and things happen to them that shouldnt because they are being manipulated. by God. they are manipulated into helping darko eradicate the tangent universe they are in and return to the REAL world. after reading philosophy of time travel donnie realises this. he realises that he will fulfill his destiny/duty and restore things to how they should be. he knows that all the fear and sorrow experienced in the tangent universe he is in at the moment will be gone, and things will become much better wen they return to the real world(because there is no longer any manipulation). he tells cherita that "things will be better for you" and tells the clown "everything will be OK". cos all the bad stuff thats been going down wont matter. and wen he finally restores the tangent universe he goes to bed and laughs because he no longer has any fear of dying alone-he knows that there is a god. after he dies and people wake up back in the real world, the experiences of the tangent universe are dismissed as dreams or deja vu, although there is still a memory, albeit a vague one. frank touches his eye at the end and gretchen waves to the mum as if she knows her from somewer.

I've been browising through the first mile of these posts for about half an hour, and have yet to read all the posts, so what I am about to say might have been said already. This regards Frank's role in this film. For those of you who have read Dante's Divine Comedy, I have paralelled Frank to Virgil, in that Frank is guiding Donnie back onto the straight path. In the first Canto of the Inferno, Dante has wandered off of the true path and Vergil appears to guide him back. Now this parallel could be effectively drawn were it not for the fact that Donnie was drawn off the path by Frank...

frank didnt draw him off the path. the tangent universe was caused by a wormhole, not by frank getting donnie out of bed. frank merely saved donnie from a engine falling on his head that appeared as a result of the wormhole.

the actual CAUSE of the initial wormhole and tangent universe (from wot ive learned from pott)has nothing to do with donnie or frank. the only way it can be explained is that it was an act of god.

by donny actually dying at the end of the film, he doesnt save anyone. just before he dies the wormhole is already closed, and the tangent universe is already gone and the world has been saved. so he doesnt need to die. some of u hav sed that by donnie being killed, he prevents gretchen, frank, his mum etc being killed, but i dont think this is the case. if he stayed alive then things wouldnt turn out the same way they did in the tangent universe, because the primary universe is built on completely different rules. it is stable and there is no manipulated living or dead.

the only thing that still confuses me is
whether donnies death was a needless act or not and its affects
or if donnie sacrificed himself for the greater good
if donnie just wanted to die (i dont think this is the case because it is selfish and unlike donnie)
if donnie didnt realise that he was going to die (he has just woken up in the primary universe-does he dismiss events in the tangent as a dream and notknow that the engine is really about to fall?

No, see. The thing is, regardless of where Donnie was, the engine was supposed to fall on him, and thus Frank's drawing him out of his room caused the creation of the tangent universe. I've been thinking that one of the main reasons that Frank drew Donnie out is so that Donnie, who had been troubled and confused by the existence of God. Through the course of the 28 days existence of the tangent universe, Donnie is comfortable now with the thought of dying, because that is what he must do, he realizes, to restore the original universe. In doing this he prevents several things from happening, most importantly to Gretchen, who has helped him realize that he will not die alone. He knows that the engine will fall, and he laughs right before he dies, "because I will have so much to look forward to".

I think that they enter into the tangent universe when the engine went back in time and fell in Donnie's room, not that Donnie not dying was what caused them to enter the tangent universe.

thats wot i thought cris, but then i thought about wot jason sed and it all made sense. if the jet engine had fallen on donnie at the start of the film (ie if frank hadnt pulled donnie out of bed) then the tangent universe wouldnt have been created. everything would continue to take place in the primary universe. the tangent universe was caused by donnie surviving (frank pulling him out of bed). so after 28 days the wormhole and tangent universe closed and everything returned to the primary universe, with donnie in the house knowing that the engine is about to fall. he knows that the tangent universe was caused by him "dodging" the engine and so if he dodged it a second time, a tangent universe would be created again and a he would continually have to save the world. he knows that this isnt an option-the only option is to sacrifice himself and so he goes up the stairs, climbs into his bed and allows the engine to fall on him. and donnie now has no fear of dying because he knows that there is a God and he will not be alone. He laughs to himself because he is enlightened.

however, there are still 2 things that I cannot find an explanation for:
1) WHY did the engine appear and WHY did it have to land on Donnie(its not just bad luck that it fell on him-in pott it says how an arrow hit someone in the head and killed them, even when there was noone around, and how a swordmaker was killed by a sword which he had not made yet. so i believe that that engine was meant for donnie alone-he was chosen.
2)WHY Frank pulled him out of bed and saved him. If the engine had fallen on donnie in the first place then the tangent universe wouldnt have been created. why make donnie cause the tangent universe if he then wants it destroyed? there has to be a reasonable explanation, but I'm yet to decide on the reason why I think Frank saved him.

any ideas?

Whilst I agree that there are many subtleties to this film including many religious references and teasing connections i think the core of the plot is reasonably simple (once you've read POTT):

some mysterious "act of God" causes an artefact (the engine) to fall from the primary universe into the tangent one thus setting up the unstable tangent universe problem. this will cause both universes to be destroyed unless the artefact can be returned. Donnie is chosen to perform this task. Frank (manipulated Dead) thus wakes him up to stop him being killed by the engine so that he can return it. the movie then pans out with the manipulated living and dead all doing their bit to help donnie return the engine. Gretchen dieing is the Ensurance Trap that makes Donnie compelled to send the engine back.

So this saves the world, but donnie also realises he doesn't want events to occur as they just have so he deliberately allows himself to be killed by the engine he knows is coming cos he's just sent it back through the portal (along with himself - you just have to accept he has the ability to manipulate space and time in this way cos he's the chosen one). So by killing himself he changes events completely. Thus his sister probably on't even enter the talent contest etc. cos her whole family's gonna be in mourning right? Donnie chooses to not let time happen in the primary universe as it did in the stangent one. this is why he kills himself.

now this is all pretty tenuous in terms of the ideas of cause and effect etc but it IS SciFi and i personally think this is the extent to which you have to give the writer poetic license and the rest just follows.

I'm sure there's a whole bunch of more subtle messages in the film too and i'm intrigued by the at guy in red, the mongrels thing and the chinese girl "Chut Up!!" :) but these are merely teasers - the core stuff is as i just descibed...

(Caveat: all of the above is IMHO!!)

Hey Guys,
I bought the donnie darko dvd and after watching the directors commentary, we find out (through a deleted scene), that frank is actually donnie's sister's boyfriend. That's why when donnie goes downstairs after getting laid, he looks at the board on the fridge and frank leaves a note to donnie's sister saying that he went to get beer. Now why they cut this out of the movie i dont' know. The director keeps saying that donnie is a superhero and he has all these powers, and at the end of the movie he says that donnie succeeded in sending the engine back through the hole, and when donnie's sister gets dropped off (by frank), frank honks his horn several times (to tell donnie to wake up, cuz they succeeded in their mission), but for some reason donnie doesn't listen and goes back to sleep. BUT, what i dont' understand is, even though donnie succeeded, how come the jet engine still goes to the past?

oh, and those things that come out of ppl's chest.. those are the path's that god chose for us.. and i guess cuz donnie chose a different path, it caused the tangeant universe to become unstable (just like in dogma).

ever thought that it was Donnie's path to go against the path that he sees? (it was predestined that he would go against his path and so everything actually happened in God's channel).

tom u said :

Thus his sister probably won't even enter the talent contest etc. cos her whole family's gonna be in mourning right?

well it doesnt matter if she gets on the plane, cos it doesnt crash in the primary universe. (theres no "storm" to make it crash)

As many other folk have suggested, the Last Temptation hint is key to understanding the film, in my opinion.

By going into the alternate universe he is able to save the world - though this didn't really jump out at me when watching the film, this seems to be a conclusion drawn largely from reading the the book on th website.

I think the key thing is that he has realised that his dying, while obviously not pleasant for him, is the "best of all possible worlds".

Donnie knows that Gretchen and his family won't die (I suspect that his sister would have gone to the big talent show thing, but that they wouldn't have flown back when the plane's engine fell off; if indeed the plane's engine ever falls off in the end...).

Other things are also key - Drew Barrymore won't lose her job, as her teaching the pupils about Graham Greene is no big deal as the school hasn't been vandalised. The chinese girl - who starts off the film happy, if one takes the end of the film as indicating how the characters were before the engine fell - doesn't get defended by Donnie, doesn't develop a crush on Donnie, and doesn't get so badly hurt when he isn't interested in her much. Of ocurse, Donnie doesn't know that Jim Cunningham eventually kills himself if he is killed by the engine. But that's the price he pays - the lack of discovery of Jim's evil activities is tragic, but then others don't die. But then Divine Providence is perhaps in play - the fact that Jim is depressed and sad at the start of the film's events (as shown at the end of the film) means that God knows about his corruption and that he will end his own lie anyway, thereby making the Donnie burnig down the guy's house unnecessary.

I think the point where Donnie sees the psychiatrist for the last time emphasises how choice (and maybe trusting God?) is important: He sees "Frank", which is an image of the impending choice that he has to make. It is terrifying, and this is right; a lot of lives depend on his choice. But that is also what the Last Temptation was all about. Donnie, like Jesus, is offered the choice of carrying on with his life and at least dying with everyone else. the scarier, but more virtuous option, is die on his own, to not be scared, but thereby save everyone.

was this helpful to anyone?

and one more thing...

when the schoolteacher tells donnie that "he could lose his job", what is he referring to? i at first thought that he was an atheist, and that he was scared to tell donnie that he believed that there was no god.

or, was his job, like many other characters, simply to direct donnie towards making the right decision, making using his own will?

ORRR, did he still work for NASA or the CIA and know something about these wormholes, and other instances where these tangent universes have occurred? the website suggests (I think) that there was foul play around his death in a car crash.

thoughts anyone?

and one more thing...

when the schoolteacher tells donnie that "he could lose his job", what is he referring to? i at first thought that he was an atheist, and that he was scared to tell donnie that he believed that there was no god.

or, was his job, like many other characters, simply to direct donnie towards making the right decision, making using his own will?

ORRR, did he still work for NASA or the CIA and know something about these wormholes, and other instances where these tangent universes have occurred? the website suggests (I think) that there was foul play around his death in a car crash.

thoughts anyone?

I have discovered who "some fat guy over there staring at us" is. This man, who looks as if he is following Donnie or Gretchen is indeed following Donnie (though I don't know why). If you watch the beginning of the film, after Donnie gets home from sleep golfing you will see the fat man (albiet in a black suit) flanking the main FAA guy. The fat man is with the FAA...why he's following Donnie is a mystery to me as of right now.

I think the students goto a catholic school, because the school has a big cross on the top, and i don't think catholic school teachers can tell students that there is no God, cuz then they'd lose their job.

Anyone see the deleted scene of Donnie getting impaled? The music is Henrys Gorecki in the background. Damn nice. For some reason it seems biblical to me, even though Christ was crucified and not impaled...I think its the position Donnie is in - arms splayed out as just like he was crucified.

I really don't have much to say, but I'm watching the DVD right now, and this movie is amazing. I've seen it many times and I absolutely love it. I'm so happy people are taking the time to discuss everything because I had many questions of my own and reading through this board has answered them completely. so...thanks. :)

It seems like everyone but me has the movie...oh well, just a quick question. Does anyone know the title/author of the book that Donnie is reading in bed, pre-calling his mother a bitch? (Not the books that deal with time travel)

dunno but I'd guess he's reading his short story for english class - Graham Greene's The Destructors.

Woah, thanks for the *in my sense* a super fast reply! That name does ring a bell. Most likly the title I was thinking, thank you once again.

I think on June 3, 2003 12:09 PM Gerald hit it on the head... I think that's the answer. I think that's it. I can now finally go to sleep!

This was my favorite movie and I wish I never saw it...

no problem - yeah, I do check here often.

I posted this link above but here it is again: The Destructors can be found here. http://www.upol.cz/~prager/e_texts/destructors.htm

i think the password is


guys what is the password to level two
when i click leel two in the menu there are only red stripes and nothing more
i cannot go past the pop up box where ist says the password is "breathe"

Hey! Mark thanks once again, by any chance do you know if this short story is also in hardcopy? If it is do you know the name of the book? If not, thank you anyways.

Great site for a great movie. Just got it on DVD yesterday and watched it. It's too bad that the majority of the moviegoing public will never see it, and would probably hate it even if they did. The comments are wonderful, although I do take exception to one thing Ben has said concerning the engine falling on Donnie and killing him at the end of the movie. As it states in the P of TT, when the tangent universe collapses, its only remnant is the artifact. When Donnie sends the engine back through the wormhole to close it, it is transferred to the primary universe, where it will stay and remain unexplained. As to WHY Donnie died at the end of the movie, I have no idea, but it's not because he chose to betray his destiny. Since Donnie getting out of bed really had nothing to do with the tangent universe being created, his dying in the primary universe would not screw up the paradox that was set up for him, because that particular paradox would have only existed in the tangent universe. Donnie having to be alive to send the engine back in time, so it could miss him and allow him to live to send it back in time, etc., only has significance in the tangent universe, and then even not much, because even if Donnie had died in this tangent universe, it would have ended in 28 days anyways. Of course, that would have destroyed both universes, but that really has no bearing on the concept of this particular paradox. I think this may answer (probably badly) some of the other questions on here, particularly "If Donnie went through all that crap just to die at the end, why didn't he just die at the beginning?" Basically, if Donnie died the first time, he would have died in the tangent universe (the tangent universe had already occurred by the time the engine fell into his room) and wouldn't have been around to set things right, thus destroying both universes. When he died at the end of the movie, he was in the primary universe, therefore his death didn't have any significance as far as the survival of that universe. Honestly, he really had no good reason to die at the end. Since everything was restored to normal in the primary universe, events would not have gone the same way as they had in the tangent universe, because no one in the primary universe was being manipulated. Also, to clear up a point of confusion mentioned earlier, When it shows Donnie with his face in Gretchen's stomach, he had just gotten finished looking into her path and seeing her future. The path that came around the corner at the party and hit him full in the face was hers. That also explains why he was so quick to go and see Gramma Death. Anyways, great discussion, and I hope this rambling makes as much sense to you as it does to me.

ok my thoughts:

1. Frank is NOT God. He is a Manipulated Dead. If you read The Philosophy of Time Travel you will know what im talking about.

2. All the characters are the Manipulated Living. All there to help Donnie save the world. Gretchen being the main example, donnie realizes he must go back to save her life. well, at least thats one thing he does it for.

other than that, your philosphy of this movie is very thought out and elaborate. Great site by the way..

Just wondering, since the plane engine came back after Donnie sent it back (did he really do that ?) and he stayed in bed letting himself get killed then he automaticly let the rest of the people die since now when he can't send it back (for the second time) and the world will therefor end ? So why didn't he just send the engine back to the other dimension the first time ? ... Not gonna be able to sleep today.

I just adore this movie and love reading everyone's ideas and theories. I love a good movie that makes you think for a long time after you see it and even when you see it over and over, you still can't take your mind off it. This is definatly one of those movies.. we need more smart ones like this. I don't think there is one idea or theory that is truly 100 percent correct.. I think it is open for each viewer to make up their own mind as to what is real and what is not. I have really enjoyed reading everyone's ideas and comments on here and am glad to know there is actually some intellegent life out there!

okay i am still trying to figure what exactly happened in this movie

what is the connection between the plane engine that failed to kill donnie in the beginning, the plane engine that killed him in the end, and the actual plane in which donnie's mother and sister are in at the end? can someone explain this, thanks

Hello All,

Love all of your intreprations of this movie. I just happened to have this on my Netflix list and knew nothing of it when it came to my door. A couple of weeks ago after getting home from a Wilco concert I popped it in and thought I'll watch as much as I can before the beers and Morpheus take me away. Needless to say I stayed up watching this movie till the wee hours of the morning.

The next day I watched it again, thinking that if I was sober I might figure it out better. Nope. Same intrepretation. I watched it again a few days later, all the while the words of "Mad World" would often make me stop whatever I was doing. I often found myself daydreaming and just thinking about my own relationship to my family, community and God.

One day while watching the Mad World video my wife said "that looks interesting". We watched it that evening. Now I had someone to discuss this with. Later that night my wife after much discusing said, "go find some cyber-friends to discuss this with I'm tired" so I found this site .

Thanks to all of you who have posted. I read every one, (which I would suggest to all of you people who ask the same questions over and over again.)

A couple of things I haven't seen answered.

The swirl on the jet engine is there to help the grounds crew know if the turbine is spinning, but it is also a sacred spiral that in many cultures believe time is cyclical not linear. This is shown by Donnie returning to where he started, but by knowing more he is on a higher plane, (no pun entended).

Cherita (in my view) takes all the injustices and insults silently knowing on some level things will be okay. She is in love with Donnie and he tells her, "everything will be alright for you". At the Mad World piece she is smiling. Donnie has been what the Buddhists call a Bodhisatva, a being who helps others achieve enlightenment. Donnie knows that God has a spot for him and chooses to go to his creator.

when i've seen the movie, i totally dont understand. just felt sad that all that happened in the movie didnt really happen. how gretchen and donnie met and fall in love sort of thing. and how he and his mom sort of understand each other a little better. but all of which never happened, because donnie died.
anyway only after reading all the stuffs on the internet then i understood most of it. otherwise i never knew all these.
anyway, in regards to the science teacher's death from the donniedarko.com i actually thought that he might have died the same way as donnie. the tangent universe and everything. the car that hit him's metallic and could be some time traveling vessel thingy. well that's my thoughts. and it's just a speculation anyway.
oh and pardon my english.

But why is it set in the 80's?

Donnie Darko is #88 on imdb.com's top 250 movies. D is the 4th letter, so DD in the primary plus DD in the tangent = 88. Oh Yeah!

u dont get out much do u

thats kinda a retarded comment for this board...

88... thats wierd..the movie was set in '88. Stephen Hawking's book was made in '88... 28 + 6 + 42 + 12 = 88... it can't be a coincidence...

I watched the film last night with my friend and i thought it was really good. My friend had watched it a couple of times before and he was interested in what i made of the film ... I must say that it made me thing a lot, but i was a bit confused as to how he actually managed to use the therories of time travel. Even now i'm still a little bewildered. Anyway great cast and performances and i'll watch it again and again ... until clarity is reached.

I don't think the chinese girl is chinese. Her name is spanish and she does look mexican, not chinese, look closer.

The insult the boys hurl at her is something derogatory to someone spanish, being accused of looking chinese.

Her purpose in the film, in my mind, is to show that Donnie realises there is a god. He tells her it will all end ok, she won't die alone! Because he has learnt at this point about the tangential universe and his choice and therefore, the existance of a higher being.

Mark said "interesting note: when the principal and the cops are doing that "they made me do it" think on the chalkboard, the list shows Cherita crossed off between Sam Bylan and Donald Darko...but she never went up."

Just adds to the sense of her total loneliness and seperation from everyone else and emphasises the importance of Donnie's realisation that he won't die alone, and neither will she?

In the film Donnie talks about back to the future and in particular about what I think is stuff mentioned in the second film, future stuff.. yet Back to the Future II didn't come out till 1989.

continuity error or something else?

or am I wrong? :)

Peter said "Just adds to the sense of her total loneliness and seperation from everyone else and emphasises the importance of Donnie's realisation that he won't die alone, and neither will she?"

Yeah, its like they knew she couldn't have done it, so they just skipped right over her

There is defintely something wrong here. According to Sparrow's The Philospphy of Time Travel (which is a fictional book; it doesn't really exist) the tangent unierse was created when the engine fell from the future; it is known as an artifact. And Donnie is sent to close the tangent universe by sending the engine back through time. Frank shows Donnie what happens if he decides to leave the room and not be killed, however, the artifact remains in the tangent universe and there is no one selected to bring it bac, thus the world will end anyway... unless I totally missed somthing.

Oh, and the section on wormholes in A Brief History of Time wasn't written until the mid 90's.

Sorry if I mistyped some stuff. Don't much feel like proofreading.

a few question I havent found answers..

1. Who the hell is the guy in red jogging suit? Is he somehow relevant in this movie? He only stops Donnie and Gretchen to kiss first time (gretchen is bothered by the guy watching them) But then the same guy appears later in the party scene, why?

2. Why does Gretchen wave to Donnies mother in the end? Is she just being polite and the wave is kind of a condolence to Donnies family?

3. Why oh WHY does Frank save Donnie in the beginning by waking him up? If frank hadn't done anything, everything would have been like they are in the end of the movie.. and donnie would not have had to save the world by returning the engine through the wormhole and have it kill himself. (because the movie would not exist if frank hadnt woke him up? ;) everything would be like they are in the end)

Anyways, Great site and some excellent thoughts guys.. I've got answers to almost every question Donnie Darko awakened.

If someone has energy to post answers to my question in my e-mail, I'd be very grateful, Thanks!

Archi - The answers to some of your questions are above - the red suit guy is from the FAA, spying on Donnie, trying to figure out what's going on. Gretchen waves because she, like everyone else, carries a lingering memory of the tangent universe. She remembers knowing Donnie's mother, as does the mother. That's why they stare - because they know each other but they don't know where from.

Very interesting thing I just realized:

I asked before why Donnie was at Gretchen's waist after looking into the destiny spear near the end of the movie. I just realized that he ducked down to look into the destiny, and that us seeing the tunnel is the inside of the spear as the person moves towards donnie, and its Gretchen (ie. Gretchen walks towards Donnie, and her spear thus moves towards him, so from the inside it looks like we're travelling through the tunnel).

So the tunnel is revealing Gretchen's destiny, and Donnie hears "Cellar Door" - THAT'S why he says they have to go see Gramma Death, cause he knows they're destined to do so.

