Donnie Darko is one of the most complicated movies ever made. We explain here. (2023)

'Donnie Darko', in its own way, is a masterpiece from Aboriginal writer-director Richard Kelly, whoflopped at the box office so stupendously that it had people stretching out on the country road, holding signs that read "Middlesex Ahead." Released just weeks after 9/11, the visibly cerebral sci-fi alienated its audience with an airliner disaster scene in the film, butmade headlines with criticswhich symbolized the rise of science fiction and religion through 'Donne Darko'. Since then he has gained a large cult following. But the big question remains: What is Donnie Darko about? Well, we are here to offer that explanation.

an unconventional movie

Donnie Darko is one of the most complicated movies ever made. We explain here. (1)

'donnie darko' is a film whose viewing experience put me in a deep state of cerebral confusion and contemplation as to what was conspiring, but in all its confusion and attention, a sci-fi fan inside of me was extremely sated for the entire two hours and fourteen. minutes spent. This is an experience that is far from perfect, even failing in many places, but it is fueled by such an ingenious idea, the power of which pretty much drives the entire movie in its running time, you have no choice but to send it on and on. Ride and watch in awe as a gummy reality unfolds like never before.

I'm sure your feelings upon watching the film must have been synonymous with the above, but let's face it: We'd be lying to ourselves if we didn't almost immediately rush to the internet for answers to harrowing questions related to the film's plot. , boiling so that they do not calm down. I am guilty of doing the same thing years ago when I first saw it, and despite this beautiful state of confusion, I was just as confused as the first time, which is what prompts me to write this explanation. So, without further ado, I'm trying to figure out this incredibly weird movie while doing a parallel check inside my head. Read.

Rather than take the conventional approach of chronologically analyzing what happens in the film and then trying to deconstruct it, I will try to decipher the film by going through various chapters of the fictional book 'The Philosophy of Time Travel', which within the confines of the ' universe' This film is written by Roberta Sparrow, also nicknamed in the film as Granny Death, later revealed to have taught science at Middlesex High School and given to Donnie by his current science teacher, Kenneth Monnitoff. Fortunately for us, there is a director's cut available that is much clearer about the events of the film, along with excerpts from the fictional book, which I will use here and draw parallels between them and the characters/events in 'Donnie Darko'. . Let's start.

the tangent universe

The Prime Universe is plagued with great dangers. War, plague, famine, and natural disasters are common. Death comes for all of us.The Fourth Dimension of Timeit is a stable construction, although it is not impenetrable. Incidents where the fabric of the Fourth Dimension is corrupted are incredibly rare. If atangent universeoccurs, it will be highly unstable, remaining for no more than several weeks. It will eventually collapse in on itself, forming a black hole inside theprimary universecapable of destroying all existence.

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(Video) Donnie Darko - What it all Meant

If you're here, it would be reasonable to assume that you've seen the movie and are looking for answers. So, starting with the biggest spoiler for the movie; the events that take place after the start of the film, until Donnie sits on top of his car and watches as a vortex above his house engulfs the city, all take place in a 'Tangent Universe'. It is the very structure that the core of the film is about, which is also referenced in many other films dealing with the reality of rubber as an alternate or parallel universe/timeline. The reason for the formation of this tangent universe is not highlighted in the film, other than the obvious scientific explanation for the creation of a temporal anomaly or fractured timeline. As the excerpt clearly suggests, the tangent universe is an unstable dimension and will collapse in on itself, forming a black hole in the Primary Universe that may pose a threat to its very existence. This is the doomsday that Frank warns Donnie about, beginning 2North DakotaOctober 1988, with 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes, and 12 seconds until the tangent universe collapses creating the doomsday black hole.

artifact and life

When a Tangent Universe occurs, those who live closest to itVortexThey will find themselves at the epicenter of a new and dangerous world.artifactsprovide the first sign that a tangent universe has occurred. If an Artifact occurs, the Living will retrieve it with great interest and curiosity. Artifacts are made of metal, such as an arrowhead from an ancient Mayan civilization or a metal sword from medieval Europe. Artifacts returned to the Main Universe are often linked to religious iconography, as their appearance on Earth seems to defy logical explanation. Divine intervention is considered the only logical conclusion for the appearance of the artifact.

