Saturday, May 18, 2002
Donnie Darko

Donnie Darko

Darko and the Light

A disturbed student walks into the light.

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) ::: philms ::: ::: Read the whole thing



Just read the posts about there not being two Donnies.  That makes sense, so long as Donnie went missing in the main timeline while he was living/acting in the alternate timeline…fixes several problems, actually.


Posted by Jim Rovira on 01 Dec 04 at 11:52 AM

hi, does anyone have any information on the number of genres present in donnie darko, and whether the film proves that genre is pointless as it cannot be pigeonholed into one definate genre. I am doing my coursework on this and would appreciate your views. Thank you

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02 Dec 04 at 09:58 AM

Donnie Dharko is Jesus Chirst.  Frank is the Devil.  The whole movie is the like ” A Last Temptation of Christ”  where Frank tempts Donnie into revenge against society and Cunning.  But at the end he sacrifices himself for mankind hence dying for the sins of society, cunning, etc., 

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 25 Jan 05 at 05:15 AM


Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 26 Feb 05 at 05:56 AM

If you guys want to really know what DD is all about than read this: My theory is that Donnie was never supposed to get out of bed in the first place, thus creating the Tangent universe. Than once he did all things are constructed in place to put donni back in the past at the krux of the timeline mishap,  The tangent universe is not exaclty caused by the engine persay, but the fact that donnie was supposed to die in the first place does create a time line mishap.  Think about it, Donnie knew everything before it happened, he existed outside of time, whenever he sees Frank or does something mischevous it is always darkout and things change, like the titles of those two movies for instance.  This is also why Roberta Sparrow was waiting so long for Donnies Letter, it was supposed to be there anyway, but Donnie sort of stopped time with the dodgeing the bullet or in this case plane engine. When he learns to go back to the krux of the plane engine everything is reversed and Everyone is alive thinking what they had been through in the tangent universe was all a bad dream, even Gretchen did not even know who anyone was yet, thus as i said before the only real thing that was supposed to happen in the first place was the death of Donnie, Hence he dies, universe back to normal and thus everyone (including real time universe) is saved. Clear as day—- any questions?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 26 Feb 05 at 06:40 AM


Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 26 Feb 05 at 06:43 AM

The main problem people have in interpretting this movie is the fact that we feel the need to place it on a timeline.  In the movie, Donnie himself scoffs at the idea of placing things on a two dimensional line.  Jim Cunningham forcing people to believe in this ideal situation where everything has an answer and everything is based on a combination of two extremes or realities, is no accident.  It is in the movie for a reason.  In reality, life and this Donnie Darko are dependant on a multitude of realities. 

Perhaps we can explain away a couple of ideas.  First of all, the Donnie being crushed is NOT the same Donnie that is found sleeping on the golf course.  These are two entirely seperate realities which Frank has the freedom to travel between.  Even this makes the movie overly complex and circular, but it is important to note.

The main idea in this movie, imho, is that it cannot be simple explained.  It is an enigma that wraps itself in a circular plot that contradicts itself and confuses viewers.  The beauty of it, however, is so profound that whether or not we can explain every bit of it away it still has a great affect on us. 

Most of us that live, think, breathe and contemplate may find the universe, nature, or God very confusing and contradictory.  This confusion, however, does not diminish the effect that faithful humans have in God or that we each can see in nature and the universe everyday. 

On the basis of this comparison, the movie is simply a grand allegory in reference to the Universe, God or whatever we want to call it.  There is no simple answer and there never will be, but that doesn’t mean we will stop exploring the possibilities for the rest of time.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12 Mar 05 at 05:09 AM

Donnie never himself travelled back in time, the only thing that travelled through time at all was the jet engine. Donnie was being manipulated in the tangent universe to create a wormhole and guide the jet engine through it back into the past. The appearance of the jet engine in the first of the movie caused a corruption of the time space continuim which was why the universe was in danger, and needed to be saved. So in the tangent universe there were the manipulated dead, which is to say Frank Professor Notikoff (who if you explore the website, you know died in a car crash) and the manipulated living, which is to say Donnie, Grandma Death etc. and they are all being manipulated in a way that will lead Donnie to the answers about time travel so that he may use that power to open the wormhole to guide the jet engine to it’s proper place. Which is in Donnie’s bedroom at the beginning of the film. Donnie is in his bed at the end because he has awoken from the “dream” of the tangent universe and realizes that by dying he can prevent the happenings of said tangent universe.