Interesting, huh?

"I don't think the chinese girl is chinese. Her name is spanish and she does look mexican, not chinese, look closer.

The insult the boys hurl at her is something derogatory to someone spanish, being accused of looking chinese."

Yea, but you forget that dance she does at the talent show, which had a very asian vibe to it.

Mark, thanks for your answer. I was almost sure the answers to my questions were above, but I just couldnt find them.

And I agree with you about the "why donnie is on gretchen's waist?" thing. It's quite clear afterall.. I cant think any other reasonable reason though.

It's been great reading all this stuff, and there's one thing I haven't seen covered here which was on the main site:

Gretchen is manipulated dead, not manipulated living.

When did she die, aside from the obvious moment? If it was the obvious moment she wasn't exactly manipulated afterwards and, at best, could only be described as the ensurance trap.

this film made my brain hurt.
theres so much to decipher and work out the true meanings of the significance of events. personally i believe that the comparison to the film and the temptation of christ makes most sense. one thing that took me a while to understand was franks eye, first you see him with the hole but no bullet, then you see him get shot in the eye, then at the end his eye is fine and he touches it. there are lots of suggest the reasons. but its such a complicated film and takes a person with a great brain to write such a thing

Cherita Chen is the name of the girl, it sounds like a Chinese name to me. I thought perhaps she was Hawaiian. Or maybe her father is Chinese and her mother is Spanish or Hawaiian. We don't get to see her parents in the movie. This is America, after all - the great melting pot.

Just wanna say hi to you after reading your blog.

Hi, what do you think about my interpretation?

Here it is:

The movie from the first beginning is in the Tangent Universe and the fallen engine is the proven evidence that it is true (the artefact).

The engine had to crash in the Primary Universe (prediction, thats also why donnie has/had to die!!), but it didnt!, because the Tangent Universe had already opened (opened Tangent Universe caused the engine to fall into this Tangent, if Tangent Universe WONT appear it would fall in the Primary and thus kill Donnie as its predicted, and as we can see at the end of the movie).

So, the "external power" (God?) had to send an agent (Frank) and fix it, so God wont let donnie to die in Tangent, he saved him in order to fix that Tangent Universe (sending engine back to the Primary and thus closing the black hole)-thats why Frank wakes up donnie.

Then we can see all the stuff happening - and at the end we can see Donnie sending the engine back to the Primary World - (you can see the transparent tube, that is another evidence, that engine is really predicted to fall into the Primary World, and unfortunately to kill Donnie).And thats the end, the Tangent World disappear (it only stays in character's minds as a dreams).

And then CUT!!! to the Donnie at his bad (ATTENTION! - this is THE FIRST TIME in the movie that happens in the REAL (Primary) world).
Donnie probably had a dream (the reminds of happened things in the Tangent), then woke up, and he is laughing (here im not sure if he's laughing to the content of a dream or simply because "he now knows"). No matter to what he is laughing, he then continues to sleep, letting the things happend in THE RIGHT order, thus engine killing Donnie. Its a DEFINITE PREDICTION by the God as in our real world. By the way I think Donnie in the real world DIDNT suffed from any form of psychic desease or sleep disorder as showed up in the Tangent!

What do you think about this? It makes damn good sense at least to me.

ATTENTION - NOTE: What is in the brackets in the "Psilosophy of Time Travel" book on the last chapter called "Notes" on the donnie darkos site? I mean line Manipulated Dead - Gretchen Ross (??? ??? ??? ???) - I can HARD read it - IS IT "Gretchen Ross(BUT HER REAL ONE)" ??? Or is it "(NOT HER REAL ONE)" Damn that really drives me mad, anyone undestand this?

Any comments?

Wow, you guys have a lot of really cool ideas about this amazing film. I hope I don't just reiterate what people have already said, but I wanted to voice my opinion on a couple of things and also ask some questions. Again, sorry if they've already been asked.
Firstly, I think that Cherita knows about Donnie, maybe on a subconscious level. She, like him, is different, and this is represented by the fact that she is always separate from the others - the bus stop pole or a tree separates her from the others at the stop, people think she is weird, but she has a connection with Donnie. She knows he shouldn't be there, she knows something is happening. The same with Ms, Pommeroy, she is a guide for Donnie, as she says the whole Cellar Door thing.
Also, the 'mongrel' statue I think represents the aggressiveness of what Donnie is ironically trying to save. The school offer little empathy for the children they teach, and the only ones that do offer any real human emotion towards the children, ie. Ms Pommeroy and Dr Monitoff, are shunned particularly Ms Pommeroy, as she is fired. The dog statue also is bearing over Cherita as she sits, which represents, I think, the way the school is. The fact that Donnie attacks is shows not only that his role as Living Receiver provides him with unnatural strength and the ability to manipulate water (the flood, the sprinklers turning off when he is near) and metal (the axe in the statue that is 'solid bronze') but also shows his disgust with the school, and the authority they have.
Ok, now I'm rambling.
A couple of questions: why is Ms. Pommeroy the only one asleep at the end? Why does she not have any fear? If it was because she had Love instead, surely Monitoff would be asleep also? :S
And also: is the car horn Frank saying goodbye to Donnie? I didn't get that bit. It can't just be for Elisabeth, it seems too obvious!
Ok, enough, I'll chut up now.

I think you aswered by yourself. Yes, Ms. Pommeroy (and prob. Monitoff too) are not awake, because they are as the same as in the Tangent, they have no fear to worry about in the Tangent.

Im going to see the movie again, so Ill check the Frank's goodbye again, and other details too. I think most of us share or made the whole meaning of the movie (both scientific and religion acpects including), but we still need to complete those lil details, to reveal their meaning (like why Donnie is looking to the Gretchens stomach - Good point guys!)

..what about this detail - has the fact that that party night Gretches mom has gone any meaning - I think it has..., but what kind of?

yet another comment, do the pills, that Donnie is taking, any connection to what he sees then (Frank etc)

Btw: The director of this movie really put the nail on the head with the story.

But I think the fear, love and death are still the most sad things in this world, even if one wouldnt die alone.

yet another comment, do the pills, that Donnie is taking, any connection to what he sees then (Frank etc)

Posted by: This_is_my_life on July 30, 2003 01:46 PM

No because the pills that Donnie is taking are placebos.

How you've figured out they are placebos?

The deleted scenes on the DVD tell us that.

Hello guys again

so Ive seen Darko again. I was watching really particular, it took 4 hours to view the movie, I was constantly rewinding every scene and detail.

So it showed up too many questions to answer.

Ill appreciate if some of you guys here would try to answer these questions and notes.

1. The very first beggining of the movie: Donnie wakes up on the road.
a) What is the world he wakes up at? (real or tangent, im really not sure) or is that the same world that he wakes up and the world he is riding bike home?
b) Why he maked that smile after waking up - at what?

2. He is arriving at home on a bike - check that red advert on Halloween party (26-30th Oct) on the roadside near his house. What does it mean? Why would be there an adv on halloween a month before? Isnt that strange?

4. What means the note on the refrigerator "Where is donnie?".

3.After the family supper donnie is reading at his room. HEY, check that big "EYE" picture on the wall. Its very symbolic I mean, does it mean a "God's Eye"? I think it does.

4.When he is talking with his mother (and when after he calls her "bitch"), she says, that she couldnt recognize him. Why??? Or any connection to "enrolling the neighbour's house" with a toilet paper? BECAUSE AT THE END of the movie when party begins, donnie's friends are arriving and one of them says that he has enough toilet paper!, beer, etc. Very stange coherency.

5. Donnie after calling his mother a bitch takes his pills. Anyone checked the date on the pills? I think it says something like "7(or 1)/24/88.

6.The wall clock bangs 24:00. Then cut 2 Oct (10/2/88). Donnie is waking up at Franks demand. Anyone checked WHAT is on the picture on the ceiling in the donnies room besides us flag. I think it is a Butterfly. Wow, any connection to Ray Bradbury's classic short story “A Sound of Thunder"?

7. THIS ONE IS A MUST READ. Frank said 28d 6hrs 42m 12s, so when its 00:00 2/10/88 the world end on 30/10/88 at 6:42:12, right?

And now read on. Im going to talk about the phenomenon of the "Blue Moon" (read more about it here: http://skyandtelescope.com/observing/objects/moon/article_127_1.asp). Simply the therm "Blue Moon" is quite old and has at least 2 major definitions. First much much older and accurate definition is that it is the third full moon in the season, that has 4! full moons. BUT the youngest one, which probly occured , guess what year!!!, in 1988(wow, what the heck), says that it is the second full moon occured in one (the same) callendar month.
Obviously "Blue Moon"I is related to some magic, some unusual things, and also to major things to happen (i mean related to good/evil/god). It is a mysterious time and major things avaiting to happen.
Remember the words of the song played in the begining of the movie (Echo & The Bunnyman - The Killing Moon)?

"Under Blue Moon I saw You
So soon you'll take me
Up in your arms, too late to beg you
Or cancel it though I know it must be
The killing time, unwillingly mine"

"Fate up against your will
Through the thick and thin
He will wait until
You give yourself to him..."

See more here what I found (http://www.sfsite.com/02b/bm98.htm). Seems that "blue moon" in this movie is a huge symbol.
I also found a book publisher called "Blue Moon" and guess the names of some books:"Frank and I","Destiny" or "In the Darkness of the Night" :-))), hehe, quite funny but probably irelevant.

Now it gets strange, because in October 1988 there was NO blue moon during October in the Virginia (Middlesex). BUT in the year of make the movie, 2001, there WAS blue moon (second full within month) on the 31st October (and the first full moon on the 2nd October!). What the heck, eh?
(Take also note, that on 30.Oct 1988 went time at 2AM one hour back, due to end of Daytime Saving Time) This a flaw in the movie I think because world is supposed to end at 30th early morning, halloween is on the 31st and party was probably on 29th.
Anyone a clue?

8. There is NO evidence in the movie, that Donnie STAYED outside, when the engine felt for the first time. Hehe, strange?

9. Next day (2th) when donnie with folks get out of the School bus the church bells are ringing. A relation to church (this happend more times in the movie)?

10. Then the great scene from school hall (playing Tears For Fears - Head Over Heals), did you noticed the sticked on the one's of those 2 punks cabinet's door??? it says: "WHAT WOULD SATAN DO?" This maybe the evidence what are the roles of two punks in the movie. They are maybe the representatives of antichrist/bad people.

11. In the same scene as above WHY the gym teacher put her eyes and head down, when she meets Drew & Manittof?

12. When donnie has a session with Dr. Thurman, he says that he has to go TO FRANK (not with Frank) TO THE FUTURE (damn why future???). Is that the reason that donnie at the end of the movie wouldnt wake up?

13. Lession of Controling Fear. The woman on the video says that she actually had to see THROUGH the mirror to see HER OWN EGO. Is that a clue why donnie looks to the mirro too?

14. DAMN what the "jumping on the trampoline" means in this movie? In the beggining her younger sister jumps, when the party is on theres some children jumps, and when the TIME goes back at the end, Donnie with Gretchen jumps.

15. At the end of the movie donnie runs in family van on the hill. This scene HAS an intercut and we can see COPS actually arriving at the darkos house. Why? Isnt that out of time? I dont know.

Ok, thats it. Would you try to answer these questions?

The song by Echo & The Bunnymen was actually not the first choice for the opening scene on the bike. They wanted a song by INXS, but it was going to be too expensive.

How come the girl (gretchan) waves to the mum (rose) at the end? I can see how it could work, but am confused... any shed a little light on this??

Gretchen has a slight memory of everything that happened as if it were a dream and she recognizes the mom somehow.

Yes, that's true, Gretchen has probably some kind of memories of donnie & his mother.

Any answers to my questions above?

Hey This_Is_My_Life, I don't have answers for all of your questions but I do believe

#1. a) real world I believe
b) He is happy
#2. Not too strange considering we get "Back to School" ads during July 4th weekend.
#3. Is a poster of a M.C. Escher done in 1946.
Note of Frig question: Donnie sleepwalks so he mother writes the note, we used to communicate to the family the same way in our house.
#4. Not strange at all
#6. Is a Led Zepplin Poster of a swan.
#7. Is a good answer as I have ever heard.
#9. Why not churchbells? Donnie is searching for the existence of god and it is a symbol that others have this relationship through the church.
#10. Yes
#11. Maybe she feels they are better then her. or she doesn't want to talk to them.
#12. No. Donnie chooses not to get out of his bed. I believe he has figured out what he was supposed to do and thereby was on another plane. He chose to die because he knew he wouldn't be alone.
#13. Maybe he looks in the mirror because it's easier to comb you hair that way.
#14. The only time Donnie is really smiling is jumping with Gretchen. A symbol of childhood fun.
#15. I know he goes to the ridge to see what is going on with the timerift. I don't know about the cops I wondered about that too.

Hope this was helpful.

Wow, thanks a lot,

you almost answered all my questions.

But first I didnt get your comment about question no. 7. What do you mean with: "Is a good answer as I have ever heard"?

And how did you firuged that is a Led Zepelin poster? I couldnt recognize it. And good point about that poster by M.C. Esher.

I think the movie is in Donnie's perspective, and his paranoid schizophrenia makes it hard for him to distinguish between his delusions and reality. What everyone has said seems to give a clearer picture of the movie. I was wondering why real Frank (Donnie's sister's boyfriend) happens to own the same demonic bunny suit as imaginary Frank, because Donnie's delusions of Frank occured before he saw real Frank at the haloween party in the suit. My only guess is that Real Frank isn't actually wearing the suit, and Donnie only see's it that way, which contributes to his incentive for shooting Rel Frank.

Dan: Yeah, I think we've solved the movie completely out here.
But I disagree that Donnie has para schizo. The movie actually displays us what one can feel and see if he is "chosen" or when someone just "knows". Like in real world, something between heaven and earth, something that you cant touch, something out there which doesnt depend on time or a place.

some one said: Well..Maybe Frank was sent from hell by satan to warp Donnies mind and deny Gods existance..But he was overtaken by the goodnes..Thus him apologising in the theatre...And then he helped guide Donnie to save the world.

okay in the movie theatre donnie asks Frank about his eye and all Frank responds with is "I'm sorry". The reason frank is apologizing is because he knows that he got or 'will get' that eye from donnie shooting him in the eye AFTER he (frank) kills gretchen with his car. He is apologizing in 'advanced' for killing gretchen.

Also has anyone ever thought of the possibility of all of the events taking place from he time he jumps out of the school bus to the time hes sitting and laughing in his bedroom, all to be an acid trip.. this just came to mind, because while they are smoking at the bus stop, his friend is like "this is good shit eh" n donnies say "its just a fuckin cigarette" ...

but how does that explain the reactions of the characters after Donnie dies? They can't 'remember' something that occured only in Donnie's mind, can they?

I just watched the movie again, with some friends. They were amazed. But onwards.

When they are in the hotel, the dad mentions an old high school guy, Frankie Munitz (or whatever). He died. They said he was doomed. Is there any chance that he was Frank's father? It would explain Frank's comment "It is the name of my father, and his father before me"

can't think of anything else at the moment, its late.

Hey all...have you guys read the book on time travel? A 'tangent universe' is something that takes place when God did not intend it to. Frank leading Donnie away from his home when he otherwise would have died is the beginning of the Tangent universe. The 'manipulated dead' are those who died in the tangent universe..these being frank and gretchen. Donnie is known as the 'manipulated living'. Did you see at the end of the movie when Frank is rubbing hsi eye? This is because in the tangent universe Donnie shoots him in the eye..and Donnie also pokes him through the water with a knife in the eye. The 'manipulated living' are supposed to be able to conjure fire and water. Frank tries to show him this by telling him to flood the schoola dn set fire to Cunnignham's house. Did you notice that it never showed him lighting a match? I have more things to add..but not a lot of time at the moment. Please respond and I will post as I think of other things. ciao!

Sorry I haven't responded lately, I've been away for a while. On #7 I just meant I liked your explanation. The Led Zepp poster I noticed because my best friend had the same poster when we were younger.

I also think Donnie isn't para/schizo, but others believe him to be. Maybe it's a directors comment on how we are quick to medicate our young people.

ketut: Oh, thanx for the response. But there is still some little flaw in time cotinuality from the halloween party to the end of the movie, but its quite hard to think about it now again and again, even to resolve it.

Rachel: According to book "P. Of Time Travel" Donnie is the "Living Receiver".

I made my friend watch this movie after I've gone on about it long enough, and she just took it at face value and didn't question it or want to know more at all. It finished, and that was that, and I wanted to talk about it loads. It made me kinda mad! How can this movie been taken so lightly when since I watched it for the first time I've been trying to come up with so many answers to my so many questions?!!!

rae: lol, just read this from beginning

All: Im reading now another message board about DD story. They have some good points on Grandma Death.

1) She was in history also "Living Receiver", but she dint die. She wrote a scientist book over night instead, becase she already know the same about it like Donnie does at the end of the movie. She also comes to the mail box over and over simply because she knows what will happen.

She says to Donnie "every living thing dies alone - as you" probably becase she DOESNT belive in God. (remember? belive in God = u wont die alone). If she were Living Receiver in history she maybe saved herself by deciding to die alone, thus preventing herself to die in Primary unlike Donnie did. Its a mind f***.

They also explain those 2 cop cars arriving to Donnies house at the end. Franks friend from car called them.

And some more my little points:
Frank says to Donnie after he woke him up: "Ive been watching you" ...you know how? Because Donnie has a poster of that eye in his room - the "God's eye".

yes, there is a little continuity problemn from the party to the end. Oh well.

I haven't watched it in a while and I lent my copy to a friend and hope to discuss it with him this weekend. He watched the Mad World Video and said, "I got to watch this tonight". Maybe get some new insights.

I don't know if this theory has been posted already; but I believe that Frank is an angel sent by God to prove God's existance to Donnie. Donnie states in the film about his search for God being "absurd", but near the end of the film he refers to the car which runs over Gretchen as the "Deus Ex Machina" or "Hand of God". At the end of the film, when he is laughing in bed, he has seen God's plan unfold in front of him and he is overjoyed that he has found God. Many have stated this movie is about free choice, but it seems to me that they all followed their channels perfectly. The paralell universe was merely created by God in order to give Donnie proof of his existence.

Hullo people! First time i've been here and some of the things discussed here make alot of sense. I watched the film after being told by a friend how fantastic it was and absolutely loved it. There is just so much to talk about with it, the different meanings for things/people. I mean i wouldn't have even thought of Frank as representing God, thats what i'm meaning, there are so many things to think about.

I read somebody said earlier why the police turn up at the Darko's house when Donnie is sitting at the ridge with Gretchen - isn't that because in the early hours of the morning when Frank ran over Gretchen, Donnie shot Frank and that guy in the clown costume witnessed it, he ran so obviously told the police? That's what i think anyhoo.

Also something else i wanted to say. Someone was saying earlier about how Donnie didn't have to die to save the world from being destroyed because the portal closed before he was killed. Personally i think he did, if he had survived then he would have still been dodging God's path that has been pre-decided for him, then the whole world collapsing and being destroyed would have started again. The only thing with that is, why does the engine come back from the future AGAIN? Hold it no, i may have already answered that myself. Is it because his mother and little sis are still going to be flying to that competition thing, and no, but then if they crash again that means they'll be flying into the wormhole again, so they can't die can they? In which case, where the hell does the engine come from if it's not coming from the plane that his mother and sister are on? Argghh!! I have succeded in completely confusing myself! Gah!!

Hey Matt, i totally agree with tht comment and i've always wondered why he was laughing at the end!
I agree whith what people were saying earlier that Donnie was taken out of God's channel by Frank to give him the choice of doing right or wrong and as you said Matt, it was to show Donnie that God did actually exists.

Hi guys,

yeah you are right, answers to your questions you will find by reading this from the begining :-).

Ive watched it now again and theres definitely some time flaws. Now the quite clear is, that the tangent universe is already nearly probably from the begining of the movie, or I dont know.

The flaw is here: For the first time (Tangent) we saw clocks banging midnight, then display "Oct 8th 1988", then Donnie walking out (take note, when he passes the TV room, the program still plays, so the time is a little past 00:00, when the TV still has a program), then his sister is going home (HEY!!! Frank hongs the horn too!!!, not only at the end!!! as wrote here before), then the engine is falling down (the TV has NO program now!). So the engine felt down on Oct 8th in the night for the first time.

But at the end of the movie. Donnie sends engine thru the portal, we can see time going back to that point, and now attention! - back to time, that Donnie IS NOT in his bed, a few seconds we can see him hopping to his bed, laughing, we can see his sister arriving at home - now stop - a question - Is this still Tangent or Real? I think still Tangent. Then the song plays and the engine is falling on the Donnie, Cut to another scene, again CUT, and the engine is AGAIN falling on the Donnie. Hey, maybe this is the right time, when Tangent ended, and Real universe continues.

The scene is going on, and we can see Cut to Oct, 8th, 1988. ???. 8th? This is the flaw! Engine felt before 8th? or when? Or movie cutter mistake? Or directors intention to make the movie more weird and unexplainable? I dont know.

But one thing is a proof. Donnie really had to die, not in order to safe the world, but the engine was predicted to fall on the Donnies house (And Donnie realised that at the end of the movie).

And last comment, someone wrote here, that there some humming talk at the end when the credits starts. Yeah, the is, but I think Its not important, I catched something like:......hey go ahead, go ahead now......

Oh, sorry, I wrote 8th Oct, obviously not 8th, but 2th in both sentences, again sorry, my mistake.

Yea it's the 2nd October. It's not a flaw when it cuts to that. At the beginning when the engine fell from the sky it came up the 2nd October, and at the end wen the engine fell again it was 2nd October.

