Donnie Darko

Question: What is the music track that plays during the scene where Donnie is talking to Frank in the bathroom inter-cut with the teacher complaining about the book being read to the students?

Dra9onBorn117

Chosen answer: Song: Manipulated Living. Composer: Michael Andrews.

Question: In the very last scene (I have only seen the original version, not the Director's cut), a crowd is gathered outside the Darko house and Gretchen comes along on a bike and talks to this little blond kid. When she asks him "What happened?", if you listen closely you will realize that the kid's response is not exactly standard English. It sounds, in fact, like complete gibberish, or just possibly something meaningful in a non-English language. What exactly is that kid saying, and what is its significance?

Chosen answer: It is, in fact, English. He says "Got smushed by a jet engine".

Question: In the part of the movie when the science teacher and Drew Barrymore are sitting in the staff room, what does their conversation mean? Science teacher says, "Donnie Darko." and Drew Barrymore says, "I know." What significant plot does this have?

Chosen answer: According to the audio commentary, "they're being manipulated and they are aware that something is going on with this kid and are laughing about it." Director's commentary is very interesting.

Nikki

Question: Couldn't the events of the movie have been avoided if Frank just let Donnie get hit by the jet engine and die from the beginning instead of waking him up and taking him out of his room?

sccrkeepa00

Chosen answer: In short: no. Because of the films themes of wormholes, time travel, alternative dimensions/parallel universes and meta-physics the events of the film had to happen the way the did or else they wouldn't have happened at all! It's very difficult to wrap your head around but it's one of the many many paradoxes caused by time travel (cause and effect becoming effect and cause).

Sanguis

Question: If Donnie was supposed to die anyway, why did Frank call him out of his house at the beginning? Please don't say it was his schizophrenia and the fact that he is "prone to wander at night", because it IS Frank who calls him out, he doesn't get up on his own.

Chosen answer: Frank calls Donnie out because the airplane engine has fallen through a portal into an alternate universe, and at some point during his sleepwalk Frank guides Donnie through another portal to move him to the alternate universe (from the movie theatre we know that Frank can make portals at will). Frank appoints Donnie to be the guardian of the engine and make sure it falls through the alternate universe's portal into the original universe. Donnie cannot be allowed to die until the engine is escorted into the second portal, but if he dies before then the engine never reaches the second portal and remains in the alternate universe, causing the original universe to unravel. Once he and the engine return, he must die because his experiences of the alternate universe predict the future, potentially causing paradoxes.

Phoenix

Question: The scene where they are watching a Washington Redskins game on TV, shows Doug Williams throwing a pass in slow motion and it looks like they are losing the game. In the timeline this game is played before October 18, 1988. The only game which he played in and lost that year was against the N.Y. Giants on Monday night to start the season so I could not place the date or opponent of the game that was airing in the scene. Who/when was it?

Chosen answer: Several key factors in determining which game it was. The commentator said, in regards to the Redskins it's been a disappointing "night for the Super Bowl champions", meaning this game took place in 1989, since the Redskins won the Super Bowl in '88. Additionally, he said "Mark Rypien has some big shoes to fill." Rypien took over the starting QB role in '89 over the Super Bowl MVP Williams. The slow motion shot was probably a Super Bowl highlight. Given this was a night game with the Redskins missing a field goal, it was the Nov 20, 1989 game vs Denver Broncos where the Redskins lost 10-14.

Bishop73

Question: It might just be in my head, but, at the end, when Gretchen talks to Donnie's mom, it seems like they knew each other or their 'conversation' had a deeper meaning. Does it really?

Flamedeiros

Chosen answer: The characters who died in the first running of time are known as the "manipulated dead" who were required to die to fix the hole in time. So although when the hole is closed at the end and the characters didn't die because time has been altered, they can't remember anything that happened, but supposedly have some kind of recognition for each other as the events were like a dream to them.

Question: Does anyone have any thoughts on why at the very end of the credits, the national anthem is played? I found it interesting, i just wonder if someone else has any theories on how this ties in with the movie.

musikkjunkkiee

Chosen answer: Back in the 80's most channels went off the air at a certain time at night. Right before the channel went off it would play the national anthem then go to static. This is an obvious homage to the 80's (twice the TV Donnie's dad is watching is showing static, indictating that the channel had gone off the air).

