Donnie Darko

I saw Donnie Darko last night.

And as soon as I got out I wanted to know what possible explanation there could be for the story and (most importantly) for the ending. It took me a long time to come up with any satisfactory explanation so for the benefit of others here are the sites that really helped:

28:6:42:12 an MSN group that has (amongst other things) the complete text of ‘The Philosophy of Time Travel’

The best explanation I could find (I’m not entirely happy with it but as the film was clearly left ‘open’ it may be the best I’m going to get it)

Its also clear to me from reading the comments of others that the director’s commentary track on the DVD goes a long way towards giving a full explanation (but doesn’t quite give you everything). I plan to get hold of the DVD and will post another story if my findings are interesting enough

70 Replies to “Donnie Darko”

  1. the film has a religious theme. there are definite links drawn between donnie and jesus. frank cannot be going back in time as he is dead. Frank, as some sort of ghost/angel leads donnie along “god’s path” (quote from when donnie talks to his science teacher) seeing into the future contradicts the idea of destiny unless you follow god’s path. the flooding of the school, or the mutilation of the bronze statue which no human could do (looks alot like a falso idol from the bible) added to this is the burning down of a paedo’s house are both unrelated to the plot however support the idea of donnie as jesus acting on gods will. donnie saves the world from ending not just saving his family and his girlfriend. perhaps at the end, which seems at first to be boring and unnecessary, the purpose of this scene is to suggest whether if jesus was to return to earth, would anyone know that he had been here?

  2. I too was confused about Frank’s motivation.
    The explanation I came up with is related to the idea of dying alone.
    Because of Frank, Donnie got to experience love, got to act free and have a good time. His life became more meaningful than it would have been had he simply died.

  3. On 20th of Feb 2004, Krista said that when Donnie was with his therapist he says that Frank is going to kill some one but he doesn’t. YES HE DOES! He runs Gretchin over, remember? And so therefore, he kills Gretchin.
    Also, Is Frank Gretchin’s stepdad? I watched this movie with my friends and we had a big discussion about it afterwards.
    And why does Frank wear the bunny outfit if he is a person underneath and how does Donnie have visions of him if Frank is real and why does Frank make Donnie do all those things?
    Now that’s what I don’t get!!!

  4. I stopped reading this junk after about the first two. I just finished watching Donnie Darko (credits still rolling) for the first time. Throughout the movie I looked up time travel and warm holes and other things of that sort. Anywho… I thought it was pretty clear that he found a way to go back in time, at least that’s what I got out of it. After having went back in time he put himself where he had known the engine would land. Reason being… he would rather himself die than his family and girlfriend. Bonus for killing himself which is what I am sure the movie had never intended you to think, if I were him i’d rather be dead than be f*cked up for the rest of my life and be put in jail for having messed the school up, burning down house and shooting someone who ran over your girlfriend that you thought was Frank the bunny rabbit. Anywho… the ending of the movie is to make you think he found a way to go back in time or so that’s what I believe. I mean… he knew a lot about time travel and he did say he knew how to build a time machine…. take my opinion for what you will. I guess I will see if there are any commentaries on the DVD that I borrowed, if I change my mind about what I have just stated I will be sure to let you know.

  5. ok… just read a few more… people keep asking what was frank and the rabbit suit about… donnie was a schitzo people. if schitzophrenia gets bad enough you can see full on visiuls and see things that aren’t there. alot of them don’t see things but hear things all the time. notice how he would usually hear frank talking before he saw him… and you ask why frank would tell him to do the things he told him to do… frank wasn’t real, frank didn’t tell him to do anything. donnie being a schitzo basically made it all up in his head, not by his choice and there was nothing he could do about it but frank was donnie.

  6. it took me a while to understand this movie but i did in the end.
    Donnie see’s Frank and and he tells him that the world is going to end.
    donnie thinks about it and in the end saves it by going back in time and letting the plane thingamagig fall on him thus making the world not end because the things which you saw in the beggining of the movie don’t happen because Donnie is dead and Frank wouldent exist.

  7. it took me a while to understand this movie but i did in the end.Donnie see’s Frank and and he tells him that the world is going to end.donnie thinks about it and in the end saves it by going back in time and letting the plane thingamagig fall on him thus making the world not end because the things which you saw in the beggining of the movie don’t happen because Donnie is dead and Frank wouldent exist.

  8. WeLL…. i watched the movie a few weeks ago and havent been able to stop thinking about it. ive come to the conclusion that i dont need to understand the film just appriciate** it for what it is.