What you were saying about when trhe tangent and real worlds end'begin, i think the tangent world does start from when the jet engine exits the wormhole from the future. At that point it is the tangent world. Then the tangent world exists till the wormhole/portal re-opens and the engine crashes again. At theis point it s the real world as it is meant to be - Donnie dying.

I was just going to say as well, at the very beginning when Donnie wakes at the ridge, and he smiles, is it actually because he is genuinely happy or is it actually the fat that he knows of things to come and is smiling because of that?

Hi guys your on the right track Iv been cycling through the Donnie Darko forums and havent yet seen anyone as close as you guys to uncovering the real mystery of the film, working with Richard was not a easy task as we where on a farely tight budget but we managed, I worked with Richard Kelly mainly on the story plot and helped him edit the final cut.As much as Id love to give it all away i couldnt but i saw the last few posts and there has been allot of confusion about Frank and about some of the main idea's( a tip to all you cunning film studiers is that the movie has no relation to god or parallel universes). you have all seemed to jump to the conclusion that donnie controls the aircraft engine and then jumps across time to the scene where we see him laughing in bed, however he has not jumped time but in a complete revolution of contridiction he has seen his future as he did with the wormholes and laughs at how silly it all looks. There is also a big link between the chinese girl with the ear muths and donnies idea that everyone dies alone,the earmuths are symbolistic of her solarity and how she is alone.

>>By Steve mathardi

I also found this, check it out:


And just so you guys now the site is totally irrelivant to the movie Rich decided that the longer it took for people to begin to understand the film the better and its really meant to divert you father from the trueth .

>>By Steve mathardi

And more interesting posts from that site:
you guys really havent taken notice of me, look i want to put you down a strait path everything not in the movie and directors cut is completely irrelivant to the film, austin was really close to the real plot and yes it is allot simpler than you guys think, please drop the tangant universe idea and manipulated dead etc. the story is really quite basic its not another blade runner like you all seem to think it is, let me give you a hint just like in all great twist films ie the sixth sense the opening scene is the anser, take notice that donnie is at the very same hill he is quite neer to the end. hoepfully you guys can discover the real plot revolutions before the plat x dvd comes out.peace

>>By Steve mathardi

Here's some interesting things I found at Amazon

Schwartzman, Jason was originally to play Donnie, but was replaced by Gyllenhaal, Jake.
The movie was shot in 28 days, exactly the time-span of the movie itself, and on a budget of under $5 million.
The scene where Donnie - clad in a skeleton Halloween costume and hooded gray sweatshirt - bike-rides to Roberta Sparrow's house with his friends is an obvious homage to E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982). That film featured Barrymore, Drew, who is this film's executive producer and co-star.
In the beginning of the film, when Donnie is walking back home in the morning, his mother is reading Stephen King's "IT", which is about a small town tormented by the epitome of children's fears that usually goes about in the guise of a clown. Later, towards the end of the film, a character is hit by a car. The passenger gets out and is dressed like a clown.
In the scene at the house party someone is shown jumping on a trampoline with a Reagan mask on. This is taken from a photo of the journalist Hunter S. Thompson wearing a Reagan mask while jumping on a trampoline.
In the film Donnie refers to "Married... with Children" (1987) and, more specifically, Applegate, Christina during conversations about sex with his therapist. The script initially called for Donnie's fantasies to be about Milano, Alyssa. This had to be changed however when Kelly was denied the legal rights to reference her in this manner.
In the theater scene, Richard Kelly originally intended to have Donnie and Gretchen going to see C.H.U.D. (1984). However, there were problems with finding out who owned the rights to the movie. Finally, Sam Raimi came to the rescue, by allowing Kelly to use and distort footage from Evil Dead (1982), free of charge.
There's some debate over who said "cellar door" was the most beautiful sounding phrase in the English language. In the DVD commentary, writer/director Richard Kelly (II) says he thinks it was 'Edgar Allen Poe' but this contradicts the dialogue in which Karen Pomeroy attributes the line to a linguist. On the other hand, 'J.R.R. Tolkien' was a linguist, and Humphrey Carpenter tells us on page 56 of "Tolkien: A Biography" that he did make such an assertion about "cellar door".

>>By B

Granto if you watch the cinema credits or whenever it comes to tv youll see my name (Steve mathardi) as assistant choreographer and my cousin who co-produced sean McKittrick, but i can honestly tell you what you do not see in the film has no relivence, forget the sillly star track universe ideas, richard put those in after finding out at a last minute the film was most apreciated by intense sci-fi fans they are a means of satisfying you people, trust me they have no relevence whatsoever.peace

>>By Steve mathardi
hey b look I did allot of the cinemotography for this film and I know about richards ideas and i can tell you there is no living receiver or manipulated dead they where added in later on everyone else who worked on the film and helped richard bring his ideas to the screen knows those ideas where completely irrelivant there is no ultimate message behind the film if you want to argue email richard or the film adress with the title steve mathardi and ask richar himself what the relevance of those ideas are and then you can understand.peace

>>By Steve mathardi


this isint richards debut at all you guys he has written many movies before but only two made it to film and they didnt go anwhere, hes entered three of his movies into festivals and he struck lucky with donnie darko as they loved it but it isint his debu.peace

>>By Steve mathardi
.....Also, I found a misc. blooper. When they're talking about the "Fear & Love spectrum", one of the ladies goes up to the head of the class, reads her bit, and then marks an "X" next to fear. In the next scene, Donnie is called up to the head of the class, but the X is now missing.

>>By Mandelbrotjulia
Hello Groovers I have something for you.

Cellar door is the most beutiful phrase in this film because of the meaning hidden inside the letters.

Cellar door = Recall Rood. Rood is an ancient word used to descibe the cross that Jesus bore before his crusifiction.

Remember the sacrifice of one man to save the lives of others.

Another useful tid-bit is the fact that 28 days is the original monthly cycle from the Mayan calendar that was replaced by the currant Gregorian caledar. There were originally 13 months in a year with the new year being on July 25th "the day out of time"

>>By randominofect

You guys, I am never going to get sick of reading all this and trying to figure it out!
Just another point, has anyone noticed the door in the cinema in the 'have you ever seen a portal' scene kind of looks like Frank? Or is this me getting too obsessed and my imagination overworking?!
Anyways, still loving reading all this.

first of all, I see a few "blatent cut-and-pastes" from my site, www.tonystuff.co.uk which includes a massive segment on Donnie Darko, including some new additions (and takes a very basic approach at looking at the movie, rather than an in-depth, metophorical one)...

and to the "Choregrapher" guy (Steve mathardi) - Richard Kelly openly admits the manipulated dead/living/tangent in all his interviews and commentary on the DVD...I do not believe someone like Kelly would just add elements to his film last minute just to please Sci-Fi fans - Puh-LEASE....

You all just don't get it. ITS MEANT TO BE IRONIC!

I think we have all seen "Bonanza"

-I don't get it.

"I'm the only person here who trancends the parent teacher bridge!"

i heard the muttering at the very end of the film too! can anyone make out wat was said??

mark - im with you.
what does kitty mean when she says about Bonanza? i really laugh at it just because of the way she says it and wen she sits down and taps the guy behind her. you know?
what is bonanza?
kitty is fantastic. 'he told me to forceably insert the lifeline exercise card into my anus!'
all hail miss farmer.

Haha, I get it now. She was thinking of Lorne Greene, the star (?? actor??) in Bonanza.


Just some random thoughts I had whilst reading the first few hundred posts (upto June 03 2003):

1. 88/Back to the future - Doc Brown says "When this baby hits 88 mph you're gonna see some serious sh!t" Indeed.

2. There was mention of hear no evil and speak no evil - could see no evil be related to Donnie stabbing bunnyFrank in the mirror or shooting humanFrank?

3. Gary Jules - the most striking (for me) line in this wonderful song is "The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had" on waking from his good dream (the timeloop) Donnie laughs...

4. I think everyone knows/will discover why they die, as that is the mechanism by which we can accept death and move on (perhaps into an afterlife).

I'm going to get the DVD soon and digest everything here - DD is the most emotionally moving film ever!

Just an answer to a question - on the notes page of PoTT the text next to Gretchen Ross reads "Not her real name". When she first meets Donnie she says (something like) "Donnie Darko - that's a weird name" and then goes on to tell Donnie that because of the trouble with her mom/step dad she had to change her name, and she thought Gretchen Ross sounded cool.

i've gone through these comments for awhile, reading almost all of them and i don't get why people are insisting that frank is god or donnie is jesus, i mean the movie is about this boy who is choosen to save the world.
now, so many things have gone through my mind and i've come to believe that first of all frank pulled donnie out of bed to get to the point where frank gets shot. if he didn't then donnie would have died, and the world would have been swallowed, i think. well people say that when frank got donnie out of his house that it created some sort of parrallel universe. supposedly the parrellel universe is unstable and thats why it will end in 28 days. they also say that in the philosophy of time travel, donnie is the living receiver and his purpose is to close that black cloud thats swallowing the world. now that i believe.
frank got donnie to flood the school and thats how he met gretchen and they're going together. the flood also happens to make the school have this meetingand it's there that mrs. farmer get's drew barrymore's character fired. her last day she has cellar door written on the board and that helps donnie out at the end. now frank makes donie burn down jim cunninghams house and that exposes the kitty porn which gets him arrested and mrs. farmer needs to go to jims hearing or whatever it is. that helps rose, donnie's mom to be on the plane to take the dance to star search. this had to happen becuz if rose was home they wouldn't have had the party. now people say that if rose was still there then gretchen would still have come over, donnie would see the spears from the chest and then he'll want to go to sparrow's place. but i dunno if thats true.
now donnie, gretchen and frank all come together. gretchen gets run over, donnie kills frank. i read that people think that since frank is a ghost that he went through the worm hole along with the jet engine and got to the past faster. when donnie's back in his bed he's laughing. in the directors commentary, he says that he's laughing either becuz he thought it was a dream or becuz he knows that he was suppose to die there. i believe its the second reason. so is it logical that when he went through is a parrallel universe and the only way to save the world is to not listen to frank and die? so what happens? he dies.
i used to think that since he died like what good would that do? wouldn't that mean the world would end anyway? but now i don't believe that. thanks to anyone that has made me think different.

i have not read all of this but the bunny frank ! is the guy donnie kills at the end ! frank comes back so , that donnie dies and not him! he causes to much pain in the last 28 days ! then kills frank ! "you know the guy at the end (the driver of the car) when he kills donnies girl friend, donnie shots him in the eye ! thats why franks eye is messed up !@ ! thats the movie ! its a great movie don't get me wrong i love it to death ! i even got 28:06:42:12 tattooed on my arm like him ! email me back at jackthyripper@comcast.net for any problems with my inturp-a-tion !~ and ia'm sorry for the bad spelling !

Can we try to work on our spelling and grammar here? Its not hard. This is like an AIM chat ... and that's bad.

I don't see why people try to make things more complicated that they ought to be!

If you actually read the PoTT, it basically explains everything. Frank is not a ghost and not god, he's a Manipulated Dead. His job is to ensure that the Artifact is returned to the Primary Universe. It's not so he will live and Donnie will die.

I also don't understand why people surmise that Donnie was "chosen" by god to show him that god really exists, or to show him that he's not alone, where in the PoTT it states that "No one knows how or why a Receiver will be chosen"

i think frank is just a memory because in the movie the time line is kinda all stuck together in one place so i dont think frank is god but just donnies mind remembering something that already happened like time repeating itself or de-ja-vu it hasnt happened but it has already happened and part of him knows that somehow thats hes shot this kid in the head

plus at the end of the film they show the real frank with this lookn on his face that he had this weird feeling somethings happened like hes creeped out remembering another life or somethin

i think frank is just a memory because in the movie the time line is kinda all stuck together in one place so i dont think frank is god but just donnies mind remembering something that already happened like time repeating itself or de-ja-vu it hasnt happened but it has already happened and part of him knows that somehow thats hes shot this kid in the head

Posted by: Jeysen on October 9, 2003 04:28 PM

Yeah. Definately. That DEFINATELY explains the plane, and everything. Good post. By the way, your grammar sucks.

I just ran across this site while searching the web. I dont think anyone will ever fully understand the movie. There are alot of ironic things in the movie... I found something pretty ironic that others might not have thought of. I dont even know if it has anything to do with anything in the movie...I just think its kind of cool
ok... 28days...06hours...42minutes...and 12seconds
7x4=28 2x3=6 6x7=42 4x3=12...28+3=31(days in october) all of the numbers are used again except for 2...2 choices life or death?...just thought I'de share..heh...

I just saw this movie for the first time yesterday. I've passed it in the video shop and have meant to rent it out but just never have done before. Anyway, I'm glad I did rent it.

There is one word which can be used to describe Donnie Darko... and that is GENIUS!

I love movies that are like this... movie that make you think about them... movies that have hidden message that you have to look for... movies that when you watch them mutiple times you notice clues you didn't before...

This movie has shot straight into my top 5 movies.

Donnie Darko is excellent. I think if it had 'major' actors and had a bigger budget and therefore would have the look of a high budget movie, that it wouldn't work as well. I think that because it is shot like it is and that it is an independant film it is one of the things that helps make it work.

But it is a real mind job. You try and work it out and you think you come close but there is always something else that messes your theory up or doesn't make sense. I think this is also what makes the movie great and I praise Richard Kelly for writing this work of art.

After reading various theories they are mainly split into two catergories - The Parralelle Timeline theory or Frank/Donnie = God/Jesus theory. And sometimes they mix.

Now... after reading various theories and listening to the cast comentary I subscribe to the Paraelle Time Line theroy.

Although I think... The only person who will ever truly know the reason behind the movie is Richard Kelly. You might come close... but there will always be something that doesn't add up or can't be worked out.

This is my take on the movie:

The film is about Donnie setting the timeline back in order. When the jet engine crashed into his room, it came from no where, it had no origin. Since everything has to come from comewhere, this event messed up the universe. Donnie was chosen to set it back in order.

Frank lured Donnie away so that Donnie could fix the time line. Frank was sent by God, or some other higher power (remember Donnie talking about God with his teacher?). In order for Frank to be avaliable as a guide, he had to be dead. Donnie didn't have to die at the end, he just had to give the jet engine an origin, which he did - he sent it back through time, thus setting the universe back in order.

When he set everything back in order, he either thinks it was all a dream, or he just laughs at the irony of it all. Either way, he doesn't move in time to avoid being killed by the jet engine that he had just sent back through time.

Everyone else has memories of the alternate timeline as well, which is why everyone wakes up looking shocked and why Frank is touching his eye.

I think some thing that go un-answered and will probably never be answered are:

- What is the deal with Grandma Death? Why is she waiting for a letter? (Donnies Letter?) How does she know about time travel?

- How does Frank appear to Donnie? Is it in is head? Does Frank's spirit travel back in time? But if he needs to be dead to be Donnies guide then... if the future hasn't happened yet then Donnie hasn't shot him so he can't come back to appear to Donnie...

- If everyone has deja-vu and remembers the alternate timeline (or bits of it) why doesn't gretchen appear to remember it when Donnie has set it right?

As amazing as the movie is... I hate time travel cos you always get confused trying to figure it out and you are always left with a paradox.

One word sums up this movie... GENIUS!

You only get movies like these... movies that aren't clear and require you to think about them every so often.

But it is a real mindjob... You think up a theory and it looks right but then there is always soemthing else that doesn't add up or messes your theory up. I think the only person who will truly ever understand the full reason behind the movie is Richard Kelly himself.

As amazing as this movie is... I hate time travel. It's always confusing (except Back to the Future) and you are always left with a paradox.

My take on this movie is:

The film is about Donnie setting the timeline back in order. When the jet engine crashed into his room, it came from no where, it had no origin. Since messed up the universe. Donnie was chosen to set it back in order.

Frank lured Donnie away so that Donnie could fix the time line. Frank was sent by God, or some other higher power (remember Donnie talking about God with his teacher?). In order for Frank to be avaliable as a guide, he had to be dead. Donnie didn't have to die at the end, he just had to give the jet engine an origin, which he did - he sent it back through time, thus setting the universe back in order.

When he set everything back in order, he either thinks it was all a dream, or he just laughs at the irony of it all. Either way, he doesn't move in time to avoid being killed by the jet engine that he had just sent back through time.

Everyone else has memories of the alternate timeline as well, which is why everyone wakes up looking shocked and why Frank is touching his eye.

I thought my other post got deleted... thats why I posted it again.

Hey guys.... or girls ... whatevs... I am writing a paper on the film "Donnie Darko" for a class im taking in university .. The Bible and Film. I have to relate a movie of my choice.. (DD) to the bible using 4 or 5 major biblical symbolims. There are sooooo many smaller ones in the film that i keep getting torn upon.. anyone have any suggestions... Im thinking .. one would be... Frank... being a rabbit he is a symbol... but im really having problems backing this up with biblical text. umm... i donno im so lost right now my heads a mess tryen to think of the best way to write this... i'll post back later with my finial decisions... i could really use some help...
ps i'll post a link to my paper when im done for any of you who wish to see what my final product is! thanx :)

oh yes yes yes ... i forgot .. the apocolypse..... big big theme of the film

Well a lot of peole have theorised that Frank is God and that Donnie is Jesus...

I have never read The Bible and so I wouldn't be able to make biblical references and that but one I just thought of off the top of my head is:

When Donnie is walking out of the cinema it pans up to show the sign that advertises what film is showing and it says 'The Last Temptation of Christ'

What if the whole film is the last temptation of christ... I mean Frank represents God and he comes to Donnie in the body/spirit of someone he will kill.

Donnie represents Jesus and God plans this whole thing... this alternate timeline or whatever to see is Jeses/Donnie will sacrifice himself to save the world or save himself but only have 28 more days to live.

Thats the temptation... to live and have all the good things happen to him (ie. meeting Gretchen) but ultimately Donnie sacrifices himself...

I have recently been studying this film in my media studies class and it has facinated me! I do believe what you are saying is exactly right! I have been trying to work out the narrative for ages and believe your answer to be the correct one! All I can say is thankyou very much for sharing that and that you have answered alot of questions for me.

The Time Travel book and the Last Temptation of Christ are all really good explainations. I can't decide which one is the right one. Perhaps the director just threw in that "Last Temptation of Chirst" sign to throw everyone off, I don't know. But one thing that no one mentioned, (i dont know if it has anything to do with anything) is that if Frank was his sisters boyfriend, we can assume that he was right outside in his car when the Jet Engine fell, cause if you remember his sister was coming in the door. Perhaps cause he would have seen it come out of nowhere this is how he was woven into being whatever the hell he was. Messager, the devil. whatever. But as far as Donnie being Jesus... I don't remember Jesus burning down a house, or flooding a school, or shooting anyone. Frank just was to evil looking to be God. With that bunny costume.

According to WikiPedia, on october 28th, 1988, 48 hours after announcing it was abandoning RU-486, French manufacturer Roussel Uclaf states that it would resume distribution of the drug, bowing to pressure from the government of France.
Hmm.. seems totally irrelevant.
Also, Bill Gates and *gasp* Julia Roberts were born on the 28th of october. (not in 1988, of course)

Oh! Listen to this! The movie "The Last Temptation of Christ" came out in 1988! in october!
How cool is that?
looks like the director/writer did his homework

I don't think anybody has mentioned this so far (& if they have then I appologise for missing it) but in the director's commentary, he states that Frank beeps the horn after dropping Donnie's sister (his girlfriend) at the house to awaken Donnie as a kind of warning. He is basically saying "Get out of your room Donnie!" He does this at the start and also at the end of the film during the same scene. Surely this must mean that Frank isn't evil?

i thought the film was great- you know it's a good film if you cn't stop thinking about it and exploring the possibilities in your head. or maybe it was just Jake Gyllenhaal who kept the film in my head! Anyway great film. xx

This is one of the most thought provoking movies I have ever seen. I Have my theories like most of you guys, but im desperate to find out exactly what it all means. Im hoping this will all be explained in the website which is unique in itself. Have any of you guys 'completed' the site or found the exact synopsis of the film or what its trying to purvey?

Hi everyone, I need help with the offical Donnie Darko website, I know the first and second passwords are breathe, how about after that? I am not concerned if you spoil it for me, would just like to know:)

Frank honking his horn as he drives away from the Darko's is of no relevance, he's just saying goodnight to his sweetheart.

In both instances this happens before the tangent universe can take place.

Hi Guys

Thanks for all the posts and everything, dd is a real life sorta changeing movie, espesially if you watch it alone.
Just one question, how does he get back into bed at the end? And if he goes back in time, should there not be two of them there?

Also anyone knoe where i can get a full copy of "the philosophy of time travel"


firstly Donnie Darko is the most beautiful film i have ever seen. the music especially is something that moved me. in my opinion the greatest film EVER made (and i seriously mean that)

in Donnie Darko everything happens for a reason and is linked. in other words a reference to the existence of Chaos Theory. but what i dont get is:

1 - why is Frank a human at the end before he gets shot by Donnie? shouldnt he be the spectre Frank?

2 - how does the plane engine get into "Gods channel"?

3 - why cant i stop thinking about this film?? ever since i first watched it its been in my head and i get confused just thinking about it.


I am a massive fan of this film and have only came across this site today and it's been fantastic reading, there are so many interpretations here I have considered and many new ones that I had not realised.

The only thing that has puzzled me most right fromt he very end of the film the first time I watched it is this...