Donnie Darko is one of the most complicated movies ever made. We explain here. (3)

Surely you remember the Totem from the very beginning, the unique properties of which helped the dreamer to realize whether he was still dreaming or not. In a comprehensive sense, this is what an artifact is. The appearance of an artifact is the very signifier of a tangent universe, strange as this event may be. In this case, the artifact is hard to miss, as it literally crashes into Donnie's bedroom minutes into the movie: the engine of the plane that Donnie narrowly escapes when sleepwalking in the middle of the night 'guided' by Frank and wakes up on the golf course. in the morning. It is made of metal and, as the excerpt states, it is retrieved with great curiosity by the 'living' and no one seems to have any idea where it came from, defying any logical explanation that could be attributed to its sudden and seemingly random appearance. .

Donnie Darko is one of the most complicated movies ever made. We explain here. (4)

What's interesting about this artifact here is that it's also apparently an anomaly caused during time fracturing or the creation of the tangent universe. The physical location of the artifact's existence, in this case, Donnie's room and home. This is usually called a tangent vortex. Theoretically, the tangent universe is a perfect replica of the primary universe in all physical respects, and there should be a different object in the tangent universe that is causing the instability that leads to its collapse. The isolated aircraft engine (with no sign of an accompanying aircraft) appearing out of nowhere is this object, the anomaly, and for things to return to normal, this artifact must be returned to the primeval universe for the tangent universe to collapse without creation. . of a black hole that would otherwise consume all life. Think of it as the final mission, as Donnie's fate.

water and metal

Water and metal are the key elements of time travel.. the water is thebarreraelement to buildTime portals used as gatewaysbetween universes nottangential vortex. The metal is thetransition elementfor the construction ofArtifact Vessels.

Donnie Darko is one of the most complicated movies ever made. We explain here. (5)

(Video) Donnie Darko Explained: The Ending & What It Meant

Some important terms that require explanation here. Roberta Sparrow's book states that Water and Metal are the two essential objects for time travel. This has more weight in fantastic and mythical lines than purely physical. The water here is called both a gateway and a barrier element. In the strictest sense, it simply means that the water will form the 'tunnel' for inter-universal travel, while the metal will be the component element of the vessel that will travel through the 'tunnel'/portal. This explanation is again supported by two very specific instances in the movie.

First, somewhere in the middle of the film, Donnie, in a trance-like state (when sleepwalking), attempts to stab Frank in what would be his eye, but the knife strikes a "liquid"-like surface and is knocked over. stops. , creating "ripples". ' on the surface. It's safe to assume that Frank (or the appearance of him) is stuck in a time travel scenario. This theory, however, will gain more clarity as we establish who Frank the rabbit really is and his role in Donnie's ordeal. No points to guess what metal is here.

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The second instance is when Donnie suddenly sees a circular sphere of supposedly surreal liquid material emerging from his (and his father and sister's) chest as the solar plexus, as if defining a path this person would travel or follow. The same is corroborated when, the next day, Donnie questions Dr. Monnitoff about the nature of a time-traveling object, questioning whether time, as predestined as it is by God himself, if physically and visually accessible should make may our future be predictable and changeable, calling this path or the aforementioned solar plexus the 'Time Channel'. 'God', in what is easily the best and most intense conversation of the entire film, effortlessly toying between religion, God, and questions of existence itself and the fated nature of time.

Or Live Recipient

Oliving recipientis chosen to guide theArtifact in position for its return trip to the Prime Universe. No one knows how or why a receiver will be chosen. The Live receiver is often blessed withFourth Dimensional Powers. These include increased strength, telekinesis, mind control, and the ability to conjure fire and water. The Live Receiver is oftenplagued by terrifying dreams, visions and auditory hallucinationsduring his time within the Tangent Universe. Those who surround the Living Receiver, known as themanipulated, will fear it and try to destroy it.