Posted by Yuko67 on 23 Mar 05 at 04:25 AM

Tanya i thought i understood it till i read your post u confused the f*k outta me so im going to completly forget i read your post -no offense-. Ok…looks like i have to say something about the film now…

I think its got more to do with frank than anything else. I mean when DD get into bed at the start he sleep walks out of it right (franks doing). He just called his mom a b*tch and isn’t in a gd mood. At he end he is. The main article (the one that you are all replying to) cleared that up for me. He is happy he understands that his death will stop the ending of the world, his girls death, (mind you if its the end of the world then his girls gonna die anyway) and so much pain, sorrow (etc). Although at one point his on the bed with his girl and they look like they pritty much had sex…or just went feeling each other up but then again she dies becuase of this anomaly in time. And to be honest that all it is an anomaly. It wasn’t meant to happen and is against logical.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 10 Aug 05 at 02:38 PM

hmmm…will have to consider the possibility that the tangent universe is just a dream of Donnie’s next time I see it, but on first consideration I don’t think this really works.  How do you learn of the contents of a book you didn’t even know existed in a dream? This is only possible if some outside agent is controlling the dreamworld you inhabit, and that raises even more problems.  The whole thing with Sparrow’s book makes a dream thesis a bit hard to swallow. 

Still…next time I watch it…


Posted by Jim Rovira on 10 Aug 05 at 03:23 PM

i went all the way to the third level of the donnie darko website and got up to when it says, donnie your time is up or something. is that the end of the website??? because nothing else happened from there. if then, that was stupid, it didn’t help me figure anything out.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 13 Aug 05 at 10:34 PM

I take the movie as the movie and disregard the philosophy of timetravel pamplet in the dvd extras as a distraction from the movie.  The words are not in the movie for a reason.  That’s because it’s irrellevant and if you don’t pay attention to it, the idea of the movie comes through much better. 

I haven’t seen the director’s cut as of yet, though, so perhaps if the book is actually included in it, I’ll give in.  Otherwise I feel my explanation is the best.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 14 Aug 05 at 07:22 PM

Thing is, the book is included in both versions of the film, so there’s no getting away from it.  It’s just that in the director’s cut excerpts from the book were plugged in to transition between scenes, and did serve (more) explanatory purposes. 

Posted by Jim Rovira on 14 Aug 05 at 09:06 PM

Yes, this book was in the film, but barely.  If it’s to be considered actual published book in the film, then I sincerely doubt that all of the pages are covered in the reading provided by the DVD or by the movie itself.  It’s called Philosophy of Time Travel and what is included is more of a how to instructional explanation of time-travel rather than a philosophy.  Don’t you think that book seems like to simple of an explanation and guide?  Is there no parallel to Jim Cunningham there?  I refuse to look at the film in such a simplistic manner.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 15 Aug 05 at 02:40 PM

The point is that Donnie would be dreaming about a real book about which he’d never heard (until his dream).  This complicates the dream thesis, that is all, as this is a somewhat unrealistic expectation for a dream.  How the film should be read in light of the book is another matter: it served as something of an instruction manual for Donnie, yes, and yes, this was much more explicit in the director’s cut.  I don’t think the inclusion of book text simplifies the film that much at all. 

Right now, the most tenable thesis is that there is a main timeline and a branch timeline, that the majority of the film is in the branch timeline, and that at the end of the film Donnie returned, somehow, to the point at which the branch timeline broke off from the main timeline, “saving the universe.”  (Isn’t there some off the cuff line about Donnie Darko sounding like a superhero name?). 

The dream thesis seems to create more problems than it solves, unless the “dream world” was somehow “real” and would replace the “original world” if Donnie made the wrong decisions.  But this is stretching way beyond what could be argued from the facts provided by the film. 