The whole series of events is triggered by the engine
going through the wormhole or otherwise going back and then not hitting Donnie (or maybe it did and he dreamt it didn't) either way in the end we are to believe that he does get hit by it thus saving the world. Now call me an idiot as maybe i'm missing something but whether the engine hits him or misses him it still went back through time and isn't that what caused the whole mess. Surely with the engine hitting Donnie the series of events are still going to take place but this time without Donnie there, in effect the world would end anyway but Donnie gets to die before anyone else.

I'm not sure i've exlpained my question to well but if anyone sees what I mean could they help.

Good point, Steve. Just when I thought I was beginning to understand it all, everything changes. But you know, I'm really leaning towards then interpretation that everything that happened to Donnie (from the first time he saw Frank, until it shows him is his bed laughing) was a dream. I think someone, God, possibly, was showing him what would happen if he lived. I don't think Donnie ever had a choice in living or dying, I think he was being shown the dream soley so that he would understand why he had to die. The only thing about this is I really don't know where to fit time travel and frank and such into that. Any ideas?
Also, can somebody tell me the password to level 1 on the website. it's driving me crazy!

An issue was brought up in the comments above about how Donnie wouldn't do any of the things he did (like lead Gretchen to her death) had he not been prompted to do so by Frank. Because Frank plants these ideas in Donnies Head DOES NOT make him a villain. Here is my reasoning for this:

Okay...so when Frank takes off his mask for the first time, his eye is already shot out. This is before it actually happens in Donnie's present reality, and so therefore Frank MUST have travelled back in time from a previous reality--in which Donnie shot out his eye. His answer to Donnies question "What happened to your eye?" is "I'm so sorry." This suggests that he ran over Gretchen in the previous reality, and therefore the sequence of events that led to this event HAS to be the same. It is for this reason that Frank tells Donnie what to do. Let me explain: In the previous reality, Donnie acted on his own. However, once the engine travelled through the wormhole for the first time, Frank was allowed to come back in time and save Donnie from being crushed. By doing this, Frank has changed the past and therefore the future as well--by influencing Donnie's actions, he has altered the way Donnie will act in the future. Therefore, it becomes impossible for Donnie to do the same things he did before, so Frank and Gretchen may not die because Donnie's life will be changed due to Frank's intervention in the opening scene of the movie. Because he has interfered, Frank must then guide Donnie to do what must be done to keep the outcome the same. That is Frank's purpose: to keep Donnie on the right path. Otherwise, the events leading to the opening of the breach may never occur. It is only through Frank's guidance that Donnie stays on the right path so that he may choose Fear or Love when the time comes.

--Peppered Dork

anyone with the DVD version of Donnie Darko should watch a couple of scenes with the directors commentary on. this explains alot and the honking of the horn is significant by the way. the director said so himself!

The reasons for Donnies actions is due to the manipulated living/dead (i think anyway!). the manipulated would exist in the real universe and not the one Donnie is in and would be influencing Donnies actions. remember the words "they made me do it"? presumabley "they" are the manipulated living/dead.

I watched the film quite a while ago now and i can't really remember thefine details but i don't think the rabbit is god i have only watched it onece and i must be really confused becasue i thought that frank (the rabbit)was donnie???????

Man these are some really good interpretations. I dont know if anyone touched on this subject, i wasn't able to look through all of them, but in "The Philosophy of Time Travel" theres a chapter on Dreams. In this chapter it says that the manipulated or (the people who help guide Donnie through this whole quest) will awake after thier trip through the tangent universe and some will remeber it as a really bad dream or nightmare. Thats why on the night Donnie dies you see some of the people waking up looking all scared or remorseful.4 ex: You see Jim Cunningham crying on that scene because he believes he just awoke from a nightmare in which the whole world discovers his kittyporn ring or when human Frank touches his eyes after having a "dream" of dieing.

with this in mind i believe that the reason Donnie died wasn't to save the universe because regardless off whether he lives or dies the world is saved. And he wont end up killing Frank because the only reason Frank led him to that point was because he was the one chosen by "them" to show Donnie the way to save the world.(which has already been done)

So maybe Donnie did choose to die for some reason thats unknown to me. I say that he just thought it to be all a dream hence why he is laughing at the end because he is relieved and enlightend that none of that experience was real.

sorry if this explination is a little bit bleak

does anybody know what language deus ex machina is from?

It's latin I think. "Machine of God" or at least I'm pretty sure that's what it means.

This is probably a heretical post on a site with a lot of inspired insight by DD fans, but no one has really mentioned it so..

I'm not convinced that it wasn't all just a dream/delusion.
Just a couple quick points on why I think this to prevent flames. First, I am a huge fan of the movie - loved every aspect of it and look forward to many viewings and interpretations. Second, not trying to make a stand or provoke fans, just my gut feeling from the film. Third, haven't listened to the directors commentary yet - I like to puzzle it out for myself then go to the source.

I understand (as much as possible) the prevalent theory about DD sacrificing himself to preserve humanity and time, and I agree that it is a possible explaination. But it is also a very elaborate (but beautiful) scenario that stretches reality itself, instead of a more straightforward one. I'm also applying the lesson learned from the Usual Suspects and Memento that you have to question the perspective of the situation, either the narrator or character point of view.

Before the engine crashes into his room, we know a few basic things about Donnie: he has a history of emotional/social problems, he is off his meds, he is POed at his mom, and is generally not a happy camper. After he falls asleep he has a surreal calling to meet Frank and the adventure begins. All of a sudden, life perks up - he meets a great girl, conveniently placed next to him by the teacher; floods the school and subsequently goes steady with the girl; superhumanly puts the axe in a metal statue; exposes the "popular" huckster as a fraud by burining his house (with a perfect alibi); explains the mysterious background of old lady Sparrow; learns time travel within 4 weeks; gets comeuppance on the sancimonious school marm; and has his dreams/delusions neatly explained away as being the savior of humanity. Sounds like a damn fine dream to me.
Problems, a few. How could he know that a plane engine would kill him? Gretchen's wave to his mom at the end of the film. Since he did regularly sleepwalk, why not that night?

The Deus Ex Machina also works here. It is sometimes used as the literary equivalent of "and then something happens" to move a plot forward - not fully explained, comes at a key juncture, and often connects two different threads.
Well, just some grist for the mill.

I think i understand this. At the end of the movie when the jet engine comes back through time to kill Donnie, it is coming from the PARELLEL universe, not the one he's currently in. That would explain why none of the events that happened in the movie would happen if he died. Does this make sense? It makes sense in my mind. For instance, how could the plane crash in the future have anything to do with it coming thought ime, because the plane wouldn't even crash and the jet engine wouldn't come back through time and kill him in the first place, so obviously it came from a different universe. Not the one he's in right now. So he was in a different universe the whole movie?

When donnie is in the movies and asks franks what happened to his eye frank doesnt say anything but donnie says sorry?
can somebody explain

Eddie - that's because later on in the movie it is Donnie who shoots Frank in the eye. In some kind of vague way everybody knew their fate.

I see your points of view and the conclusions you have drawn are very imaginitive and creative. I agree with the majority of your interpretation. It all works out, but if Frank (God) does pull Donnie out in order to give him a choice, then why doesn't he pull everyone out in order to give them a choice. Why just Donnie. In the short story the Destructors, which directly parallels Donnie's life it states that the boy had this plan with him his whole life and now crystalized with puberty at the age of 15 it is coming to pass or something like that. Anyways why wouldn't Gretchen have had the choice to die in the end, or Frank. If Gretchen did not die, then Donnie might not have chosen to die when they went back in time. If you read the philosophy of time travel it says the manipulated dead will set an assurance policy in order to make sure that the chosen receiver will return the artifact to the primary universe. Gretchen was the assurance policy. I just don't understand why all of this happened to Donnie. It is an awesome movie and I will watch it over and over again to try and find small things i missed before, but I still don't understand why Donnie is placed in this situation in the first place. He could be compared to Christ only in some ways. It is an argument I have seen before but what purpose is Donnies death serving. Christ too had his plan from the beginning of his life, and was given the choice to save himself and chose not to. But everyone remembers Christ. Donnie choses not to save himself also but no one remembers what happens. They only feel remorse from their dreams. I guess he could be paralled to Christ, but that is a highly debateable issue, which will result in many arguments driven by emotion rather then fact. Tell me what you think about Donnie's journey related to Christ's

Can anyone explain who THEY is in They made me do it? Why is it plural? Obviously Frank tells Donnie to do these things. But Frank could be a symbol for something else. If it refers to a religious meaning, usually religions have one supreme being. Not plural which lead me to think why THEY is pluralized.

i think is neccessary to appreciate the *newcomb´s paradox* (stated in 1969 by robert nozick) to understand this movie.

type "newcomb problem" (WITH quotes) on google and read some articles (i recommend "http://www.greylabyrinth.com/Puzzles/puzzle014.htm" and "http://slate.msn.com/?id=2061419")

Would you like to meet the real Donnie Darko?

Click here: http://www.stainlesssteelrat.net/ddfaq.htm

Could the chinese girl not be the thing manipulating everyone? if you think about it it kinda makes sense

Could the chinese girl not be the thing manipulating everyone? if you think about it it kinda makes sense

some of the comments here are excellent!

i have a few thoughts, and I might be able to solve the mystery of the bunny!

There's an old, absolutely charming movie starring Jimmy Stewart called Harvey.
Jimmy Stewart's character is man who sees this big bunny rabbit named Harvey. It talks to him, walk with him, shows up at times, etc. No one else can see Harvey, of course, except for Stewart's character. They all think he's crazy and he gets put in a psych ward. At the end, though, there is proof that Harvey does exist and that Stewart's character is not really crazy after all and that Harvey is not just a figment. The presence of the rabbit here parallels the rabbit in Harvey. We can infer, then, that this is not just all a dream. (Besides, the people waking have a vague memory of - something)

There are way too many similarities in that to mention them all - they should be fairly obvious. Also, I think that the recurring theme of 88 is nothing more than a tribute to good time-travel movies that have had to deal with similar issues before. I like that Hawking's book was published that year - cute.

i just watched this movie for the first time last night and spent the following 5 hours watching the extras and director commentary only to find out that there is no ONE explaination. but by god, im gonna try. from what ive gathered by reading some of the previous posts is that for every solution, theory, explaination, or whatever, there is something that shows up in the movie to contradict them, if that makes any sense. what i mean is, no matter how many combinations of theories you can think of, there will always be something there to contradict it. but being in the same bout as everyone else, im gonna give it my best shot; here it goes:

1. the entire time span in the movie was no longer than maybe 5 minutes. from the very beginning when the jet engine fell into donnie's room, donnie could have died at that moment. ok, its obvious that donnie is afraid to die alone. but there is no evidence to suggest that he neither believes nor denies the existance of god. its sort of "up in there air" at this point. (im having a little trouble phrasing what i want to say, so bear with me for a sec...) maybe the rest of the movie, the "tangent universe" is his subconscious' way of convincing him that there is a god. because if you notice during one of his sessions with the Dr. that he says he WOULD LIKE TO BELIEVE in god, but he needs proof. so the desire to seek out god is there and will always be there, hes just reached a point of frustraion, which everyone who seeks god will go through. so, with that in mind, wouldnt it make sense that his mind created frank the bunny, and every senerio out of his own subconsciousness, ultimately to allow the part of him that "would like to believe in god" that there is a god. everyone has heard of "life flashing before your eyes..." some of this might not make sense. im not very good at turning my thoughts into words. and i often leave things out that i meant to say.

2. there was a second point i wanted to make...but i lost it....ill come back

please post any comments anyone might have. this is such an awesome website.

ok, i have another comment. this has nothing to do with the idea that i posted a minute ago, but a new topic...
the very end of the movie was the hardest part for me to grasp, as im sure it was for a lot of people. but here is my basic idea for it: in the deleted scenes, there is a scene where donnie and gretchen are talking about dreams and donnie says something like "have you ever woken up from a dream and remembered it very clearly, but with every passing moment you can feel it slipping away.." well, i sort of think of the end like this. everyone wakes up and has this feeling that everything that just transpired was merely a dream. they could still remember everything that happened, but slowly it wil fade away and become nothing more than a forgotten dream. and i suppose everyones dream is a little different. the gym teacher: woke up to this dream that her idol jimmy cunningham was arrest for child porn. very upsetting for her. frank the human: waking up to a dream where he ran over a girl and was shot in the eye, hence him rubbing his eye. jimmy cunninham waking up to a dream where an adolescent boy stood up at one of his speeches and revealed to everyone what he truely was. there were more, but i cant figure those out.

and also, this could go back to my first idea...in the letter to roberta sparrow he mentions that he was afraid that it was not a work of fiction and the he can only hope that the answers will come in to him in his sleep. what i think this means is he hopes that everything that is happening isnt real, but a dream, maybe a dream you have the very moment you die, or maybe death IS a dream, who knows, and everything will make a kind of sense to him after he is dead.

now for my questions: in the scene where the science and english teachers are in the staff room, the scene from the actual movie goes something like this: scene opens, teachers are sitting there, science teacher say "donnie darko...(?)" and the english teacher replies "i know" this confuses me. such a pointless scene. from the way i took it, the science teacher says "donnie darko" as if he were questioning the name itself, like "what a bizzare name" and the english teacher replies "i know" in such a way that leads me to think that she has this crush on him or something. very strange...comments and or concerns welcome.

i realize on my first post that i completely disregarded the entire movie, so heres my attempt to elaborate on that.

in the beginning there was a freak accident that caused donnie to die. he died then, BUT because of the divine intervention (the wormhole that threw the engine on top of donnie) time was "frozen" and donnie was given a choice. or maybe in death, everyone is given a choice. maybe death itself is as mysterious as the way donnie died, which means his death was sort of a metaphor for death itself. but on to my point...maybe he was given an opportunity to see what things would be like if he lived or died. the choices donnie was presented with were die now and save others from death and sorrow, or live now and suffer myself. the tangent universe could be a dream that he had weighing the pros and cons of his final choice. he had an encounter with gretchen, which could be precieved as "jesus" in the movie. she is the person he cares for and with whom he will never be alone, just like with god. frank the bunny could be a shepard trying to lead donnie to the "right" choice. he tells him to flood the school. the flood could be symbolic for something good, like the meeting of donnie and gretchen. water IS a sign of life. but then later on she will die for him, sort of. then he tells donnie to burn cunninghams house. the fire could be symbolic of exposing hypocrisy within the church. fire burns in hell. something to that effect...make any sense? or am i reading too deep?

i just thought of another thoery and i have to say it before i forget it.

what if at the end when donnie is laughing, he has realized that there is NO god and that he IS alone. grandma death said that every living creature on earth dies alone. frank the bunny says that the world will end in 28 days. well if roberta is right, then donnie is already alone, was alone, and will always be alone. in 28 days, donnie "goes back through the portal" to die. well, what if he realized this and decided there was no point to avoid his death in the first place. that it would make no difference because he will die alone anyways....but there are so many things left out of this theory that im having a difficult time believing it.

sorry guys, i keep getting distracted and i forget the words i wanted to use to describe what im thinking. ill have to come back...again...

just a coupla little things id noticed, having just watched it for the third time. apologies if these have been said before, but theres a lot to read!

1) sparklemotion to me simply represents superficiality within society. its contrast with the classical swan dancing of the fat girl exemplifies this. strong parallels can consequently be drawn between sparklemotion and cunningham, and organised religion/the church. ie, their glossing over off the realities of the world and their consequent needlessness within socity, which seems to be a fundamental ideal of the film

2) also i think the fat girl may represent donnies argument againt cunningham, the antichrist. because cunningham percieves everything in black and white, or fear and love, donnie mocks him, saying not everything is that simple. indeed, the fat girl, by listening to donnie on tape and writing about him in her book, appears to love donnie, yet simultaneously fears him and backs away from him when he approaches her. hence, she cant be placed in cunningham's "line" of love and fear, because she possess both.

3) another fundamental ideal of the film is the destruction of the already mentioned evils in society. the whole film seems to parallel the story read out by drews character, where donnie explains to us that the kids burning the money was ironic, cos it was creating something better by eliminating an evil. it just struck me how much that story seems to represent the entire film....

such a bloody good film tho, i cant wait to watch it again. cheers!

Looked at the website for a while, some of it seemed pretty interesting, so i did some reverse engineering on the .swf's.

The random words at the main menu DONT just spell "pay close attention, you could miss something", as there are some extra words (you might have already noticed this).

From looking at the source, the rest of it says:
"I want you to watch the screen there's something i want to show you". Clearly you cant spell these, as there are only 10 spaces, and 14 words.

BUT, there does seem to be an easter egg hidden somehow, as the .swf shows 1 extra frame tacked at the end of the menu file, this section is similar to the normal menu, only there is a vector style police car in the background, instead of the clouds and donnie, and there is no menu thingies to get to level 1/2/3. I couldnt work out how to get there without h4x0ring the .swf, nor could i see anything of importance about this hidden section in the code alone.

Also, there appears to be one extra graphic in the flash file that is linked to the hidden frame, a yellow, vector style crane, holding the jet engine, but i cant see how to get it to show, so we must be missing something bigish.

The only other thing i found was about the closing of the chandelier window, and how it makes the text box bigger.
nothing really important, you just keep making it bigger, and eventually it gets flooded with text.
If you couldnt be bothered testing it, the text is read through from this file:

hardly ground breaking.

These are the only two sections i have bothered looking at yet. There could be alot more interesting stuff.

As for my interpretation of the film, blah, im still undecided. But i dont think i wholy agree with anyone's theories so far posted. But it certainly has been good food for thought. When it comes down to it, i think the whole movie is about nothing more than overcoming ones fear.

Also, I think that the whole religion think is an influence, and maybe a compartive theme, but nothing so extreme as to say certain characters are/reprisent biblical figures.


oh, and deus ex machina is generally used for a less literal meaning, not really anything to do with "god from machines" or the chair from heavens thingo.

Its used to describe an unlikely, but strangely resolving end to a plot. Like something that the audience, or maybe the characters themselves, did not expect at all, or perhaps seems really out of place, yet somehow, it ties up all the loose ends.

Ill let you guys decide how you want to relate this.

i bought the film last week and i am still a bit confused, i was wondering if anyone could help me out. which character is actually donie????is it the father or da guy in the bunny suit???


i just wanted to say sorry mike hunt for the post i left the other day. i was having a bad day and took it out on this post, which i shouldnt have done. sorry.
but anyways, donnie is the boy in the movie in which the events revolve around. hes a "superhero"

My opinion may sound alittle strange, but it seems to burn inside of me.

Donnie woke up on the road, which is that he feels alone in his own mind. But as he gets home, there is a note on the refrigerator that says,"Where is Donnie?" One of the many signs that he is not alone at all, except in his own mind.

And Frank calling out to him before the jet engine fell in his room, was a sign that there is something that he must do inwhich no one else could accomplish. For when someone dies, or gets hurt to a great extent, then something was made known to them beforehand. But it is, or was, up to them to find it out. A test to show themselves that anything is possible if one just sits down and simply thinks on it.

Many People are scared that if Time travelling is ever accomplished, then people would do it as much as they could. That would mean that the portals, or black holes, whould never have time to heal and that that the past will become the future, the present will be ripped to shreds, as the future will become to past. People don't know that the things that they did in the past don't matter as mush as they, it's what they do in the present that spreads out the blueprints for the future. Change is good for some, but bad for others. Time is something that man made up to feel a little more like god. In other words, The Tangent Universe and Primary Universe is the left and right parts of every persons brain. if they bot collide, then something that is there to hold them together, might be exposed.


I just wondered how far you guys went with this
greatest exsplanation of Donnie Darko story.

This board someone should save for archive purposes. Maybe NASA will do research on it, lol.

Bye guys and keep posting.

I really like your interpretation, it's very thought out and intellegent. However, I think that if God wanted to reach one of us, I doubt he'd reach us in our dreams as an insane rabbit. But that's just me. I can see why God would put us in that position, but why a rabbit? Why in our dreams? Why at all? Wouldn't he approach us as simple as possible to see if we would question him? And why would God, who created this entire cosmos, the entire universe, take time to come to this planet, which is slowly being destroyed be the idiots who dominate it (the human race) and see if one of those idiots would make the right choice on whether or not to fix the universe. Another thing, I loved the movie, but all of these movies are the same. A guy doesn't die when he's supposed to and the whole univerese gets screwed. But then, the crazy one who watches it all unfold, saves the whole universe by dying. So now, my question is: Why Donnie Darko? Why is this movie that's calling in all the religious and psycological questioning. Why not Final Destination, same exact plot, just different people. Why do we bother questioning movies at all? These are made for our entertainment. When we watch movies, we are, in essence, insane. We belive in people that don't exist. Yet, because the human brain is so complex, we remember these imaginary figments and try to sort out their problems. Why Donnie? Why not Pocahantas? They are all imaginary figmants, what separates one from the other. But most of all... Why do we wear these stupid man suits?

there are a lot of questions that this movie brings up that never seem to get answered directly, but probably the biggest mystery would be why there is a rabbit in donnie's dream. the only thing i can come up with is it was just a work of the author's imagination. the movie could have progressed just the same if it had been a goat, or a llama. only difference would be we would be asking, "why is there a llama telling this guy what to do?" plus, don't you think a silly rabbit is a bit catchier than a silly goat?

and another thing i was just thinking about...there is a song by a band known as Tool called "disgustipated" that has this man talking and he mentions, "...let the rabbits wear glasses..." well maybe god thinks of us as rabbits and when he visited donnie in his "day-light hallucinations" he took the form of a rabbit maybe to form a latent connection with him....its a long shot, and actually has nothing to do with the interpretation of the song itself, but oh well.

Hey guys i was just wondering if anyone had been to the official donnie darko website and knows how to actually get into it to read stuff about the movie...i've just recently seen it and am really curious to what they say about it. Thanks!