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Now, it wouldn't take much of a genius to guess that in our story, Donnie Darko is the Living Receiver tasked with returning the artifact to the main universe to prevent said doomsday (the Final Mission, as stated above). Everyone around him and with whom Donnie interacts is called the 'Manipulated'. In the most literal sense, these people are the ones who are unaware of the parallel reality or tangent universe and are being "manipulated" to exist and live as if nothing is wrong.

It's almost unclear, with Donnie being the living recipient, how or where he manifests his fourth-dimensional powers, and those are the interesting parts. His ability to conjure fire is demonstrated when he burns down Jim Cunningham's house. Coming to a close, when Donnie fulfills his destiny as a living receiver, he sends the plane's engine back to the prime universe and prevents the black hole from being created in the first place. He achieves this by conjuring a portal of water and directing the redline engine of the plane that accidentally has his mother and sister on board, through the portal using his telekinesis while watching the vortex engulfing his home and town from a scenic distance. thus fulfilling its objective. destination as the Living Recipient.

(Video) DONNIE DARKO | The Meaning and Philosophy | EXPLAINED

to manipulated life

Omanipulated lifethey are often close friends and neighbors of the Live Receiver. They are prone to irrational, bizarre, and often violent behavior. This is the unfortunate result of his task, which is to help the Living Receiver return the Artifact to the Prime Universe. Manipulated Life will do anything to save itself from oblivion.

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The manipulated are more of both types, living and dead, and by extension, easily distinguishable. Donnie's parents and sisters, her friends, teachers, psychotherapist, and everyone she interacts with directly or indirectly fall into this category. Unknowingly, they have the responsibility of guiding the Living Receiver (Donnie) on his mission to send the artifact back in time in a pre-arranged sequence of events, through their actions and conversations influencing Donnie to follow a certain path in a certain way. manner. This influence, of course, is very indirect and almost imperceptible, but for the big picture, if you take it into account. A concrete example of this is when Donnie's English teacher, Donnie's English teacher, mysteriously points him to a "Basement Door", simply saying it as a term from a linguist who fascinated her the most or Dr. Monitoff delivering to Donnie the book written by Roberta Sparrow about time travel. Whether or not this set of events is actually pre-engineered is a question for another day, but for now, let's just explain the events and lingo of the movie.

The manipulated dead

Omanipulated deadthey are more powerful than the Live Receiver. If a person dies inside the Tangent Universe, he is able tocontact the Living Receiver through the Construct of the Fourth Dimension. The Construct of the Fourth Dimension is made of Water.The Manipulated Dead will manipulate the Living Receiver to use the Fourth Dimensional Construct. The Manipulated Dead often establish ainsurance trapfor the Living Recipient to ensure the Artifact is safely returned to the Prime Universe. If the Security Trap is successful, the Live Receiver is left withthere is no choice but to use your fourth dimensional powerto send the Artifact back in time to the Prime Universe before the Black Hole collapses in on itself.

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The Manipulated Dead could very well be the key to the Ultimate Quest as outlined above. The only property that sets them apart from the manipulated life, other than the obvious, is their awareness of rubber reality, and thus their ability to modify that rubber reality, allowing them to directly influence thoughts and actions. Donnie's. The safest way to do this is a security trap, the answer to why things turned out the way they did and if and to what extent they were really supposed to turn out the way they did. From there, the manipulated life becomes and operates more or less as pawns in the larger scheme of things. In case it wasn't clear, Frank the rabbit and Gretchen Ross are the manipulated dead, whose actions after they no longer live in the tangent universe can directly affect what Donnie did, and more importantly, how he did it. .