Posted by Jim Rovira on 15 Aug 05 at 02:54 PM

Fascinating to see just how literally the average viewer/reviewer experiences the role of time travel in the film. Much more interesting to include a metaphoric reading of its function in the film.

Donnie’s schizophrenia is his response to a “mad world” in which all human action takes place in an apparently unstoppable procession. Any teenager with enough confidence and intelligence can see the inevitable results of the actions of the individual characters and the society in which they play out, the overwhelming hypocracy.  Time travel is a potential solution that makes enough sense to offer hope of salvation for an increasingly desperate Donnie. Only by travelling ahead of the crap served up to him as reality might Donnie be able to save himself and his world from “the hostile reality” he perceives as beyond his control in the present.

The slide of the school towards vacuous box-ticking activities, the pathetic offering(s) of jim Cunningham (so perfectly close to pure cliche that we get that ‘of course’ sensation on discovering the depth of his corruption), the danger facing Gretchen, the isolation of Susita (sp?), all appear to us, as to Donnie, as inexorable. Donnie finds himself squarely in the fallen world. Unable to return to the innocence of his younger sister nor advance to the adjustment of his elder, he becomes tragically and painfully aware of the fate awaiting us all. He ‘invents’ Frank to ease the acute despair and isolation such awareness engenders.

Time travel is an extension of Frank in the sense that it actualizes an escape for Donnie, an escape whose reality is reinforced by the existence of both Roberta Sparrow and her book. This also moves Donnie closer to the ‘real’ world and the notion of success in it. And yet, however possible it may be in the theoretical world of science, whether it can save Donnie is doubtful. Look what it’s done for Roberta.

In the primary reality of the film Donnie is as helpless as Oedipus in avoiding his fate. As a teenager, heroic anti-hero of higher intelligence and great compassion that Donnie is, he pushes the bounds of reality all the way and, thanks to the power of (cinematic) story telling, manages to tear the sky open just wide enough for us to stare up helplessly at our own addiction to clean, linear explanations. There are stranger mysteries than an unaccounted for jet engine, something Donnie would agree with as he goes off to sleep.

Posted by david zoh on 28 Sep 05 at 02:13 PM

Well, yeah…

if you read the whole discussion, we did occasionally try to move into “metaphor” (for lack of a better word), but it’s hard to work out the symbolic significance of the film without first understanding the literal presentation.  Time travel could be a trope for reinventing memory after one has attained a certain level of growth. 

What you’re saying works.  And I agree, more of this type of discussion would be more interesting.

Posted by Jim Rovira on 28 Sep 05 at 02:21 PM

The most dynamic character by far in this movie in my opinion is that of the school teacher.  She firsts introduces Donnie to the short story by Graham Greene that is a major theme if not a major precursor the entire movie.  Several key elements become apparent when this is introduced.  First, the idea that that the characters in the story had a plan “that had been with him all his life”.  Secondly, old misery and grandma death are interesting synonyms in the fact that they both had their houses broken into, the last time by Donnie.  Thirdly, in the story the characters set money on fire which is symbolized by Mr. Cunningham’s house and also flood a house in which Donnie floods the school.  More importantly, when Donnie explains what he thinks about the passage he alludes to the fact that “destruction is a form of creation”.  This theme reoccurs in the movie when the world is falling apart at then end when Donnie’s mother and sister die in the plane; one never sees them die.  Instead the scene begins to go back in time.  This shows that the total destruction of the world has created something.
The teacher also informs Donnie of the cellar door that comes back later where Donnie’s love interest plays two muffled, low toned notes before the world falls apart.
Lastly, when the teacher gets fired Donnie asks her what he should tell everyone, she replies “tell them everything is going to be alright”.  This is ironic because these are the last words Donnie yells at the child in the clown suit.
—-As far as the spiritual aspect of this movie, the connections are undeniable; however, I feel that Donnie actually disproves God.  In my opinion by traveling back and knowing God’s master plan he altered his path; changed the future by becoming a martyr for society.  He proved that there is no pre-determined path; thereby disproving god. 