If you watch the extended scenes you will hear the director say a lot of things like, "Open to interpretation" and I don't know." It is a good general idea but I don't think even he had a clear idea of where it would end, otherwise there would have been a little more to hang your hat on. Also, at one point he says he was talking to Francis Ford Cupola and Francis circles a line in the script and says "This is what your movie is about" and he seems to agree with him but goes on to say it is cut from the movie. Overall, he seems confused by his own work, which is not a good sign for those of you seeking a direction in all of this. The setup and events in the movie were awesome, but let’s face it, the ending sucked. And all of you who have seen the website, how could you fail to realize that the science and English teacher already knew what was happening and were consciously coaching Donnie? The rift or whatever they call it between the parallel universes had opened and the government was trying to cover it up and find the guy who would close it. That's why they had the parents sign a confidentiality agreement. (Also the call on level 3 of the website.) Notice it says that the Science Teacher worked for the CIA before coming to the school? Also, the director says it is religious, and that seems obvious to me. As for the rest, some of it doesn't make sense because it's not supposed to and some of it doesn't make sense because the director threw in everything he thought of instead of trying to be a little more focused. Overall, though, a GREAT movie. And having graduated in 88, I can appreciate a lot of the "look" and the smoking in the lockers and the house party especially brought back memories. And the soundtrack and its use with the scenes and the editing blew me away!

Has anyone thought about this. Perhaps this is a movie about redemption. Working in the Frank represents God vein. Frank lets Donnie slip into an alternate universe and prods him down a path which ultimately allows Darko to gain value for a life so pointlessly shortened. There just happen to be extra ironies involved (his mother and sister being on the plane). It seems that everything is destined to fall apart in Frank's alternate reality... it exists long enough to give Donnie meaning. It gives Donnie meaning and purpose as he heads towards a death that would otherwise be so underserved and tragic. Maybe think of Donnie's trip as a segue in time... a little loop that cuts away from the main time stream and doubles back and connects with itself. This seems a much simpler explanation than one which requires Donnie to be an agent of a higher power, rather it is the higher power that is being merciful to Donnie by making him feel that his sacrifice is not in vain. Only problem with this scenario is what happens to Jim Cunnigham or Gretchen back in the main time line?

Donnie Darko

In layman’s terms a total head fcuk.

There is the obvious religious part to the film, but I want to focus more on the other parts.

1. Donie doesn’t want to die alone. So Frank stops Donnie from dieing, and Donnie meets Gretchen.
2. This process however leads to the ultimate destruction of many peoples lives, his mother, younger sister, Gretchen, human Frank all die as a result, other lives affected are his English teacher (sacked) and Jim Cunningham (arrested).
Donnie is very bright and guidance from grandma death, his physics teacher, his psychiatrist and frank all lead to his time travel which then leads to his destruction ( his destruction saves many others lives)

just a wee insight from my own perspective...

A note to any newcomers: READ THE PREVIOUS POSTS! It takes a while, but they answer (or give theories about) all the major questions.

Looking at the movie from a textual analysis point of view, we have to consider that the "solution" to the film, as much as any can exist, lies in recognizing 3 elements: 1) the materials the film's background supplies, specifically the Philosophy of Time Travel book given on the website; 2) the director's own comments, as given in the commentary and other places (deleted scenes can be taken as being a part of this); and 3) the realities of making a believable movie, including blocking, ad libs, accidents, and so forth.

Most of the theories discussed previously rely heavily on points 1 and 2, as they should. Bringing in other ideas, like the parallel universe theory as proposed by real-life physicists, etc., is useful and interesting, but as it had little effect on making the movie, it will have little effect on decoding the creator's intended message. Similarly, if the background materials give a coherent explanation for, say, Frank the Bunny's actions, there's no reason to disagree with the background. Putting out the PoTT online, the creators of the film are saying "this is the handbook to what's going on" and it's up to us to decide who and what plays into the roles described.

Point 3 of the elements to consider is a bit trickier. I mean, why does Donny end up with his head to Gretchen's midsection? Largely because that's where the "destiny spears" emerge from, and he was following one he put his face into (changing it, didn't he? it's been a while...). A simple matter of blocking, not necessarily a huge question to be answered. Cherita (the "Chut up!" girl) raised questions about her role by having Donny's name on her book and by appearing in the final denoumont scenes, but I think that can best be explained by her developing a crush on Donny, and being an important part of his self-discovery as a result. The often-mentioned scene of her sitting beneath the bronze dog... maybe that's just a pretty and affecting shot. We can't discount the idea that the creators put in a number of things which aren't directly significant but take on an appearance of significance, simply because they are unexplained. As Freud would say, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

And we can't forget the fact that the film is a constructed narrative; it's a story put together to describe an idea, to tell a point. Unlike many stories, this one was also constructed so as to encourage multiple interpretations; it was designed to be a little "muddy" and to provoke debate. In light of that, the creators would be pleased to find people arguing the significance of a note on the refrigerator, or the conditions of Donny's final repose.

Given all that, I think the interpretations that rely heavily on the PoTT book are probably the closest to "true." It is specifically mentioned that items (such as the plane engine) that travel through wormholes are "artefacts" that persist, unexplained and unexplainable, after the wormholes or rips in time that brought them from wherever (whenever?) are closed. So, judging by the prevalent theories, Donny closed the wormhole, or otherwise repaired the damage that would end the world, and then chose, for whatever reason, to get hit by the artefact that persisted afterward. Everybody who was significant in the alternate time loop woke up with dream-like premonintions of what the loop had been like, including those (like Frank) who had performed dual roles in the alternate time loop (the human, living boyfriend of Donny's sister, and Donny's enigmatic spirit-guide, post-gunshot).

One side note: besides its connections with Easter, I also find the rabbit-image interesting because of it's filmic comparisons (Watership Down was mentioned in the movie, and Frank plays a role not dissimilar to a menacing Harvey), and also its pop-culture reference: a talking bipedal rabbit that says things that you don't get, but the audience does, ought to be saying "What's up, Doc?"

Anyway, I think nobody's going to completely decode the movie, because there are elements that don't actually have referents to be decoded. But I think that the largest part of the necessary mystery-solving has already been done, at least in the broad sweeps. Well done, all!

I have to say, I chanced across this page just by noodling around, and I'm pleased to have done so!

It's dreadful, but I just can't seem to link the "figment" that is Frank the bunny, and Frank the human in a bunny costume with his friend the clown on halloween.
I've looked everywhere for some hint as to understanding this vital scene in this amazing movie, and I love all of Franks' scenes, but, also, in the beautiful shot of the movie theater when Frank appears, and removes the mask, perhaps I missed something, but what is wrong with his eye? Or he says, and I missed it.
I have no idea why this scene matters so much to me. . . but. . .

I may have missed this posted here, but what did Donnie say to the guy with the knife near the end? The guy asks what Donnie said, but it's still not clear. Anyone have any idea?

to me it sounded like he said "the axe was mine you know." but others say he says "deux ex machina" or soomething like that. then it sounds like he says "my saviour" or "i saved her". imnot too sure.

Heres some things that I dont really think are coincedental, and some are possible solutions if you don't like the superhero idea. First, Donald is known to mean ruler of the world, Frank comes from roots meaning free, Gretchen meaning pearl, and Gerald( the name Donnie decides to call himself when talking to Jim Cunningham) means spear carrier. Also, Jim Cunningham's initials are indeed JC, which may be religious commentary parodying a Christ figure. Could the whole story be a Smurfs playoff? Is it possible that Donnie represents the Smurf way of life, and that Frank is like Smurfette, sent by Gargamel to spy, but the overwhelming goodness of the Smurf way of life changed him. The 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes, and 12 seconds adding up to 88, along with the movie taking place in 1988, and the speed at which the car travels fast enough to go back in time in Back to the Future is 88 MPH, may very well play a role in the IMBD's naming of Donnie Darko as the 88th best movie of all time. Also, Cellar Door could be considered a riddle, when unscrambled to mean Recall Rood, which Jesus needed to do, as Biblically referenced, in order to save all of mankind, rood being the concept of the group being more important than the individual. The last concept is from early in the movie, when Frank wakes Donnie up, and says I've been watching you. I believe this is no coincidence especially when we see a skull in the eye poster Donnie has on his wall.

Two issues...

Have been searching the web for DD "stuff" and found an article discussing the re-release of DD as a "Director's Cut"... Has this happened? Still in the works?

Also... am having totally frustrating challenges with the DD website. When I try to get to level 2 or 3, I only get the red-black stripes in the lower right-hand corner, and the option "return to menu"... Am I doing something wrong? I can run thru all the stuff before that, but then get no-where.

Great site here. Am enjoying all the interpretations...


After hearing my friends discuss this movie endlessly, I finally got around to watching it. Obviously I enjoyed it, or else I wouldn't be writing this. Please excuse the spelling and grammatical errors (of which I'm sure there are many...i'm fairly excited about this and typing as the thoughts come out of my head, without review)

Anyway, I'm not sure how much of this has been discussed, but I think the movie has a very strong atheism theme in it. I agree with the majority of the posters that the film is primarily a study of predestination (typified by Thomas Aquinas-type theological thinking) vs. free will (atheism..although I would hesitate to say existentialism because the relationships between characters seem too important and the characters themselves seem to be too singular). To begin with, the religious overtones in the movie are largely satyrical. The mascot of the parochial school Donnie attends is a dog-faced man (i.e. dog-faced god, or a bronzen idol). Jim Cunningham's god-like figure is nothing more than a leper-massiah. The fear to love timeline seems to symbolizes a typical Christian life, born from evil and subsequently baptized, led through a linear life committed to ultimate salvation (via love of god).

There are subtler hints at satyre throughout the film. Note the "God is Awesome" t-shirt Kittie wears when she talks to Rose. Or how the school initials on the rooftop cross resemble the Roman "king of the Jews" sign during the crucifixion. Or how "The Last Temptation of Christ" gets second billing under the ridiculously campy (but thoroughly awesome) "Evil Dead." It implies that Jesus is as much a story as some Sam Raimy flick.

That said, I think the entire time travel idea (although open to several paradoxical arguments) is an allegory for stepping outside "God's stream." This is why Noah Wylie's character cannot talk with Donnie; they are discussing atheism and the disproof of God under the roof of a Christian school. There are several visual metaphors that hint at this "linear escape." When Donnie leaves his house before the engine accident, he walks through a visual tunnel of hedges that open into a V-shaped estuary with the street (where Frank awaits). There are several other scenes throughout the film that hint at this visual idea.

The one problem I have with the atheism theory is the character of frank, interestingly enough. If he is a " dead manipulator," then there is somekind of afterlife (remember, Frank appears post-gunshot, so he himself cannot be a timetraveler but rather a ghost?). Frank seems overtly religious in nature, yet he leads Donnie on a journey that transcends pre-destination.

Not tied to the remainder of my post, I have thought of two pressing questions.

1. who is the true manipulator? Is Donnie choosing his own death to save gretchen and his mother, or is frank steering donnie towards death to save himself. It seems that frank has the ability to control the linear timeflow of donnie's life by arranging the serendipitous events that lead to the climax of the film. and why gretchen? doesn't that make frank's plan more complicated?

2. if donnie dies, then he shouldn't die. to clarify, think of the film as a line of dominoes. donnie evading the jet engine is the first domino to fall, triggering every subsequent event leading up to, and including, his decision to go back in time and die. but if he does in fact die, then the events leading to his mother's plane flight do not occur. so does the flight that kills donnie occur? if it doesnt (because he is dead), then the causation of his death does not occur, and he DOESNT DIE.by choosing to die, he negates what will eventually kill him and he lives. (it is like saying that if you went back in time and killed your grandfather, then you would never be born; therefor, nobody would go back in time to kill your grandfather and you WOULD be born). while it is easy to assume the gym teacher would simply replace Rose on the flight and it would occur as normal, i tend to look at the flow of time like that old Bradbury story, where the death of a single butterfly in the past drastically alters every facet of the future.

Those are my thoughts. I've only watched the movie twice, to I could be fairly far off. I would love to hear everyone's ideas if anything I wrote is new here!

doron said "Yeah, off course, but my question is - why did frank pull donnie out of his room the night the engine crashed. To some extent he caused his own death by doing that. He could have left him there in the first place and everything would be the same. I don't buy the assumption that donnie sleepwalks anyway, cause it's fairly obvious that frank wakes him up, and donnie even says to his therapist that franks saved him.
My theory is that in order for the wormhole to appear, all of these conditions had to be met - gretchen and frank had to die (I don't think donnie's mom being on the plane is relevant. The only reason she goes is so donnie can have a party, and frank can go buy beer etc) for the world to end, so the wormhole would appear, and carry the engine back in time.
That's the paradox right there, how could the engine still fall on him, if all the conditions needed to make it happen, don't occur?"

Sorry to go back in time on this post. (pun intended) but as to the pardoxical problem posted, I had a thought that donnie didn't die as he was supposed to. he slept-walked. frank appeared to him; or appealed to him to look skyward, thus creating the wormhole in the first place. (just as many of you thought that a "dream world" was created, it was a tangent universe) donnie did actually do all of those things, but frank was showing him what it added up to. in the end donnie realizes the truth, and has the ability to go back and fix it all. thus the engine falling once when he was not there. he was meant to be by his own doing. the paradox is answered the moment its created.

Hello everyone. Forgive me if i bring something up that has already been mentioned.
First of all, you all got me thinking and brought up such intelligent points about the movie
I've only seen it twice so far, so my I'm not able to look to into the movie.

I have many unanswered questions about the movie but these are two points that I don't believe have been brought up.

Before hand, I'd like to say at this point I don't believe Donnie lived out his future but was shown it by Frank. Here's my first point to back it up:

At one point in the movie when Donnie was talking to his psychiatrist he told her that Frank showed him the future.

So, maybe when Frank called Donnie outside he looked up at the sky or whatever through a wormhole and saw what would happen if he continued his nightly sleep walk thing. (Because as we saw at the very beginning he was in a golf field because he had been sleepwalking..or he rode his bike..? And this was before he met Frank. We also learn from his mother that he does this many nights.."Where do you go at night?"

So, by Frank SHOWING him the future through the wormhole which the jet engine came through, Donnie proved to himself that he was loved..or something.. and he would die for the world..well, I guess Gretchen because he knew that he would love her. Also, his mother and sister wouldn't be on that plane.

Frank showed him the future because if Donnie lived then he would die.

When Donnie decided to go back in his house to die and we see him laughing maybe he's laughing because he....a) thinks that he himself is delusional and crazy to think that the world will end if he went on his usual sleep walk, or....b) thinks that is it ridiculous that he is going to save the world...there could be other possibilities

My other point:

If Frank hadn't came in the car Gretchen wouldn't have been killed and Donnie could have been killed...and Frank wouldn't have been shot...I don't know what I'm trying to show anyone here, I thought I was on to something at first but now that it's typed out it doesn't have any significance...I'll leave it anyway.

Okay, I have to add in another thing:

I guess I'm just questioning my own theory but...
How would Frank know that Donnie was going to kill him in the future? Did Frank accidentally see into the future through the opened up wormhole and came to Donnie's house after he disguised himself and showed him the future too?

One more thing:

On the topic of Donnie's little sister being on that plane, it's obvious why the mother wouldn't be, but another reason why his sister wouldn't be on the plane even if she did go could be because I think, and I'm not sure, but Donnie's mom had changed flight schedules...she left a message for Donnie and his sister during that party. I forget why she changed flights, but if the lady who was originally supposed to go with them did, then maybe she wouldn't have changed the flight.

That's all, well, that I will write for now. I'm not sure that anyone reads this anymore, but if anyone does, try clearing up my thoughts because I have no idea what I just wrote..

Have a nice day everyone!

lmfao! what the hell are these posts about? dont advertise here...ehh...what do I care?

whoa...I could've sworn that there were like 5 posts where people just advertised dental insurance and other crap. Was I hallucinating, or were they removed?

I agree with almost everything you've said jrau apart from Frank being god and that donnie was pulled out of gods path to make the decision for himself. Donnie was taken off his path because a tangent universe had already been opened up when Donnie went to meet Frank and so Frank lured him off his path to lead Donnie in to saving the world.
Also, the thing about Frank being god is not true. Frank is one of the manipulated dead from the future.

ok here are a few things i don't get. i'd appreciate if someone would give their opinion on them:

1.) Why did they keep on showing the fat girl?? She had no influence on Donnie's actions. What's the deal??

2.) In the very beginning of the movie, Donnie is lying on the road, where then he starts riding his bike back home. Is there an explaination for why he is sleeping on the middle of the road?

3.) What is the point of Frank/God telling Donnie to leave his room before the jet engine lands on him, knowing that Donnie living will cause an apocolypse? Why go through all that if Donnie was predestined to die anyway? That's much like doing a science experiment when you already know the conclusion.

4.) Why did Drew Barrymore's character (forgot her name) tell Donnie about the "cellardoor" when he went to Grandma Death's he didn't go into the cellar at all?

5.) k final mystery... why can't i get past level 3 on the DD official site?? no fair!! I've tried everything... please help!

anywayz Donnie Darko is truly da best and most confusing movie ever. But i'm sooooo glad that itz being re-released soon.

I've read a couple of comments about The Last Temptation of Christ. I noticed that when he went to the movies with Gretchen, up on the marquee when he was walking out it said that Evil Dead and The Last Temptation of Christ were playing. Does that mean anything?

Anyone ever think of the spiral in the center or the plane engine is all about?

Great interpretations everyone.


God let me re-word that

Does anyone know what the red spiral in the center of the plane engine is all about?

all you guys with your interpretations... have only watched movie once but maybe you should pay attention to certain themes in the film:
1. destruction is an act of creation
2. the ambiguity between love and fear
3. the 'interpretion scene'(or the smurfs) between the three friends - 'it's so logical' (what is the significance of sexual intercourse?


Can you please tell me why did he shoot him then? Because Donnie killed rabbit, he shot him in his eye and then we find out it's simply a human under that costume...It's a good interpretation, but I really want to know why did God let Donnie shoot him?

I know this might be a little disney, but what if:

Frank is Satan? Trying to bring about the destruction of the universe? Satan couldn't just end all of life, but he could change slight events and perhaps make it happen.

I know this might be lame, but with this idea is mind the movie does become about love overcoming evil. The director did say the movie was about love in the his director's cut press junket...

My first thought about the fat girl is she was Jesus or something. I have no evidence to point to, she just seems like a quiet suffering observer

In the movie there are many red herrings and hidden meanings. If anybody has been on a plane you may have noticed that in a vast majority of commercial jets there is a SPIRAL of some sort on the engine (in the middle of the fan bit).Richard Kelly highlights this in the movie to symbolize the fact that the engine had travelled through time through a vortex from a parallel universe.It merely emphazises this. Also there is not meant to be one straightforward meaning to this film as it is ambiguous and allows viewers to ponder over topics that may never be answered ( Is there a God?. The whole point of the movie is to open more peoples mind about possibilities that people may not have thought about before. Every single character in the movie (including the fat man watching Gretchen and Donnie kissing) has an impact on Donnie's decision.

I saw this movie a couple of days ago for the first time. After watching it the first time i realized that this was the best movie I've ever seen, however it was also the most confusing. I watched it 3 other times to try to figure out certain things. I agree with alot of your theories and some of them opened my mind to the possibility of certain things.

1. Why did God/Satan choose the form of Frank to talk to Donnie?

2. At the end of the movie, why show all those people faces, Jim Cunningham, Frank, Donnie's therapist, the chinese girl?
Was it because Donnie effected each of them and even though he dies they still have some memory of what he did?

3. Donnie had to know that Frank was going to kill someone, but did he know from the start that it was going to be Gretchin or did he find that out when he looked in to her "sphere" at the party?

Also, Does anyone know where I can find a "Frank" costume. That'd be awesome if I could get some help on that one. Just post a link if someone has it.

this comment is directed to the person who claimed to have worked on the donnie darko production (i think it was as choreographer) if he does still check this board. you said that everything about timetravel was added in afterwards to try and appeal to a certain crowd and hinted that you knew the true meaning of the film. please ellaborate, i'm interested to hear what you have to say. i would also be interested in what you have to say about the director, i have a feeling you don't care for him too much- since you posted on a fan board about him being a complete sell-out. i for one, adore this movie and think that anyone who can think up and produce a movie with this much creativity and originality in it would be a fool to change something just to suit someone else, which is why i question your statement and wonder about your motives. i await your reply.

you guys got some crazy imaginations. crazy in a good way. my only thoughts on the movie that haven't already been said are that first donnie breaks the water main, then burns down jim's house. water and fire...

you guys got some crazy imaginations. crazy in a good way. my only thoughts on the movie that haven't already been said are that first donnie breaks the water main, then burns down jim's house. water and fire...

i don't know if that has anything to do with anything but this is the greatest movie of all-time, excluding the comedy genre. although this film has some hilarious moments.

isnt the swirly thing in the middle of the plane engine said to be symobollic of middlesex descending into oblivion (the end of the world) as the spiral appears to do.
also is frank the bunny different from frank the human, and does the human know what he's doing?

One thing that always got me in this film...

Donnie: Why are you wearing that stupid bunny suit?

Frank: Why are you wearing that stupid man suit?

This might be some indication that Donnie really is a man in sonme sense of the word. Calling Cunningham the antichrist, he saw him for what he was, he definately didn't mean that Cunningham was the literal antichrist, but he was "evil" for running a kiddie porn ring.

Of course so many analogies could be made about this film, and I have so many I could write my own Donnie Darko book.

If I had more time I'd type more about what I thought was going on in the film, as it's one of my favourites and I love that the film didn't spoon-feed everything to the viewers like most films do these days..