Frank in the film is actually the boyfriend of Donnie's older sister, Elizabeth, who is absent from the Halloween party at Darko's to buy beer. By the way, he is also present in the car that hit and killed Gretchen. When confronting Donnie, Frank is shot in the eye (the reason Frank the rabbit has a 'glowing' eye) when Donnie is consumed with anger over Gretchen's death, while Frank wears the same scary rabbit mask and costume than Donnie. . Donnie's dreams. The theory here, and as suggested above, is that Frank, after being killed in the tangent universe, became aware of the rubbery reality and was able to manipulate it. However, his role in the tangent universe was only meant to lead Donnie or the Living Receiver to his fate and save the primary universe from the end of the world.

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(Video) Donnie Darko | Literally Me

He does this by setting security traps, and therefore everything Frank Rabbit does or tells Donnie to do: from waking him up to get him away from the plane engine that crashed into his room, to asking Donnie to destroy the main , flooding the school and vandalizing school property, allowing him to meet Gretchen, burning down Jim Cunningham's house, leading to his arrest in a child pornography ring, leading to Kitty Farmer shooting his defense and ask Donnie's mother to accompany the Sparkle Motion dance troupe (also having Donnie's sister Samantha, who later travels back in a plane whose engine Donnie starts and transports to the Prime Universe), to write a letter to Roberta Sparrow allowing him to be in the exact place desired at the time desired by Gretchen (and himself). ) to be killed, leaving him no choice but to flee the city and do what he must. All of them are carefully crafted Guarantee Traps that make it increasingly necessary for Donnie to take action and fulfill his destiny as Prime Receiver, in order to send the artifact back in time to the main universe.


WhenAwaken manipulated from his trip to the tangent universe., They are oftenhaunted by the experience in your dreams. Many of them will not remember. Those who remember the trip are often overcome with deep remorse for the regrettable actions buried in their dreams, the only physical evidence buried in the artifact itself; all that remains of the lost world. The ancient myth tells of the Mayan warrior killed by an arrowhead that fell from a cliff, where there was no army, no enemy to be found. It is said that the Medieval Knight was mysteriously impaled by the sword that he had not yet made. We are told that these things happen for a reason.

Donnie Darko is one of the most complicated movies ever made. We explain here. (11)

While there may be no concrete answers to the mysteries of the aforementioned mythos, the writer-director vaguely attempts to answer them, at least in theory. After Donnie sends the artifact into the primary universe just before the end of Frank's doomsday timer, the tangent universe collapses without the creation of the apocalyptic black hole. The events of the last 28 days flash back and Donnie wakes up in his room on the night of October 2, 1988, the day it all started. In the primary universe, which has to mirror the tangent universe to remove the anomaly, the plane engine Donnie placed in the primary universe falls from his ceiling into his bedroom, killing Donnie, who laughs just before bed, having fulfilled his mission. he fate and he is no longer afraid of dying alone. The next day, the people whose lives Donnie would have affected had they been alive as in the tangent universe, wake up to strange visions mixed with the fragments of memories left in their heads only to be later dismissed as mere dreams.

last word

Donnie Darko is one of the most complicated movies ever made. We explain here. (12)

'Donnie Darko' is such a dense film with scientifically and thematically rich ideas, only hampered by its running time limitation of nearly 140 minutes. However, for this very precise reason, I see the beauty in its ambiguity. There can be no single concrete explanation for this film, let alone one in a single screening, and much of it, especially the theatrical cut, is left for audiences to ponder and decipher as they please. It is this same ambiguity that keeps the film and the discussions about its plot and themes alive even seventeen years after its release, making it a cult film in every way.

The writer-director, apart from telling an interesting science fiction story, also manages to introduce here some interesting parallels between science fiction, mythology, religion, the existence of God himself and the act of predestining time. Ideas that may seem too magnanimous in nature to seek answers directly, but still, the film sticks to the philosophy: what's wrong with asking, even if there aren't any definitive answers?

Read more in Explanations:Begin|Predestination|primer

(Video) DONNIE DARKO: Is It Deep or Dumb? – Wisecrack Edition


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