——On an interesting side note, I was wondering if anyone had any insight into the character of the obese Japanese school girl.  The character is done well and obviously in the movie for a very specific purpose.  It is odd because of the ties she makes with Donnie, such as her school books having his name written on them, Donnie wearing the earmuffs, etc.  Yet, referring to it from a spiritual or non-spiritual setting I can’t place her main reason for being in the movie.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 15 Oct 05 at 03:49 AM

The idea of a predetermined path is only alien to some conceptions of God, not all…and for that matter, Donnie changing things may have been part of the predetermined path.  The film seems to reinforce the idea of a set future by the streams of light flowing out from everyone’s chests in some scenes.

Posted by Jim Rovira on 15 Oct 05 at 11:25 PM

Can someone explain to me the smurfette metaphor? Because I really dont know why Donnie got so pissed off at the guys for fantasising about her. He says that smurfette was invented by gargamel to be a spy and destroy the smurfs, but she was overwhelmed by their goodness, that she changed and stayed with them. I think this is sort of relating to Donnie; Donnie is smurfette, sent by some higher power (I would say Frank, but it’s only Franks dead body from the tangent future being controlled by a higher power) like gargamel, to be a spy and destroy the smurfs lives (flooding of the school, general anarchy…), but he is so overwhelmed by the smurfs goodness (his teachers, Gretchen, his family) that he decides to save them instead of destroying them.
But if Donnie was going to save them, by bringing the tangent universe back in to the primary (by effectively destroying the Tangent) then that means that the higher power was on his side all along and tried to point him into the direction of timetravel. Then if that’s true, then why would the higher power call out Donnie from his bed in the first place? What sort of sick twisted God are we dealing with, if he randomnly keeps putting the world in danger, then toys and manipulates people to fix it? Please explain…Im so confused…

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 27 Oct 05 at 08:01 AM

I’ve read alot of the post and I’m still rather confused on to what theory the movie is about. Is it that donnie is christ and frank is the devil into which he is tempting donnie? Or is it that donnie decides to sacrafice himself to save the world. All these theory seem to fit into what the movie was some how trying to protray. But what if that’s it? Is it possible that the movie was ment to have many diff. meanings? Maybe it was made that way so (You as the viewier) would see it how you want to?

or am I just way off…..

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03 Mar 06 at 03:00 PM

Tetris—perhaps human decisions aren’t so much important because of how they change history, but because of how they change ourselves?  The biggest change I see in the film isn’t in the timelines, but in Donnie.

Posted by Jim Rovira on 03 Mar 06 at 03:46 PM

i belive words would be very out of place to describe the emotions endured by this movie, interpretations of the metaphors in script and image can give many different logical meanings or misguideing routes, but i myself truly belive in the unseen that gives us a path. remember the movie just tries to show this phenomenon, i think it was portraid pretty well, though for some complicated a simple version is not possible for the subject is not.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 22 Jan 07 at 10:53 PM

jim rovira - Donnie evolves? I’m not too sure… the only life changing decision he makes is right at the end, and that wasn’t even his decision. Frank called Donnie out of bed the first time to fix the tangent timeline before it destroys the world, and the way to this was to sacrifice himself, even though calling Donnie out of bed was the cause of all of it. Result: We are dealing with one twisted game of Fate, and Donnie is only the pawn. He has no decisions, he actually does exactly what he is told in the film - even the bit where his girlfriend dies and he goes crazy, because that was meant to happen anyway otherwise Frank wouldn’t have got shot and wouldn’t call Donnie out in the first place. The actual film itself is a complete paradox, because for Frank to call out Donnie in the first place, we have to assume that the tangent universe existed already (or where would have Frank travelled from?), yet the purpose of the film is for Donnie to right the timelines back onto track, even though the timelines were messed up to begin with.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 27 Jan 07 at 09:18 PM

Nah…I’d say there’s real character growth in Donnie before that decision at the end, which was a legitimate act of self-sacrifice.  The decision is the culmination of his growth, but didn’t come out of nowhere.

Posted by Jim Rovira on 28 Jan 07 at 12:47 AM
Commenting is not available in this section entry.