Finally, a film intellectuals can enjoy. ^_^

P.S. No offense I didn't put my real email address, because that's how spam bots find email addresses from websites, I've had spam free web-based email for 3 years, and I'd like to keep it that way...lol.

I believe it has been mentioned before that the red swirl in the center of the plane engine means nothing. There is a red swirl in the center of most plane engines.
Every since I saw this movie for the first time about a year ago I have been picking up and reading about variace interpretations of the movie. One thing that I'm still not quite sure about is Frank the bunny. In the movie theatre, he demasks himself and you see that he was shot in the eye...does this mean that the Frank that is guiding Donnie throughout the movie is simply the same Frank that ran over Gretchen, but only after he was shot dead? I ask this becuase the Frank that ran over Gretchen seemed pretty clueless as to what was going on.

I suppose I'm just curious as to exactly what the origins of Frank the bunnyrabbit are, and how he knows so much to be guiding Donnie.

I haven't read all of the comments to this thread, so forgive me if this has been mentioned before.

I just had a couple of thoughts/ideas on some events in the film that could work if analyzing things with a religious perspective. For example, the school mascot, or mutt statue, that Donnie hits with the axe could be an allusion to the golden calf. This was the false idol that Moses' people built while he was away on top of the mountain receiving the Ten Commandments from God. Is this a stretch? Maybe.

As for the flooding of the school and burning down Cunningham's house, I think this could be a reference to the great flood (Noah's ark and all that) and the destruction of Soddom and Gammorah (sp?). In those events we see God using water and fire to rid the earth of evil. And where the flooding happens at the school, it could be seen as a commentary on the state of the education system in this country.

Anyway, just a few thoughts.

I don't know about that. It seems like a pretty big stretch. For the most part, I tend not to think of Donnie Darko as being a very religious based movie.

my take on frank was that when frank hits gretchen with the car..and gets out..he has never met donnie before or has no idea who he is he is just a teenage boy named frank dressed in a rabbit costume for halloween..in the car with his friend..then after donnie kills him he somehow goes back in time to help donnie ..maybe that was already obvious? i dunno..just saw the movie still figuring it out

I do think that Donnie is somewhat like a christ like figure in this movie. For instance, when Donnie and Gretchin walk out of the movies the camera moves up and focus's on the movie title...The Evil Dead and The Last Temptation of Christ.

Also if you have the dvd watch the deleted/extended scenes. When Donnie reads the poem to the class he makes himself sound like christ sacrificing himself so that no one will "see the monsters", then he goes on to say that no one will see the monsters except for him. When Christ died he was sent to Hell for a day or 3 days or something. And finally they show Donnie being impaled and it makes him look christ-like.

Wow, these interpretations you've all worked to come up with are impressive... well done. I agree with a lot of stuff that has been said, and it has steadily become one of my favorite films. It seems fairly irrelevant after reading all the above and I no longer really believe it, but i thought i'd share my original ideas with you, simply because they are different to any that i have read above:

Being un-religious and self-believing I never thought of any religious connections at first, although i do agree many are there. I saw the film as based on physics and science, or possibly related to a greater power i.e. the time travel and special powers e.t.c.

One thing that made clear sense to me at the time though, was that frank was a living representation of the guiding watery things that come out of the peoples chests, and so by shooting frank donnie strayed from the path he was on (as monitoff explains would be possible if you could see your predestined path), of the world coming to an end (as frank explains will happen), and so causes the engine to go back in time or whatever happens to save the world from destruction. Obviously there are parts that don't quite fit in with this theory, but try watching it with this in mind, it's fun. That's the beauty of this film, every time you hear a new theory you can watch it in a different way.

I understand that this film is very paradoxial and is VERY open to interpretation, but now i've kinda sorted my idea out a bit i guess it could stand as one reasonable interpretation... but yeah, i think i'll go and watch it again now! well done once again xx

yo yo, in addition to my post above, i have some things to add after watching the film again.

-Frank is the living representation of the watery spheres because he shows donnie what to do, the path he must walk to cause the end of the world perhaps and even pulls him out of bed in the first place (although this MAY not fit well with the philosipy of thime travel?). So things to support that Frank is trying to bring about the end of the world are - he begins the chain; he mentions seemingly evil/selfish things such as "i can do anything I want;" and even the horn beep telling donnie to get out (maybe causing the chain again?).
- with this in mind I would also continue to say that Gretchen and all the other manipulated are trying to steer donnie towards the sacrifice, to stop the end of the world, to save everyone that inevitably dies in the chain of events. Perhaps his sphere thingy is doing the same as it points to the gun that donnie shoots frank with? evidence to support this are - Gretchen asking if they could go back and replace all hurt with something better, e.t.c. and scenes like those in the therapy sessions. This could explain why gretchen & the mother share a connection, they have helped save the world.
- the "smurf" scene basically presents donnie's choice/situation - "what's the point of living, if you don't have a dick?" asks a question of whether we are just following our instincts through a pointless life (destroy the world), or if there is something more/beyond (don't).

Some other points which aren't so closely related to this theory but are still valid:
-Steven King... Steven Hawking... any relation/connections?
-Strong fear/love theme throughout (touched on by others), Fear=destroy world, love=sacrifice for loved ones. Also note that Donnie & Gretchen's times of great love happen at times of great fear.
-Grahme Greene's short story - "thay just want to see what happens when they tear the world apart" - could this be tempting donnie to do this himself?
-Stabbing Frank in the eye in the bathroom could be a prelude to shoting, maybe donnie knows subconciously what will follow (especially after theatre scene).
-As Roberta Sparrow wrote POTT, and she is waiting for the letter from donnie, could him sending her the letter perhaps cause the wormhole? maybe... it is the last ting we see as the scenes flow backwards.
-Also, in the backwards part we see a scene of donnie and Gretchen posting the letter to RS, but this is not in the actual film. An outtake/directors cut only scene?

well that's about it. agree/disagree/something to add (if anyone still reads this...) MAN xx

Another thing to add to this whole Donnie being the new-age Christ.

For anyone who has the dvd should look at the art gallery and you will see a sketch of Frank's head and then directly under it says "God loves his children"

Even the director in the commentary doesn't give a clear answer to questions. "They" could be something no one knows about, but because of the art gallery it leads me to believe that "They" is God/Angels/etc.

Somebody asked "Why choose Donnie out of all the other people?" I dont know. Why did God choose Jesus to save mankind? Donnie was his choice which is kind of ironic b/c he does all the things you think Christ wouldn't do...smoke, curse, fuck, etc.

I still don't understand why Gretchen waves to Donnie's mother at the end of the movie. Also, why is the mother portrayed in such an odd light?; the rest of the family is crying over Donnie's death, and the mother is just standing there smoking (up until this point, the audience has never seen her smoking). Does this have any significance to when Donnie bummed a cigarette off his friends at the bus stop earlier in the movie?
My interpretation is the following:
What we are seeing in the movie is actually the second time through. Meaning, all the events in the movie had already taken place, up until the point where Gretchen gets killed and Donnie kills Frank. Then Frank (as a dead spirit still in his bunny outfit from his last moment alive) needs to redeem his sin (killing Gretchen) and comes back to lead Donnie to his decision to go back in time and kill himself in order to save everyone else. Wait, I think I just confused myself...

Gretchin waves to Donnie's mom b/c now that everyones back in the "normal universe" they still have a very vague memory of what happened. "Like when you wake up from a dream and you remember it so clearly, but then it starts to fade." The quote is something like that. Cause not only Gretchin remembers but everyone that Donnie affected...Cunningham, Frank, Mrs.Farmer, Science/English teacher.

god its such an amazing film and all these interpretations are a huage mind blow. some one please please explain in stupid people terms why frank even botherse donnie in the first place cos surely itd all have stayed the same and noone would have died and so on. who was on the plane the first time the engine thing came off at the start of the movie? i mean who with any significance. sorry for lack of sense :)

I don't know for sure, but I assume that the reason Frank pulled him out in the first place was b/c 1. he needed someone to put the artifact back in place and 2. to affect all those people because they all remember what happened in the trasendent universe.

yeh i really dont get the whole other universes thing. artifact? oh god. the website is no help either but the film is too great. someone explain these two universes and manipulated dead and so on. pleass :)

Living Receiver = Donnie Darko
Manipulated Dead = Frank
Manipulated Living = Everyone else in the movie
Artifact = Plane Engine

Ok, when the movie first starts off we see the world as it is in the Primary/Normal Universe. It is not until the plane engine travels through a portal back in time that we enter the Tangent Universe. The Tangent Universe is a parallel universe created when an artifact enters the Primary Universe. They are very unstable and may only support themselves for a month before collapsing upon themselves, thus obliterating the entire universe as we know it. Hence "28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes, 12 seconds. That is when the world will end." Now, it is Donnie's job as the Living Receiver to basically save the universe by returning the artifact back to its own point in time...in this case back to the future where it came from. He can't, however, do this by himself. It takes the guidance of the Manipulated Dead (Frank). The Manipulated Dead may travel back in time, or forward in time in order to contact the Living Receiver. The Manipulated Dead, being every other character in the entire movie, have one sole purpose...to guide Donnie on the path that he will innevitably take. If one will notice while watching the movie, every single thing that Frank tells Donnie to do have some affect in the movie. For example, Frank telling Donnie to flood the school eventually leads to Donnie meeting Gretchen...which is the only reason Donnie kills Frank in the first place - if Donnie did not kill Frank, then he would not be dead, and therefore would not be the Manipulated DEAD.
Anyway, I honestly cannot explain the happenings of the entire movie, because that would take a very very long time to do. But just keep in mind that EVERYTHING Frank tells Donnie to do has some affect one way or another. In addition, keep in mind that Living Receivers, Manipulated Dead, Manipulated Living, and Artifacts only exist in the Tangent Universe soley for the reason the Tangent Universe exists.

I hope that this did not confuse anyone further than they already may be, but keep in mind that this is a very difficult subject to write about. I also recommend reading the character Roberta Sparrow's book "The Philosophy of Time Travel". It is very helpful.

I think that Donnie Darko is one of the greatest movies ever made. It is by far my favorite. Alot of the symbolism is hard to follow but on the dvd comentairy it explains almost everything. So if u havent watched it you should.

Ryan- that was incredibly helpful and well explained. god its a good film.thank you again. many sparkles

wow....so many theories...here are some questions i had:
At the end of the movie when Dr. Therman calls the Darkos what exactly is it that she has realized?
Something i also noticed was during the coarse of the movie Franks's voice changed.
Here is one thing you need to take into account. almost everything in the movie happened for a reason: to help Donnie eventually send the jet engine back through the portal and retutrn the world to normalicy. When the school floods, it enables Donnie to meet Gretchen. When he burns down Cunningham's house he exposes him forcing Donnie's mother to go with the Sparkle Motion girls. This allows Donnie and his sister to throw the party, leading to the other events that occur...they all occur for a reason

when Frank dies in the tangent universe he is sent to hell because he died right after murdering Gretchen. Then when he comes back he is possessed by the devil, therefore is trying to get Donnie to do evil, and not save the world. When Gretchen dies she goes to heaven and therefore has a positive influence on Donnie and helps him do the right thing. What do you all think of that theory?

hey i loved the movie and i was wondering if anybody knew any movies similar to it that i might like. Movies along the same lines as DD...if u know any that are like this one please tell me...THANKS

Just one thing that I've not seen mentioned so far
At the end when everything is going in reverse, has anyone noticed the shot of Donnie and Gretchen leaning over looking in Grandma Death's mailbox? This never actually happened in the movie. It has to be a clue to some degree,don't you think. Just thought I'd mention it.

Can ne body tell me where to find the font used in the begging of the movie where it says Donnie Darko? or where i can find it?

I do not know where you can find it, but I did notice that director Richard Kelly mentioned the name of the font at the beginning of the movie in the DVD Commentary. Although I don't know how it's spelled, its at least pronounced Harrem. Its an Arabic looking font, so you could probably try fonts like New Arabic or something like that (if such a font exists).

oO()Oo...I've read your interpretation of Frank and Gretchen and I disagree completely. Frank did not go to hell...mainly becuase no where in the movie did it give any such hint that he may have. Him running over Gretchen was actually the best thing that could have happened!, because that ultimately lead to the saving of the universe. In addition, you are also quite wrong about him being possessed by the Devil when he comes back and talks to Donnie. You are wrong becuase if you will notice, everything that he tells Donnie to do contributes (once again) to the salvation of the universe. That is WHY he contacts Donnie in the first place! He's the Manipulated Dead...and his job is to guide Donnie in the Tangent universe so that he may save the Primary Universe from collapsing upon itself. If anything, Frank is more of a God-like figure in the movie, and I would love to hear from anyone who disagrees. Lol Thank You.

first off did the colors of this site change? or maybe its just me.. to me it seems that frank isnt the devil or ne thing but just represents anything bad in general and that donnie is just representing good and its just a struggle of the all too familiar good vs. evil is ne body elses favorite part in the movie where the family is sitting arround the dinner table and donnie and his sister are argueing and the little girl says "whats a fuck ass" great part

Many people have asked why Ms. Sparrow keeps looking into her mailbox...i think it has to do with her book. As i was reading the passage from it online, it starts out with her saying : This intent of this book is for it to be used as a simple and direct guide in a time of great danger.

I pray that this is merely a work of fiction.

If it is not, then I pray for you, the reader of this book.

If I am still alive when the events foretold in these pages occur, then I hope that you will find me before it is too late.

...So, I think she's looking in her mailbox to maybe get a reply from her "readers" letting her know what's going on. I may be way off, but who knows?

The Manipulated Dead are more powerful than the Living Receiver. If a person dies within the Tangent Dimension, they are able to contact the Living Receiver through the Fourth Dimensional Construct.

The Fourth Dimensional Construct is made of Water.

The Manipulated Dead will manipulate the Living Receiver using the Fourth Dimensional Construct (see Appendix A and B).

The Manipulated Dead will often set an Ensurance Trap for the Living Receiver to ensure that the Artifact is returned safely to the Primary Universe.

this could also help explain Frank in my opinion, but i'm still lost to as how the time travel works
The book also states that the Living Man. will awaken after it all happens and some will remember it as a bad dream, that may explain why Frank has that dazed look at the end of the movie, maybe because of how Donnie saved everyone, Frank was moved into the Living instead of the Dead.

i thought that none of the characters were meant to be inherently good or evil (see donnies reaction to the fear/love timeline). But that they were all meant to be instruments of God (even Jim Cunningham).
I thought that the whole tangent universe was created by God so as to ensure that Donnie dies not feeling alone in the universe(therefore Divine Intervention enables the time travel. A Miracle). However, in order for the whole rest of the universe not to end, the tangent universe had to be collapsed again. Donnie et als actions are directed so that Donnie has these realisations and also realisises that he has to take the ultimate unselfish(and quasi christ like)action in forfilling his destiny to collapse the tangent universe and therefore die.

I thought the film was definitly trying to steer away from clearcut definitions of good/evil.But it was quite overtly religious. You could say it was kind of like proof of god.hmmmm....

anyway, the one bit that I did not understand was why, if both Frank and gretchen died, did frank come and talk to him in visions, and gretchen didn't?
Maybe cos she influenced him in the right way during her life? i dunno, any ideas?

About the spiral, 88's and things to ponder:

(I'm no numerologist so pardon any incongruencies here)

Did anyone see Darren Aronofsky's film "Pi"? I can't spout all the religious ramifications of that film accurately, but it revealed something about spirals occurring everywhere in nature and having to do with Fibonnachi numbers and God. So it may be overthinking things but the spiral on the plane's fusilage (or whatever that part was) may be a clue to unraveling some of the mysteries therein.

And it's probably just a funny little coincidence that Quentin Tarantino names O-Ren-Ishi's gang "The Crazy 88's".

What's more, the decision to put Frank in a large, creepy bunny suit can't be a random call, because there are too many references to rabbits in one way or another. Examples: Frank appears almost every time before or after Donnie pops a pill (albeit a placebo)=Alice in Wonderland taking a pill to make herself small or large=The White Rabbit; numerous references to f**king=expression 'to f**k like rabbits'; and the big whopper in the movie itself, 'Watership Down' as the book of choice to replace what Drew's character was fired for teaching in her class.

Finally, is it possible that there is no such thing as good versus evil? If the FEARLOVE spectrum is too black and white, too simplistic, then good and evil have no place in Darko's world either. The choice becomes based on feeling alone, whether we want to do something or not versus why we should or shouldn't do so. Which ultimately boils down to free will, which was a big point in the last temptation of christ, which begs the question "How FREE is free will?"

As Christ says to Pilate, "I am the truth." Pilate responds, "What is truth?" If "Donnie Darko" is supposed to be some treatise on [organized] religion, or on God or the Bible for that matter, then it poses serious questions about free will versus predestination and causality.

I think time travel is actually a secondary plot twist to the overt symbolism, but it doesn't make the film any less engrossing.

the reason why she keeps checking her mail box is because shes waiting on the letter from donnie darko and if shes not in the middle of the road then frank wont have to swerve and hit grechin its all part of a plan. thats just her part and she knows it.

I was just wondering if anyone knew where I could find Frank's rabbit costume...
So... yeah...
If anyone knows, e-mail me back...


Well, I'm not sure if anyone reads this thread anymore, because it's really long and I don't know how old it is. But, I finally watched DD last night with my friend who is absolutely in love with the movie. And at the end, we were talking about interpretations and she had said that some people interpret the movie theater scene as Donnie being Christ. Donnie says, "Why are you wearing that stupid bunny suit?" and Frank replies with, "Why are you wearing that stupid man suit?" Donnie chuckles. She (my friend) had said that people believed that comment to represent Donnie being the Christ.

I didn't know if anyone else agreed with this or wanted to read this point of view. I think I'd have to agree that this conversation between the two would have to represent something dealing with Jesus-like Donnie.

Just some comments...if you have any for me, just e-mail me at: peanutstastegood@yahoo.com ,because i may not remember to check this thread. Thanks.

Just saw DD for the first time last night. CONFUSED. But I read over the last one and a half years worth of comments and disagree with Frank being some good guy who helps Donnie. If Frank was a good guy when why did he wake Donnie and lead him out of the house in the first place? Which would be pointless for Frank to have led Donnie down/through the crazy path he take. Hope I'm making sense and feel free to disagree- g'night everyone!

OK, this is my interpretation of what happened and i think it solves most questions. As we know the Fourth Dimension of time is not inpenetrable but rarely is it penetrated, right? thats how the artifact has traveled to another universe. thats another thing i believe, there are MANY universes and the only way a tangent universe can occur is when an ACTUAL universe becomes unstable. how can it become unstable? look at it like this, we realize from the DD website that the plane engine(the artifact) is identical to an engine that already exists in the universe it crashed into. thats what causes the unstability, you cant have 2 of the same objects exist in one universe! thats why at the end donnie is pulling off the engine of the airplane and sending it through a portal. he has to get rid of one of the engines to make everything right and stable again. even though it isnt the SAME one that came through, it still makes everything equal in the end. I believe that the tangent universe is created solely to try and fix the error that the artifact has made and that from the beginning of the movie Donnie was supposed to die; but with the tangent universe being created he was chosen to be the savior. Frank did NOT choose him though because if Donnie had died, Frank would still be alive and not able to go back in time as the Manipulated dead. Thats also why i believe donnie is laughing at the end because he knows that he is supposed to die but he also knows that he has saved everyone and "everything is going to be ok."

gotcha. but what do ya think about the 2 engines in one universe, the more i think about it the more it sounds right but i'd like to have another opinion. thanks.

great comments every1! i think r.kelly wanted the movie to reflect to all sorts of people wethr religous or not...yes the movie can be explained by the philosophy of time...but science cannot explain the religous hints...4 example - wen donnie leaves the movie theater it suddenly says" the last temptation of christ" the movie based on the novel...tells us of jesus', being tempted by the devil, whilst on the cross, brused abusaed -basically about to die the most horrific death-the devil then shows jc the other option...to have a wife a family... anormal life with out the burden of the world's sin ...jesus chooses to resist his last temptation , insted he will die for the sake of man kind...because of that donnie darko to me , is a movie about our choices, God gave donnie the choice, he could choose to live- lose his love and family...or to die being luved and not a lone...God gave us free will, and opertunities to make choices, and he wants to let us choose the right path.hmmmm

The guy in the red jogging suit is an FAA guy who is watching Donnie (and probably his family too). If ya look close at the end you can see the him dressed in a black suit along with the rest of the FAA guys and you might be able to spot him also in the beginning when the engine first lands in the bedroom (not at that moment, of course, but the following day).

I think the reason they are watching Donnie and his family is because they are just making sure that they aren't telling anyone about whats going on with the jet engine (remember they had to sign a form in the beginning and the dad states later on that they aren't supposed to talk about it).