Question: What is the creepy opera-esque music playing when Donnie sees Frank in the movie theatre called? I can't find it in the soundtrack.

Chosen answer: The track is called "For Whom The Bell Tolls" and it's composed by Steve Baker and sung by Carmen Daye. You're right, it's not on the soundtrack but it can be found through a search engine.

Question: After watching "Donnie Darko" I watched another film which also featured a character identical to Frank. He too appeared in the dreams of the lead role and had all the traits of Frank. I am pretty sure it was not the film "Harvey", as I do not believe it was a film as old as that. Can anyone help me identify what the other film was?

Chosen answer: I believe this film may have been 'Sexy beast' starring Ray Winstone. It's a British film, and is even listed on the IMDb as similar to Donnie Darko in this sense. In 'Sexy Beast' a human height sized bunny rabbit stalks the dreams of the lead character, played by Ray.

Question: What was the significance of Frank wearing the rabbit suit? Was it because the face was supposed to stick in Donnie's mind so he'd remember what he had to do? I can't think of any logical reason why he'd have to wear the suit to accomplish his mission.

Chosen answer: According to the DVD special features, people who die in the alternate universe (the Manipulated Dead) have more power and self-awareness than those who live throughout. The supernatural force that appoints Donnie to end the alternate universe adopts Frank's face because a) he wants a form that Donnie can interact with and b) as a Manipulated Dead Frank has more understanding of what is going on and maybe wants to help. The costume is necessary because it's an essential part of Frank's character as a dead person - it's what he was wearing when he died - and also because it's so alien Donnie will understand that he's dealing with things beyond normal ken.

Phoenix

Question: When Donnie is talking to his teacher, he says that he can't continue the conversation because he could lose his job. Why? Does this have anything significant to do with the plot?

Chosen answer: Donnie is attending a private religious school (thus the uniforms and the fact that a former teacher, Ms. Sparrow, was a nun) and if his science teacher continued his explanation he would be teaching against the conservative religious curriculum.

Question: I understand that Frank is part of the manipulated dead and I also understand that he does not travel through time, but rather manipulates it as it happens. This leads me to ask, how was it possible for Frank to guide Donnie before Donnie kills him? Is this implying that the loop has happens over and over until Donnie gets it 'right' and sacrifices himself?

Chosen answer: No, the timeline is not a loop. Frank's death is just bound to happen and he is supposed to make sure Donnie kills him, after accidentally killing the girl. That is the "trap" as they call it. To make sure that Donnie is forced to fix the universe and saves everyone.

Question: I didn't understand where the engine that killed Donnie at the end of the movie came from. This plane belonged to the tangent universe right? So when Donnie gets back to his room where all has started, he gets back to the real world. Is this engine a residue from the tangent universe? Because they say in the movie that no plane has lost an engine in the real universe.

Chosen answer: Yes the engine has come from the tangent universe or the alternate future so to speak. The reason they have trouble finding the engine is because it hasn't happened yet and it has entered a corruption in the universe. With that in mind the key difference from the start of the film to the end is that Donnie managed to send the engine through the wormhole as opposed to the engine entering the corruption at the start of the film.

Lummie Premium member

Question: In the short scenes following Donnie's death, many of the characters are shown reacting to his death, I think. Why is Patrick Swayze crying? Does it have something to do with his regret of participating in child pornography?

Chosen answer: It is either from the regret of participating in child pornography or guilt from having thoughts about it in the first place. (Since Donnie's Death 'reversed' many events, Swayze's character may have never actually made the room, etc.)