  9. go to the site:
    it’ll explain everything you want to know

  10. Well actually my friend.. It wasn’t the same Frank, It was God in Franks body, He wanted to get the message over to Donnie and Explain to him WHY he needs to die.

  11. I must admit that i am a little behind the times(actually thats an understatement!) I only just got around to watching Donnie Darko this afternoon after having to listen to rave reveiws from my friends. After racking my brains trying to understand the very open ending i decided to research a little help…i agree with what everyone has said, yet i found the ending a little disappointing. I was expecting something better. I must admit that it wasn’t the best film that i have ever seen either, although i do love movies that make you think. One of my all time favourite thinking movies is “Bad Education”. it’s a spanish film and was released this year..5 stars from me! But beware those who find (how should i phrase this?) homosexual relationships a little disturbing! Don’t worry it’s not too graphic and only features in a tiny section of the film! It’s a must see!

  12. Love and Fear are very relevant, Fear can kill you as well as Love (Beautifully demonstrated by Joy Division’s song ‘Love will tear us apart’.) Proving quite symbolic as the lead singer of joy divison Ian Curtis committed suicide. I think the film is summed up by Donnie’s teacher who demands donnie places his scenario in either Love or Fear. The whole moral of the film is to try and find a happy medium between Love and Fear. If you are to far at either end of the spectrum you will not be happy. Demonstrated by the fat girl (fear) and the teacher (Love). The film is summarised for me at the end when the fat girl smiles for the very first time at the end of the film illustrating that she has arrived at a happy medium. A fantastic film which really made you think. So much to talk about. Cartainly in mt top 5 of all time!!!!!

  13. i saw the movie for the first time today and I think that Frank was Gretchen’s step dad…

    Gretchen mentions her step dad a couple of times. why would she do this? for no purpose at all? or is Frank her step dad? I think he is…but then again I am so confused it is crazy.

  14. i really dont think frank is her step dad. she mentions him, most likely, bc he is the reason why she is in that town in the first place. if anyone is confused about the movie, the philosophy of time travel is the best way to describe what happened. it’s a fake book but it was written to go with this movie. i beleive the author didnt directly show you what was in this book in the movie so that the movie could openly be interpreted, but time travel was his main theory behind the story

  15. i believe that is that donnie wasd the nearest to the aircraft so he became the internal receiver and is freinds relatives became the manipulated the timetravel created a parelel world but it was unstable and collaspe in a few weeks so ending all other worlds and life the recieve gainns SUPERPOWERs e.g abilty to control metal air craft,water sprinkelers outside house and the future is in waterform/strength axe, fire house no match, telekenestics leads engine through worm holle.Gretchen and Frank are the manipulated dead because in the future they both die the manipulated help the reciever unnowingly e.g techers she tells about cellar door, he explaines time travel, Gretchen explains to donnie we dont die alon and hints about going back in time. Frank helps donnie set up meverything e.g flood so he goes out with gretchen fire so thet mum and sister go on plane. stops being killed.the manipulated wake up int he real world only to remaember dreams about it.Donnie relizes that he must send the engine back through time but this results in the rabbit not saving him (because he is no longer dead) so nhe dies however he is happy because he has saved the world and he relizes he was never mad.

  16. *ahem* DONNIE IS NOT SCHIZOPHRENIC. Throughout the movie we see Donnie as being mad for his hallucinations/special powers, while in fact, he is fine mentally. His problem is that he has been chosen as the “Living Receiver” to fix the time warp that occurred when the plane jet landed in his bedroom. Thus the task of fixing it falls upon his shoulders, and with it he is giving the gifts of telekineses, mind control, and the ability to conjure fire and water. It’s in “The Philosophy of Time Travel” that as the Living Receiver, he is feared by the Manipulated (i.e. those who think he is mad.) And so, when you watch the movie, look at who thinks he is mad. They are the Manipulated, and wrong. In the end Donnie uses his powers to save them.

  17. Allie you are right in a sense but wrong in another sense. Although watching Donnie throughout the movie there is no evidence given that he Schizophrenic, there is no evidence that says he’s not. Even before he was chosen to be the Living Receiver he had seen his psychiatrist for mental issues; hence why in the beginning of the movie, Donnie’s sister tells there parents that Donnie was not taking his medication. No point for me to go beyond, what I think the movie is about, there are various links provided by other users above, that will provide one of many explanations of what this movie is truely about and what every scene means.

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