Thank you,Landen-I think you're right-now I have to figure out how to inform the really smart guy that his whole"jogging suit guy is really donnie" theory is wrong. Much appreciated,sir

i don't have time to read all the comments so ill be back, but do people notice how frank the bunny has a red eye. Its as though frank is the guy(the one who ran over gretchen at the end) who got shot by donnie, he gets shot in the eye and the whole time donnie is visited by the bunny frank, it has this bullet wound.

i think donnie is schizophrenic but i think what happens is his schizophrenia is bought on by the events that happen to him in the movie and that while we watch the events unfold for us that really donnie is just reliving them via his delusional state?
i will come back later and read, am short of time now.

what about Donnie's inner journey? His inner thoughts, turmoil, visions, realsiation etc.
It's so easy to get carried away with the plot (understandable), but by doing this we forget about the characters, and the significance of their journey throughout the film.
Wonder if anyone has any thoughts on this?

i have an idea, and i could be totally off, but i would just like to run this by you guys and you can tell me what you think. could it be that donnie does die in the beginning, but the movie that we see is like what gretchen says about going back and replacing all the sadness with beauty. donnie had a pretty sad existance to begin with, and if he died that night it would have been very tragic, because he lived an unfulfilled life. but by having all those things "happen" to donnie- getting the girl, standing up to authority (ms. farmer and cunningham), having that talk with him mom, learning about time travel and grandma death,- it seems like he was able to connect with more people and live a more fulfilled life, which is why he able to laugh before rolling over in bed and accepting his fate. i know i didn't explain that the best, but any thoughts on that?

this is in response to somethign said by landen, jim cunningham IS involved in kiddie porn, as is shown in a deleted scene where we find that he has killed himself after waking up. if you watch deleted scenes the movie is a little easier to understand, the director cut those scenes so that we would have to figure more out on our own, so it is helpful. another thing that is helpful is to watch the dvd with commentary, it explains some stuff that you wouldn't otherwise know. for instance, he wrote all that stuff about the "artifact" and the "manipulated dead" after the fact to try to make some sense out of what happened in the story... the truth is that that isn't really what he wrote the story around, but he was afraid people wouldn't respond well if they weren't given some sort of explanation.

I had similar thoughts about the director creating rules and stuff to explain the plot but i wasn't sure if it were right; thanks for clarifying it. It was like once i figured out the plot and then looked back at the so called "manipulated living/dead" and the rest of those terms they really became quite useless. You realize that they were there only as guidelines to help you "get it" and once you do, they are, in fact, unnecessary.

The part about cunningham though was just a guess for me; i figured he might had killed himself b/c the weight of that "past experience" would have really gotten to him, but i think your right. Thanks.

This has probably been said before, but I really cant be bothered to red every single post, I did manage to read about a tenth of it though, anyway………if Donnie had stayed in bed at the beginning he would have died, yeah……just like he did at the end of the film, and all the crap that happened while he was alive wouldn’t of happened, obviously that’s the whole point, but why did frank lure out of the bed in the first place, because the engine was gonna fall anyway, no matter what, and Donnie had to die, so why did frank lure him out, just get him to kill himself in the end, so if frank hadn’t of got him out of bed none of the crap after would of happened…….but I’m glad it did, because it made for a darn good watch…….

: http://www.faceparty.com/punkijoe

Okay…….now………this film is about time travel…..right, but there are different theories on the idea that time and space being in tangent, (stop me if I’m going too fast), and you don’t need a degree in quantum physics to have a theory, weather it be something simple like, ‘ the butterfly effect’ or something a little bit more complicated and layered like ‘Bill and Ted’, if we think about time travel, we think about it in our own way, so we have our own theories, and they all have different rules to follow. Some people may have the same theories fed to them through another medium or ones that are similar, but different theories have different rules, and this film has different rules to what I perceive what might happen if one were to travel in time, and that’s why I do not fully understand it, and may be the reason others do not as well. I’m not going to go into my theory of time travel, nor will I relate it to this film,,,, but only because it makes my head hurt. I have just except the fact that I will never understand it, for the above, and instead of trying to relate my ideas to that of the film, I’m just gonna play Grand Theft Auto ‘San Andreas’……


Okay…….now………this film is about time travel…..right, but there are different theories on the idea that time and space being in tangent, (stop me if I’m going too fast), and you don’t need a degree in quantum physics to have a theory, weather it be something simple like, ‘ the butterfly effect’ or something a little bit more complicated and layered like ‘Bill and Ted’, if we think about time travel, we think about it in our own way, so we have our own theories, and they all have different rules to follow. Some people may have the same theories fed to them through another medium or ones that are similar, but different theories have different rules, and this film has different rules to what I perceive what might happen if one were to travel in time, and that’s why I do not fully understand it, and may be the reason others do not as well. I’m not going to go into my theory of time travel, nor will I relate it to this film,,,, but only because it makes my head hurt. I have just except the fact that I will never understand it, for the above, and instead of trying to relate my ideas to that of the film, I’m just gonna play Grand Theft Auto ‘San Andreas’……


got some cool new pics, if any one wants to check them out

Donnie Darko is all about trapped minds - the manipulated living. Basically in a nut shell, Donnie sees through society. (e.g. thinking Jim Cunningham is the 'antichrist', meaning a person who drags down the people around him (in this case into blind stupidity). It's about how people act, how Donnie reacts to it and his decision to 'go back in time' and change things. Richard Kelly is a smart man.

by the way, think of the artifact as a gift of great knowledge/wisdom, after having the great knowledge/wisdom for a month, you get the choice to go back and be killed rather than live with it.

Alright, honestly .. I'm getting pretty tired of some of you people's ridiculous theories. Yeah, this is a movie that Kelly intended to have more then one interpretation, but, come on. If you go through the DonnieDarko.com website, and read the Philosophy of Time Travel, then you'll understand exactly what happens. Maybe not exactly, but you'll get most of what's going on.

First of all, the Tangent Universe was created with the fact that the jet engine came into Donnie's world. What some of you idiots think, is that the Tangent Universe is created because Donnie didn't die. Wrong. Donnie was never meant to die. The jet engine appears because of a corruption, not a wormhole. Meaning, there is no reason whatsoever for it's appearence. Example, you drop a fork, it hits the ground. The reason the fork hit the ground is because you dropped it. The engine had NO reason for being there. Because of this, the universe will be destroyed. Not just Donnie's world, but the entire world will be destroyed. Now, what Donnie does, is he gives the jet engine a reason for appearing in the past, thus erasing the corruption. It didn't have a reason before, now it does, everything is good. Donnie didn't have to die in order to save the universe, it just fits in with the fact that ' All Living Recievers die', which comes from the Time Travel book.

Secondly, if you haven't seen the extended/deleted scenes, then you can't make a valid theory. Whichever idiot that came up with the idea that Frank is Satan, should be shot. Frank is not Jesus, nor is he God, but he is being manipulated by the Manipulator, (Which we can assume is God). How can we assume this? Simple, in the extended scene of Donnie's first meeting with Frank, on the golf course, Frank tells Donnie that ' God loves all his children '. Kelly left this out because he felt that it's telling the audience exactly who is manipulating Frank, instead of it being open for interpretation. So, whichever idiot said Frank is Satan, stop being dumb.

Thirdly, I recalled someone earlier asking why the people at the end wake up looking like they remember what happened. Again, read the book. Those people were the ones being manipulated into forcing Donnie into ultimately making the right decision. The book said that sometimes, or most of the time, the ones being manipulated usually have a terrifying dream and they recall what happened. That's why Dr. Thurman woke up so troubled, why Dr. Monitoff couldn't sleep. It's ESPECIALLY why Frank decides to rub his right eye, because he remembers being shot. It's why Cunningham is sobbing, because maybe he realizes what he's doing is wrong, or knows he's going to be caught, thus resulting in him killing himself. Kitty wakes up and puts her hand to her mouth, recalling what happened.

Fourthly. Donnie never travled through time. At first I thought he did too, because of when he hopped back into the family car, looking at Gretchen. Add the fact that he asked the teacher if a time machine could be anything, like a Delorian, a car that was used for Time Travel in ' Back to the Future', I thought he used the car to travel back in time. This wasn't the case. Being the Living Reciever, Donnie used his powers of telekinesis and the manipulation of water. He used the telekinesis to rip the jet engine from the plane his mother and sister were on, and the manipulation of water to create the wormhole, sending it back in time, thus giving it a reason for appearing. He hopped in the car, simply to look at Gretchen, realizing that this may very well be the last time he ever sees her.

When we see Donnie laughing in the end, it could be for a number of reasons. My favorite, is that he, along with the Manipulated, recalls everything that happened in the Tangent Universe, and he is now relieved, because ' there will be so much to look forward to '.

isn't it reasonable that this have nothing to do with god and thinks like that. that this happends all the time that there could also be made a movie of frank (at the character as donnie)that the path donnie had to follow is the path that was needed for frank to die. or some like it.

im so freakin lost on the webpage and its really bothering me....please help! where the hell do i go when im looking at the philosophy of time travel book in order to get to the next level...ahhh this is killin me lol im so stupid haha

After watching the movie i was extremely confused, yes alot of wierd things added up to make you trip out and think. But there is one basic flaw with the story line. Einstein him self stated in his theories that nothing could actually travell faster then the speed of light, and in Donnie's talk with his teacher to go back in time you would need a vessel cappable of speeds faster then light. This makes me wonder how he went back in time. Yes the jet engine is the supposed answer but it would never reach those kinds of speeds due to the fact that anyhting falling in our atmosphere has a certain speed at which can no longer accelerate. I agree the movie was quite interesting and had some metaphores but essentially made no sense and was probably made for acid freaks and shroom lovers!

hey, just been reading lots of the posts and very fascinating as i was very lost-ive just got one point that i havnt seen anybody pick up on-

-at the end of the film you see a quick compilation of what has happened, and i am sure part of it shows donnie making a choice whether or not to take his medication the night of the plane engine hitting the house? which would mean he sees frank and thus leaves his room or he simply stays in bed-i know people have said that his drugs were placebos but placebos still have great effect and perhaps him thinking he hadnt taken them would cause his mental visions?!?i dont know what it all means but i just thought i would put it down!

We are predestined. We have the free will to choose but we will choose sin everytime because we are fallen.
Only God can enable us to choose him. It's a matter of grace.

1 you can't have a given that is a hypothesis.
2 Donnie's sanity is the least important part of the movie. whether or not he would be judged as insane in a court of law=, or anywhere else is not the best place to focus our attention
3 Frank works for God. he can't BE God, he has a lineage of franks, and because he's an actualy person, a living dead guidance councelor if you will.
4 The Artifact (ENGINE) is a mistake, it is actually tearing the fabric of space-time because it shouldn't exist. It's like back to the future, wher you can't see yourself, but more-so. Theoretical physics meets theology at this point, kiddies.
However, Had you made that an essay, it could have been well constructed and formed. I dissagree with your views on almost all of it, and if you ever get the time to see the directors cut you would have a more difficult time defending your statements.
"I'm not going to be able to continue this conversation"
"I could loose my job"
just say ok

what if frank had just let donnie stay in his room and die. what would have happened?

Great movie! Just saw it today. Late to the scene I know.

Well here's my first two cents on aspects of the film:

Frank is truth. He is the one that gets Donnie started on his journey of enlightenment. He never misleads Donnie. He reveals to Donnie that there is more to the world than what Donnie currently perceives. To be frank is to be truthful. "I will show you the way"

Notorious was released in the 90's but somehow SparkleMotion is dancing to it in 1988. There is more wrong with time than falling jet engines.

Frank blinded (albeit in one eye) - see no evil.
Chenita with ear muffs - hear no evil - chut up!
Roberta Sparrow - speak no evil (we never do hear her voice in the movie).
Not yet sure of the significance of this - can anyone help out?

So many more thoughts and ideas but so few brain cells.

I'm never going to be able to read the whole thing, but reading what the first interpretation says, even if all the things that happened are mistake and Darko should have died when the engine fell to this bed, what's with the end and the whole plane thing with his mother and Samantha? I mean he could have thought of the whole thing but the timeframe of the plane failure doesn't make sense either. The plane was on daylight, but the original 'jet-to-darko's bed' thing was on the night. What does the whole Darko driving and the small tornado on Darko's residence? confused....

The engine was ripped off the plane on Oct. 31, it fell thru Donnie's house on Oct. 2. It went thru a wormhole (the "tornado"); therefore, it went back in time, so it doesn't necessarily have to hit the house within the same time of being ripped off the plane, since it's not even in the same universe.
Hope that clears some things up.

i didnt take time to read this whole thing but tell me what you think of this.
you know how basically the whole movie is donnie in the alternate universe. do you think that the whole time he was in the alternate universe was only a few seconds on earth? and the reason that he NEEDED to go the alternate universe and go through those events was so that way when he died he wasn't ALONE or confused, and he could die having his life figured out?

let me know what you think, or if this is even makes sense.

can anyone tell me all the stuff i need to du to get to reading the book on the donnie darko website?

can anyone tell me all the stuff i need to du to get to reading the book on the donnie darko website?

I just found this site because I was thinking if my interpretation jived with any available either from professional reviewers or anyone with perspicacity. I believe I understand the meaning in the movie that makes the most sense. I say "makes the most sense" because if the movie is just a complex puzzle for you to figure out, and to be proud of yourself for being so smart, does it really matter? No. It's just gives you some sort of "gee, I'm so clever" satisfaction. So if you focus on whether it's a dream, a fantasy, a hallucination, or whatever, you are going down the wrong road, my friend, because SO WHAT? But, if the movie has significance and value, its interpretation should involve something that helps you or me or anyone understand the purpose of one's life during our brief stay on this planet. Otherwise, it's just becomes a "brain teaser." You might as well buy one of those dopey books like MENSA publishes. Thus, the interpretation, for me came to me because I figured the movie was trying to teach us something profound about ourselves, and what is required to live a good life during our brief stay on this planet. Now, as to my specific interpretation, and HOW the movie tells us this, is what the movie is about. I'll explain it as simply as possible if anyone here wants to e-mail me because to tell the truth, I work about 12 hours a day, every day, and I am going to take a nap now.


Hey, ummm i have a question. why is everyone crying, or awake at the end ? Do they remember what happend ? expecally the mom. I have this werid feeling that she didnt exactly know what was going on but had umm like a six sense or a werid feeling. Remember she said that "ever sense that engine crashed things have been stragne around here" *quote not exact but close* when talking to Mrs. Farmer or w/e her name is. im probley way off but i thought maybe someone could help me.

Everyone is awake at the end because they have all waken up to this dream of donnie. they all saw the story and see there role in this youngman saving them. I think his mother is just to overwelmed to really have as many emotions as the rest of the family crying because donnie died. Great interpretations everyone..i will eventually read them all, but it deff. made me think more about the movie.

Everyone is awake at the end because they have all waken up to this dream of donnie. they all saw the story and see there role in this youngman saving them. I think his mother is just to overwelmed to really have as many emotions as the rest of the family crying because donnie died. Great interpretations everyone..i will eventually read them all, but it deff. made me think more about the movie.

i am not a christian, but a muslim, so i kind of understand a lot of christian belief (but i dont believe that jesus is gods child, but a major propjet and the messiah) for a different view, maybe frank is jesus, and donnie represents humanity. Jesus came to save humanity, so frank saved donnie. At the end, when donnie kills frank for another reason that opposes god somehow (?), time goes back and donnie dies, representing the fall of humanity in Gods eyes

The view of frank being satan is plausible, frank trying to make donnie keep the world running, opposing god, who is trying to create judgement day, and donnie finds that it must happen.

doesnt make sense but its cool

I will throw my card onto the table. The movie was left ambiguous for a reason: to let the viewer come to his or her own conclusion as to what it all means. On the surface it is quite obviously one persons quest to form a solid idea on God/religion/existance. Donnie is troubled that death will leave him eternally alone.

He tells the psychiatrist that he "doesn't debate it anymore" (God's existance, or non-existance) because it will never get him anywhere. Which is the same thing I'm sure that comes across many an open persons' mind. You can't prove or disprove the existance of God, with science or religion. The book "The Philosophy of Time Travel" itself symbolises perhaps Donnie's mix of scientific knowledge (he is obviously very intelligent, and knows a good deal of science, perhaps) and philosophy, to reach his own conclusion.

Throughout the movie he is scared and feels alone. Finally at the end he finds *his* (I stress the word his because it is the conclusion he reached, which can be considered to be right or wrong by many people, and endlessly debated, because it cannot be proved or disproved) answer. He breathes a sigh of relief before he dies because he is sure that everything is going to be ok.

The world did come to an end. Donnie's world. But it's ok, because he knows hes not alone.

What I drew from the movie is that existance is subjective. An answer for one is not the answer for another. Which somewhat pokes a jab at organized religion, they try to solve everyone's problems with one person's answer, which is why it is inherently flawed. The world exists in YOUR mind, find YOUR answer, not someone elses. Most of them lack foundation and end up being just a charade. Like Jim Cunningham's "Love --- Fear" garbage. You might feel like it's "The answer" but look at the gym teacher, she's clearly not happy, she hasn't found her personal enlightenment.

I won't get into the mechanism of how Donnie goes forward in time blah blah blah, that's all explained by "The Philosophy of Time Travel." *How* he does it isn't important, the reason why he does it, is, or at least to me.

As for the satire, I would look at it on the surface as pointing out the hipocrisy you see present in the education system, or perhaps even the government also. The school clearly discourages having an open mind. Banning the Graham Greene book with the reason "It's pornography"... funny how the same teacher who claimed that reads the book of a child pornographer, and even more she practically worships it. Further on even with that: Sparkle Motion... little kids dancing like strippers, and even more WINNING!!?? While Sherida (sp?) does Autumn Nature, expresses herself artistically... and gets boo'ed off of the stage. She exchanges a glance with Drew Barrymore's character, the english teacher has a slight smile on her face... perhaps identifying with each other... they're both unwanted in an apathetic, hypocritical, closed minded society?

Since no movie, no book, no preacher, no teacher, no anything can give you "The Answer," you have to find it for yourself. The movie just provokes one to think about it.

Maybe Donnie was Jesus, or Frank was Jesus or Jim Cunningham is actually supposed to symbolize Santa Clause... Transcribing characters from one place to another limits the depth of that character. I would rather not think of Frank or Donnie as supernatural beings based on the bible.
I'd rather look at all of the outrageous things that happened metaphorically.

Can somebody tell me why Donnie's shrink is frantically trying to get a hold of his parents (answering machine) on the night of the party??

As it has become plainly evident that the world around Donnie is a tangent of the reality that exists, could it not be said also that Donnie's own existence might be the reason for the tangent universe itself?

Much to the dismay of the heretofore mentioned theories, I must admit that the idea that Donnie doesn't belong in the universe in first place might be the reason he is chosen to sacrifice himself for the good of those who belong in the universe. So, in effect, Donnie is not only the solution to the tangent universe, but the cause of that universe as well.

Does this make any sense?

John Titor

I think the point the director is trying to make is that:

1)Armageddon (end of the world) may have already happened (in 1988) without us knowing it. It is predicted in the bible that the world would end before the year 2000 or something like that.

2) A "superhero" like Donnie Darko (savior figure) has spared us by subjecting himself to a chain of events that ultimately leads to killing himself. For some reason, his existence would mean the end of the world. Why this is so--I do not know. I have only seen the film once, and have never read the bible.

3) The MAIN IDEA/MORAL is that everyone should live each day like a gift (aka not live in fear). Most people were confused about the whole "self help video" bit. I'm surprised I was the only one who saw it this way.

please respond

another thing i remembered to prove point #1 (above).

the "flooding" of the school ties into Noah's Ark story of how the world ends in a flood

The movies is left open to some interpretation but not nearly as much as you think. Listen to Kelly. "This is a story of Divine Intervention". Yes the rabbit is some sign from God. Read all the rules and information on The 4th diminsion, wormholes, Living reciever, ect. The book by stephen hawking is a real book the movie is supposed to be more sci-fi'ish and does deal with other elements like determinism. But Kelly does want you to believe that these things ARE taking place in an alternate universe not just his mind, that is a main point of the movie, that he is NOT crazy. The medicine was a placebo.

Yes, the self-help video is important in the movie but it and the manipulated dead are all just tools and prods that aid Donnie in fulfilling his destiny.

Yes this is a religious movie but the axe in the mascot's head can be taken at face value. It is mearly to show that Donnie is a living reciever and that he Now has supernatural powers "like telekinesis which he uses to send the engine through a wormhole" that will help him fulfill his destiny of sacrificing himself to save others. "The Sacrificial Lamb". Read "Hero with a thousand faces" I believe is the name of the book?


I really like jrau's point numb. 8 very good

Alan you are totally wrong, Pay Attention, this isnt some cheap sci-fi movie where it is supposed to be some schitophrenic dream, the weight of this movie rest on the fact that it is supposed to be real, do your research, read some kelly interviews.

jake, donnie being told he can do anything he wants is just God letting him know that he has free will, religion is a major theme in the movie, not necissarily free will for bad, he actually uses it for good he decides to save others and sacrifice himself.

Alright, I'm commenting now. Firstly, to the first few posts here, I think that the religious theorizing and speculating was actually very relevant, and would've worked perfectly, however, there is alot to be left to explain if you would use that theory. Here is mine, based entirely on researching the website, and watching the movie lots.

The plane engine is an artifact. An artifact is physical evidence of a tangent universe being created. When the plane engine fell upon Donnie's house, an extre,ely unstable tangent universe was created, that would eventually collapse, taking the primary universe with it. The entire movie, up until the point in which Donnie gets crushed by the engine, takes place in the tangent universe. Donnie has been chosen by unknown forces, for unknown reasons, to be the living reciever. Also known as the one who is to save the universe. He is endowed with the power to manipulate water, metal, and time. Everyone in the movie are all either the manipulated living, or the manipulated dead, excluding the young hero, darko. The manipulated living and dead are all there for the sole purpose of guiding Donnie in making the right choices that will eventually lead him to the ultimate action of opening a wormhole, and sending the engine back in time. Everything in the tangent universe, due to the help of the manipulated living and dead, happens for a purpose. Both Gretchen and Frank's death happen for a purpose. Frank is killed so that his form and spirit can return in time to tell Donnie what's going to happen to the universe. Now, if donnie hadn't flooded the school, he would never have met Gretchen, and would never have understood that he wasn't going to die alone. If he had not burned down cunningham's house, his teacher would not have had to go to his arraignment, and his mother would not have had to get on the plane, resulting in less of a factor in saving the universe. When Donnie finally makes the decision, and sends the engine back in time, it closes the tangent universe, therfore saving it from collapsing, because obviously, it doesn't exist anymore.