Shipper

Question: So let me get this straight. After reading the questions and answers, and scratching my head for a while, I concluded this, after the corruption occurs and the jet engine enters it. The universes unravel because of the corruption. So to fix it these "time travelers" decide to give a reason for the engine to fall through the wormhole by making Donnie send it through, thus fixing the corruption. Is this even on track? I saw somebody say something cause and effect. So could this be simplified by saying they made it have a cause for the effect or vice versa in their universe to save it? I feel like there has to be some kind of time always has a flow and can't be interrupted kind of thing, but I'm really not smart enough to adequately understand that. Somebody also mentioned something about the events had to happen a certain way or they didn't happen at all. I may have misinterpreted what the person meant by that, but I would like to share my take on that. It's funny cause the only credibility to that is the film portrays the characters reacting oddly at the end (you know what instances I'm referring to). However, if this wouldn't happen then it would open up an infinitely large door of possibilities. Events like in this movie could occur everyday, but we don't remember. I could imagine, tons of scenarios and they all be credible and unprovable either way. I think it would have been cool to go in that direction cause you could have an infinite number of different Donnie Darko movies, but that's just my thoughts. If you get what I'm trying to say here. It's weird to think about cause it seems there's no purpose to think like that, but is there a purpose if your thinking about it in the first place? What is that purpose, that is the real question? I apologize in advance if this is too lengthy.

Chosen answer: It is a matter of interpretation, but I don't necessarily subscribe to the idea that Donnie or anyone is causing the jet engine to time travel - he causes his mother and sister to be on the plane, but not the storm or wormhole. Rather, he is simply experiencing the time loop and eventually understanding that it will end in his death.

Question: I don't recall Gretchen ever meeting Rose, yet they seem to recognise each other at the end. Is it implied that they had met in the TU?

Chosen answer: They don't recognize each other specifically. Gretchen knows Rose as a woman whose son just died, and Rose might just assume Gretchen is a neighbor. It's possible that they feel some connection, but it is not made explicit.

Question: So if Frank is Elizabeth's boyfriend we can assume they've met before right? Does that mean when Frank takes off his mask during the Evil Dead screening Donnie recognises him? Does Donnie now know who Frank is, or does he believe he is just some random guy from the future?

Chosen answer: Frank and Donnie have never met in the film. There were many near brushes where they could have ended up meeting, but as one of the Manipulated it was necessary for Donnie not to know who Frank was so that later on he would not hesitate to shoot Frank in the eye. This is complicated when you recognize that Donnie does see Frank in the movie theatre. But right before we meet the still-alive Frank, Donnie whispers "Deus ex machina" which is a plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly resolved by the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability or object. Donnie understands at that point what he has to do. If he had known before that Frank was Elizabeth's boyfriend, even this understanding might have caused him not to shoot, which in turn would have cause the Frank-ghost to disappear. That would have been detrimental to the film, since as the Manipulated Dead Frank-ghost had the job of pushing Donnie into doing what was needed to return to an intact timeline.

Question: Gretchen and Frank are both manipulated dead, but why is it that other people can see Gretchen, yet no one can see Frank and he's known as Donnie's 'imaginary friend'?

Chosen answer: According to Roberta Sparrow's book, Frank is an example of the Manipulated Dead. Apparently, those who die within the confines of the Tangent Universe are given some level of knowledge of the catastrophe to come and serve to some extent as the Chosen One's guide. There seems to be some variation in the level of understanding given to the Manipulated Dead; Gretchen, for example, the other Manipulated Dead, seems to have an inkling that something terrible is going to happen but doesn't have the detailed comprehension Frank does. Nor does Gretchen's spirit appear to Donnie behind any kind of watery barrier. Nor does she dress up in a bunny suit. (Taken directly from www.ftvstudy.com/page9/page33/page33.html).

Question: It isn't that important to the plot but what does the back of the bus say? The second word looks like "rules" but I can't distinguish the "M" word.

Chosen answer: The writing on the window of the bus says "Mongrels rule". That is the name of the school mascot statue, a mongrel.

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More for Donnie Darko

Quotes

Donnie: Life isn't that simple. I mean who cares if Ling Ling returns the wallet and keeps the money? It has nothing to do with either fear or love.
Kitty Farmer: Fear and love are the deepest of human emotions.
Donnie: Okay. But you're not listening to me. There are other things that need to be taken into account here. Like the whole spectrum of human emotion. You can't just lump everything into these two categories and then just deny everything else!

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Mistakes

When Cherita makes her mark on the lifeline blackboard, there are some smudges on the broad chalk line. In the next shot, the line is perfect again.

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Trivia

When Donnie is about to enter the car with Gretchen near the end of the film, he clutches at his stomach as if in pain, and we see Frank touch his eye after Donnie dies. Both these moments foreshadow pain: a deleted scene of Donnie's death shows a pole impaling his stomach right where he clutched it. And Donnie shoots Frank in the eye.

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