That is all the theory that I have learned from watching the movie, the commentaies, and the Philosophy of Time Travel. Here is my own, added on theories concerning why Donnie died:

The artifact is just a sign that the tangent universe has been created. The book doesn't say that it is the cause of it being formed. It is just a sign, a red flag. I believe that Donnie was supposed to die originally, and that because Frank called him out of bed to tell him of the tangent universe, ironically, the tangent universe was opened. As a direct result of one of the main factors in the tangent universe being closed, i.e. Frank nudging, the tangent universe was inadvertently opened. Donnie's journey in finding himself ultimately leads to his reasurance that he won't die alone. In the end of the movie, the engine is sent back, killing Donnie. I believe that he is smiling because he knows that his death is not in vain, and that he has ultimately saved mankind. I have formulated reason for the choosing of the living reciever. This whole thing was an act of god. As mind boggling as it is, God, because of his omniscience, caused it to happen that Donnie awoke and left. All things in the movie except for choices of Donnie himself are orchestrated and manipulated by God. The reason? To finally show that there can be melding between pre-destination and free-will. God knew the tangent universe would be closed, and yet he let Donnie make his own choices. This seemingly cornoil-and-water concept is actually, as proven in this movie, meldable.

Now, I could've gone more in depth even than that, but I didn't have time. I was lazy. I think that pretty much sums up the meaning incorporating room for interpretation and everything that Kelly has said, written, and done. Tell me what you think.

And also, Rob, you posted a little bit above. I don't know if you really believe what you stated you got out of the movie, which essentially is relativism, but I can tell you right now, I definitely don't agree. There is either yes or no, true or false. The blatant and indescribable absurdity that the mere concept of relativety reeks of makes me sick. Everyone isn't right. It isn't all relative. There is a correct answer to every question. For example, sure, lots of people interpert Donnie Darko in many different ways. All are relavent, coherent, and well-thought out. Ultimately, the only one who is absolutely right is the creator of the movie, Robert Kelly. It's the same principle in life. Only the creator of a certain thing holds the whole truth to it.

Frank is not god or related to god in any way. I dont know who frank act is, but what the movie proves to donnie is that God exisits. now there is sum weird science/christian belief that time travel is possible through god as he travels at the spped of light. research that understand the movie.

Scott... so in effect God gave Donnie the choices... but knew exactly what Donnie would choose, therefore proving that God can see the future. How can one see the future without the future being decided ahead of time?

Exactly. That's what the melding of Pre-destination and free-will is. God already knew exactly what was going to happen, and yet he did not force Donnie to do anything. That means that Donnie did what he did of his own accord. God already knew he would do that, but he didn't make him do it. God is outside of time altogether. He is not bound by the same laws of time that we are bound by. Instead if seeing time as a linear graph, he sees time, all time, past present and furure as one big picture. Which means that even though we would comprehend his knowledge of the future as controlling, it's not, because he is not bound by our concept of time at all.

After much thought on the endless possibilies to interpret this film, I have settled on one. Not to say the exact intent of the film-maker, but just another possibility. I think the film focuses on the dream of one young man, Donnie Darko. Saying that Donnie's experiences are a dream might seem easy to say, it is, but the proof is all in the movie. At the end, all the characters are shown to be waking, from what I believe are dreams, and in some cases nightmares. Near the end of the film, Donnie is shown waking in the same blue shirt worn from when he got in the bed that very night of October 1st, 1988. What he has just witnessed in his dream, is an alternate future if not killed by the jet engine. He laughs this dream off to calm himself. The dream had been a long, heavy, and disturbing one. Donnie is unaware that his death actually is coming as soon as he tries to doze right back off. After Donnie's death, all the other characters are shown waking. Frank is shown touching his right eye, the one shot by Donnie in his dream, as if simply checking if its a reality. This is another point of evidence. These dreams are alternate futures for all of the characters. One important thing to note is, these dreams are all from the perspective of the particular character. So this means not everyone has drempt the same exact dream but they intertwine with Donnie's at certain points. These are possible futures, but these characters will not experience them fully, altough perhaps partially, due to the death of Donnie, whose dream turned out to include at least one for sure prophecy, the jet engine.

Now, one question may be to the inclusion of the supernatural Frank as seen in Donnie's dream. Would Frank have been occuring in the future had donnie not died? Two approaches can be taken from here: 1. Frank would have been included because Donnie really was going to learn of time travel and be affected by it. 2. Frank is simply a metaphor of Donnie himself, God, his consciousness, or just a figment of Donnie's mind able to be created by the forseeing of the real, yet drempt, Frank. So Donnie may have been able to discover time travel but he dies. On the other hand, almost the entire dream may have been totally fabricated except for the jet engine. This may be hard to follow, I know. I'm unsure if I have been able to convey my interpretation correctly. Basically, I believe the film draws the notion, that dreams may be possible futureso or fragments of that future, but they depend on so many variables, In this case, Donnie. It also conveys the possibility that one's dreams may be intertwined with many different people as the ending flat out suggests, but as interpreted of course. The "Tangent Universe" as many have described may actually be a 'simple' dream. I believe even Kelly has stated that the two could be synonymous. This is just another view. Not right nor wrong, for no one knows for certain.

Hey, stumbled upon this site after watching the movie a couple times and trying to find out if my theories were correct. Anyways, while Aaron's dream theory is believable, it leaves a fair amount of holes. I'll just explain what I think happened.

Donnie is pulled away from his bed because Frank, as a Manipulated Dead, needs him to close the Tangent Universe off. Donnie isn't as crazy as we think, so give him a little credit here, (watch the Director's Cut or deleted scenes if you don't understand). Frank gives him the instructions to do stuff and most of what you guys said is true. However, no one mentioned the meaning of 'They made me do it,' I believe. I think I saw somewhere that someone had theorized that Donnie meant by 'They,' authority or something like that. Donnie means all of the Manipulated, who are guiding him along the path, such as the brilliantly set up clue of the teacher telling Donnie about 'cellar door.'

God doesn't actually appear in the movie, and is certainly not Frank. Donnie, nearing the end of the movie, kills Frank, making it possible for Frank to go back in time to warn Donnie ("The Manipulated Dead are more powerful than the Receiver" or whatever). Donnie, at that point, knows that he will save the world, Gretchen, and his family, (and Frank, too), which is why he tells the clown guy to go home and tell his parents that everything will be all right.

Then he takes Gretchen's body [as a reminder of what he needs to do] to the mountain where the movie began. He laughs because he knows it's ending and he will succeed and save everyone. Then he uses his telekenisis (spelled it wrong, I'll bet) super powers endowed on him, as the Receiver, to pull the jet engine from the plane and guide it into the black hole and the past. I think Richard Kelly suggested in the commentary that Donnie was so happy that dying isn't such a bad thing and that he saved the world that he forgot to get out of the way of the falling jet engine the second time.

Frank, the Manipulated Living one who dropped Donnie's sister off at their house, honks his horn to let Donnie know that he succeeded and can get out of his room. However, Donnie, knowing all of the above, just sits there, enjoying his accomplishment and waiting to be killed and go to heaven, which he pretty much confirmed existed, right? He also realizes that as the Receiver, is supposed to die by the Artifact, which is another reason he doesn't move.

The people wake up and most realize what happened in the Tangent Universe, feeling remorse. Frank touches his eye, Cunningham cries (and commits suicide ten days later, according to the official site), the science teacher wakes up and thinks about all the time travel stuff and that the English teacher he's sleeping with will get fired, etc. Some will not remember, [as stated in the Philosophy of Time Travel in the movie], such as Gretchen, which is unfortunate since Donnie did most of it for her since she proved to him that you don't have to die alone.

Phew! This reminds me of the time when I was debating with a friend about whether or not we could be in a Matrix right now. We both had some surprisingly good points that would suggest that we are (uh, oh, foreshadowing ;). I'll try and check back later since, according to the posting dates, you guys are still talking about it.

Oh, also, I just realized something that I can't explain. I don't think that Donnie wrote 'They made me do it.' If you look at the 'Frank was here. went to get BEER' note, you'll see the definite similarity between the 'They made me do it' message and the 'BEER' message. I just don't know why Frank would write that. Maybe because as the Manipulated Dead, he knew that it was supposed to say that, realized that Donnie didn't write it, so he had to do it himself or something. I don't know, this part's a bit confusing.

I just watched this movie for the millionth time. I love it so much. The fact is that it can be interpreted 100 different ways, and thats the great thing about it. I mean Christ, look at this board! 2 years, hundreds of comments! All with slightly different interpretations, all of us with different things we have gained from the movie. I still get the chills everytime I watch it, every time "Mad World" kicks in and everyone wakes up from their dream. This movie is a masterpiece, and with all great works of art is open to different interpretations. Beautiful, stunning film, still moving me after 4 years.

i thougth your interperetation was perfect it puts all the peices together (in my mind)

by the way can anyone help me on the donnie darko website it is confusing

Thomas, I believe you have hit the nail on the head more-so than anyone else, and you have put down my entire interpretation exactly how I would want it conveyed, (I couldn't word it right)
However, 2 points differ to mine:
1) Donnie's 'telekinesis'
I don't think he had any, I believe the plane fell out of the sky, because this was the end of the alternate world, the start of that universe dying and imploding, resulting in the engine falling through a dimensional portal to the REAL world where this mess started in the first place. This jet engine falling through is the second instance and because it time travels back to the exact moment in the real world, this is their only chance to stop the real world from destroying itself, by viewing the events the first time around and stopping it the second. Donnie could not have fixed the problem in the alternate universe had he died in the real one. I really have to word this better, it's so frustrating but thanks to you thomas I can pretty much write it all out now and will do to nail my thoughts.
2) You say donnie didn't write "They Made Me Do It" but frank did, true Frank did, but he may be writing it because someone made HIM manipulate donnie, so he is writing about why he is making donnie do these things because "they made frank do it".
Ugh it's too late, I need to get to bed.

Thanks everyone This is all great stuff

I've just spent the last three days in work reading every single comment on this board! (yes I should be fired). There are so many good ideas here and I'm not gonna bore you with what I think cause its been covered really. The only point I havent seen is that when the jet engine went back the first time it was caused by a corruption, the corruption that kicked off the tangent universe, and by sending it back via a wormhole the second time, Donnie fixes the corruption and puts things back on track. Check out this website, it's excellent and cleared up a lot for me: http://www.stainlesssteelrat.net/ddfaq.htm

By the way I only saw DD for first time 2 weeks ago, have watched it 5 times and is fast becoming my favourite film of all time. Havent thought about a film so much since David Lynch's Lost Highway (great film see it if you havent).

Hey I just read what's wriiten on this page about DD :http://www.mjyoung.net/time/darko.html.
Has anyone else read this and is it just me or is it not a great explanation? It dismisses DD as not being a time travel film and basically says that it was all about Frank and the Ghost frank went back (even though the author later says it is not a film about time travel) just to destroy donnie. If that was the case why didnt he just let Donnie die and not save him from the engine? That way he wouldnt have been killed by Donnie and would be alive again and wouldnt that be more important than messing with his head? Why would he be given the opportunity in the first place? It would also mean that he would have no remorse for killing Gretchen which I believe he did, especially in the cinema scene when he says sorry to him. Sorry, that's the end of my ranting!

did anyone else notice that at the very end of the movie frank rubs his right eye and the last thing we see is the warped rabbit mask? why is that?

Are there two franks? A psychological, imagined one, and the kid dressed up in the costume? I just watched the movie and that's the part that bugged me the most.

What a pleasure to find all of this commentary about a movie that has practically haunted me for the past two days!
My husband and I just watched the director's cut the other evening (netflix, so no bonus commentary cd, boo!)
Reading through these postings has answered a lot of my questions, however, my husband and I are still puzzled as to why Donnie's therapist waits several hours (It is probably around 11 p.m. during the party when she calls) after her final meeting with Donnie to telephone his parents about her concerns?

Hey, this probably sounds really dumbass .. but im confused on the bit where Donnie and Gretchen are at the cinema, and then Frank takes the mask off, and his eyes gross, but we dont know why, then at the party after that bit. They go see Grandma Death, and Frank runs over Gretchen - which is why Donnie shoots him - in the eye. But I dont get why he had the bad eye before it even had happened yet!?

If that makes sense :S lol, well, i hope you can help, and i hope im not wasting your time with stupid irrelevant things that no-ones picked up on yet. Thanks x

Rosie, I think that his eye was bad because he was a Manipulated Dead, and he entered the state as he did when he died. He died with a bleeding eye, so in his Manipulated Dead state, it showed the effects of being shot in the face.

As for Ken...

I have no idea.

This is a great page, wow I didnt know so many people loved this movie like I did, I was obsessed, I never got a chance to check out the directors cut or this book everyone is talkin about tho, so u all have answered alot of my questions, except some of u.... some of u just seem like dipshits with some crazy ass theories. I like the tangent and manipulated thing, good stuff my friend had me thinking it was a death experience for the greatest time and it kinda killed it for me there had to be a greater meaning now I kno.!.

Wow, Donnie's become such a cult.

hey i have my own sound theory that is prob far fetched from others, but the only thing that drives me crazy is that fat guy in the jumpsuit he appears twice?????

Hi i was just wondering could anyone explain to me what the hell is meant on the donnie darko website with the article about the teacher dying? Good work with the theories, i agree with the interpretation that frank is satan and donnie is like a christ figure, saving the world and everything. More than anything else, I want to know wat the deal is with the fat Chinese girl? She must be significant somehow! Help...

hi, it seems like every question has been pretty much answered here, and every issue has been discussed. i just have a theory that i'd like to share with some people regarding the importance of season:
donnie darko is set in october, which in the US, is right within the season of autumn. there are many references to the season within the film; autumn leaves feature in a lot of scenes, and cherita's talent show performance is called "autumn angel"
the reason why i think this is important lies within what autumn represents; it is the season of death and imminent decay. but this death and decay leads directly to life and creation. (in the season of spring) this is pretty much exactly what donnie said about the graeme greene book - "destruction is a form of creation" (i think) someone earlier mentioned this was one of the most important themes of the film, and i agree. everything leads directly back to this idea.

What if donnie himself was the reason that the jet engine came back through time? Rather than donnie being the chosen one that must save the world, it was a case of him having to restore the equilibrium of the universe that he himself had previously disrupted.

Donnie may have inadvertedly caused the tangent universe. Or it was gods doing, punishment for donnie? The 28 days could have been gods way of trying to get donnie to repent/fix his mistake.
Engine = Fire and brimstone? Bolt of lightning?

The 28 days in the tangent universe appeared to donnie as a dream, moments before his death, but I believe that he knew what was going to happen. He knew the dream was true. He knew it was a warning and a message from god, that's why he was laughing. He'd questioned for so long, but he finally understood. It was his decision to sacrifice himself, understanding that god exists and he didn't have to be afraid about death.
The sacrifice of his life in the normal universe is what saved the universe.

WTF... ive never watched a movie that has made me think so hard...

In Australia, we have the movie show that reviews movies (duh)... Well anyways this movie made it into the top 10 competing agianst star-wars and titanic. It was sixth... Not bad for a movie that went straight to DVD...

Here is a tip, this movie is not good for discussion in the following situations:

*Friday-beer oclock at the pub...
*First date with a chick you really like...
*with your 4 yr old son...

I have no theories, just comments on this movie...

The person who wrote this isnt human... probably could of timetravelled back and forth to make this movie just right, similar to playing DOOM 3 and saving just before you die and loading that save state again just to kill that 3-leggered mut without losing any health...

The story is so twisted but yet so well crafted... i ask myself, how the hell do you wake up in the morning and start writing a story this complicated... cant imagine trying to walk up to hollywood and explaining this story to get your grant. This is why my clap goes to screenplay/scriptwriters...

Ive read some of the ideas here and but havn't had time to read them all yet. I need some answers! haha

Is that Roberta Sparrow sitting on her bed at the end touching her younger face, just before the chinese girl? (The science teacher said Roberta used to be a 'nun or something' before teaching and writing that book).In other words no one really knew where she had been.
Could it be that Roberta started this by going back in time in 1988 as a middle aged woman and so appearing old now because she has been waiting 'x amount of years, for 1988 again to get things put right.

What does Donnie say to 'the bad guy' when he has a knife to his throat near the end?

Why is the fat guy shining the torch?????

Why is Patrick Swayze crying?

Hey am I just nuts or could Roberta Sparrow be Gretchins mum before she went back in time in 1988?
Near the end of the film, Gretchin says that her mum has disappeared!!!!!!

i.e. Gone back in time.

Hello there ... I must say you have done a very good job with all your personal interpretations.

I felt the urge to make my own comments, I have not read all the posts on this page so forgive me if I say something that has already been said, anyway here goes:

First off, I think that reading The Philosophy Of Time Travel gives you a good idea about the events in the movie. I think that this is best tool to interpret the movie with.

Every (readable) chapter explains something in the movie. Also I can recommened reading Donnie's letter to Roberta and Donnie's Poem ...

I think the letter to Roberta helps you understand the ending.

I've seen some posts where people say they don't understand how Donnie gets from the mountainside back to his bed.

It is important to understand that the destruction of the tangent universe is imminent after the Artifact has been sent back (the engine). Donnie knows this. The reason why he behaves so calmly, is that he somehow knows he is going to be allright. (he says in his letter to Roberta that there will be much to look forward to after the world has come to an end).

When the tangent universe is destroyed, he finds himself back in his room in the primary universe at the starting point. I am not sure whether he has any memories from the tangent... (I think you can argue both ways)... and he is killed soon after by the engine.

Also it is critical to know that no-one remembers anything from the tangent universe, but some of the manipulated living/dead might have flashbacks in their dreams. Frank wakes up in ending and touches his eye : he has dreamt about his death in the tangent universe...

So that's the ending basically... - something which I have pondered a bit about:)

Donnie Darko is the Devil. He is the Anti-Christ about to grow up, and God kills him with the jet engine. All the people who seem to be good are bad, and all the people who seem to be bad are good. Drew Barrymore and the love/fear teacher are the same person. The Time travel lady was nuts and didn't know what she was talking about. Time warps are not real.

The plot?
I reckon Donnie was killed on his bike before the film begins!
The film is something about Donnie accepting his fate.
The killing moon:(Echo and the Bunny Men)
"Under the moon I saw you,"
"So soon I know you'll take me,"
"Up in your arms, too late to beg you,"
"Or cancel it tho I know it must be the killing time,"
"Fate up against your will through the thick and thin,"
"He will wait until you give yourself to him"
None of the film is real! It is about the struggle of Donnies sub concious mind before he passes away.
Other clues:
When Donnie asks the teacher about time travel and the teacher talks about an act of God(the engine). Of course, this didnt actually happen, its part of Donnies struggle with death that happened on the bike.
Another clue:
When he tells the doctor about the dog that went to die. He said it went to be alone. Then the teacher says "are you alone"?
Donnie says " I feel alone, I dont debate it any more."

The time travel bit is what has made this film so confusing. But if you realise that Donnie is dead from the first moment we see him, the film starts to make sense.

The reason why certain characters persuede Donnie but don't actually give give him answers is because the film is about Donnies free will.Remember, all of it is in his sub concious mind.

And then at the end, Donnie says" i'm going home".
In other words, he has accepted his fate.

Absolutely brilliant film.
To understand this plot a bit more check out Jacobs Ladder and sixth sense!

Sorted! ha ha

So there are still a bit discussion going on:)

... As a reply I must admit that I fail to see which things that implies that Donnie is evil.

I think it's an interesting point of view that Donnie is already dead, but what about all Time Travel stuff .. why bother putting all that stuff into the film if it's not really what the whole plot is about?

Thats what i'm still not sure about now. The time travel stuff. I have a theory but its a bit erm...vague.
What if the film is about Donnie accepting his fate(death) and choosing the path between heaven and well, whatever else there is, of his own free will.
Heres what 'could' have happened.

Donnie died on his bike on 29th? of October 1988, (either rode off the cliff in his sleep or maybe was ran down by Frank in his car)!

Now he has a choice to welcome God to take him or erm go the other way.(using his own free will).
So he is put into a position where he can make that choice. He is sent back to 2nd of October so that events can lead him to a point where he can become 'enlightened' and make his choice to follow Gods path (die under the engine) or wait to die on the bike (the end of the world). In the film, the sky opens up in the early hours after the party(when Donnie is sitting on the car bonnet), this is when Donnie initially died on the bike the first time around. (This is why the world will end).
The sky opening up at this time is an act of God! Donnie knew this because Frank had shown him the future. ref: the conversation with the teacher.

Donnie sits in his bed laughing because he only had one chance and has chosen the passage to heaven. (basically he knows there is some form of after life)!

What really makes this theory make sense is the conversation with Doctor therman.

She says to Donnie, " If the sky opens up there will only be you, your thoughts and the people you have touched." (Heaven)

She also says, " If the world ends, there will only be you and him" (Frank). (Hell)

Then Donnie says "I can see him now"!, before kneeling in an almost religious way.

I'm convinced the plot is along these lines.

The time travel, living reciever and all that are confusing, thats what makes this film such a great puzzle.
But if my theory is right, then Donnie dosn't really travel through time at all and the time travel is all fiction. It is all part of Gods path to lead Donnie to make that choice.

Let me know if this makes sense to anyone because, admitted there are still things that I don't understand. Maybe some of the characters are just symbolic???

I'd love the director to talk me through this film! Ha Ha

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