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: 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

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: 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: 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: 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.

Question: Where did that engine comes from which causes Donnie's death? If he had returned the engine to the PU than how could the plane crash when his sister and mother were still in their room? And Just Before Donnie died why did he laugh? Was it because of his awareness of what's gonna happen in the future?

Towhid Chowdhury Faiaz

Chosen answer: His mother and sister didn't need to be on the plane for it to crash and the engine traveled back in time regardless of whether Donnie was in his room or not. But by staying in his room to die, Donnie saved his mother's and sister's lives since they cancelled their trip on account of his death, and prevented many other deaths. The one downside seems to be that the child pornographer would remain uncaught, but 10 days after the PU is restored, he commits suicide by shooting himself in the head.

Phixius

Question: Near the end of the movie, when the characters are seen reacting to Donnie's death,what is Kitty Farmer's hand resting on?

Chosen answer: Her bed.

Question: When Gretchen arrives at Donnie's party she says that her mother was killed or committed suicide. Since Donnie was the guardian of the engine and it may have been necessary for Gretchen to be there,is it possible that Donnie killed Gretchen's mother?

Chosen answer: No, it is not confirmed that Gretchen's mother died. She has simply disappeared, and her house is messed up. It can be concluded that Gretchen's violent step-father may have found her mother and hurt her in some way.

Question: Two questions I had about the cellar at the end. What was the point of Donnie and his friends going to the cellar towards the end? Was he looking for something in particular? And the second thing was why were those bullies from school there at the same time? Did it have something to do with the story told in the film about how kids would try to steal stuff from Sparrow's house?

Lummie

Chosen answer: By going to the cellar, Donnie has continued to set in motion the events that will return the engine to his proper time. He burns down Jim Cunningham's house, which causes Kitty to be at his trial, which causes Donnie's Mom to take the kids to California, which causes her to take the earlier flight causing the engine to fall back through the portal to the normal universe. In much the same way, his Mom had to leave so they could have a party, which is where Donnie and Gretchen make/fall in love. He takes her to that house to talk to Roberta Sparrow, and it is when he notices the cellar door that the events unfold to motivate him. If Donnie lives, Gretchen dies. He must sacrifice himself to return time to normal so that Gretchen will live. The boys were taking stuff from Roberta's house as referenced earlier in the movie, but played a key role in the events unfolding correctly.

Jazetopher

Question: Why was the universe ending? I have watched the movie several times and I cannot find an explanation.

Chosen answer: Donnie ended one universe/timeline by going back in time to save his girlfriend. The new one effectively started with his death.

Grumpy Scot

Question: Donnie's purpose was to ensure that that the engine fell into the primary universe by sending his mother and sister on the plane. Why was it so important that his mother had to board the plane? Wouldn't it have gone down without her anyway?

Chosen answer: No they didn't have to be on the plane and it would have gone down without her but Donnie and his sister had to have the party for the remaining events to work. In burning down Cunningham's house, Kitty would have to stay behind and help Cunningham. This would ensure Donnie's mother would therefore leave and the remaining events could occur.

Lummie

Question: In the Director's Cut, there is a scene where Drew Barrymore tells the students they will be reading Watership Down instead of The Destructors but there have been copies of The Destructors reserved at the Mall. She then turns to Donnie and says "perhaps you and Frank could read it together". Does she know about Frank and if not what does she mean by this?

Chosen answer: There is a cut scene in which Donnie reads a poem he wrote in front of the class and he mentions Frank. Drew asks who Frank is and he states he's a 6 foot tall bunny rabbit. That is how Drew knows about Frank and since Watership Down's main characters are rabbits, this reference to Frank is appropriate.

Question: Why does Frank have Donnie burn the guy's house down, when at the end, Donnie goes back in time, dies, and therefore cannot burn the guy's house down?

Chosen answer: Frank tells Donnie to burn down Cunningham's house because then Cunningham's kiddie porn dungeon will be discovered and he will be put on trial. If he's on trial, Kitty must be at his arraignment and cannot escort the dance team to Los Angeles, so Rose goes with them instead. Rose chooses to come home with the team on a different flight than Kitty would have chosen, and if they hadn't been on that flight the flight wouldn't have occurred (we don't know why not, but if it happened anyway Donnie wouldn't be necessary, and he obviously is or Frank wouldn't have called upon him). Because Rose takes the flight, the airplane engine passes through the portal and falls into Donnie's bedroom back in the original universe, closing the time loop.

Phoenix

Question: why was it the end of the world? what caused it to be the end of the world, and why did it change simply because donnie changed it so he died when he should have? how did the actions caused by him being alive amount to the end of the world?

Chosen answer: The "end of the world" refers to the end of the alternate universe Donnie enters when Frank summons him out of bed at the beginning of the movie. The alternative universe will only last until the airplane engine is returned to the normal universe and Donnie dies. Donnie sets in motion events that lead to the airplane engine falling through a portal to the normal universe, and when it finally returns he defaults to his place at the exact point when Frank summoned him out of there to guard the engine.

Phoenix

Question: Why does Frank go back in time anyway, if it will result in him dying(saving Donnie) and how did HE time-travel? And why does he urge Donnie to do all those violent things?

Chosen answer: Frank never goes back in time. In a special feature on the DVD called The Philosophy of Time Travel, there is an extensive discussion of what happens when an object slips out of the proper time continuum through randomly occurring portals. Forces exist to ensure that the object has a human guardian, whose responsibility it is to return the object to a portal in time that will send it back to the proper continuum, often sacrificing the life of the guardian. Frank, in the movie, is both a rather unimportant human figure and the adopted face of the force guiding Donnie to his destiny (returning the airplane engine) that exists outside of either time continuum and can speak to the inhabitants at will. The only thing he directly tells Donnie to do is to burn down Cunningham's house, which results in Cunningham's trial and causes Rose to take Kitty's place escorting the dance team to LA, and Rose chooses to take an earlier flight home. This is the only way the airplane engine would have been in the portal to be returned to the proper continuum. The other violent things Donnie did were merely satisfying his own issues with school, his girlfriend, and her death.

Phoenix

Question: What film/text/person does Kitty Farmer confuse with Graham Greene when she replies to Rose Darko: 'I think we've all seen Bonanza.'?

Chosen answer: Lorne Greene was the star of Bonanza which aired regularly from 1959 until 1973. He played Ben Cartwright, the wise widowed father of Adam, Hoss, and Little Joe.

Myridon

Question: At the end, when Mad World is playing and it shows the FAA people talking, is one of them Jon Stewart? He isn't listed in the credits, but I am quite sure of it.

Chosen answer: It's not Jon Stewart. I saw the guy you were talking about but you can see his chin is a bit longer than Jon Stewart. Added to that he is not credited or uncredited on the film's listing on IMDB.

Lummie

Question: What was the whole point of the girls doing that dance number at the show?

Chosen answer: The show was a talent quest held by the school, and lots of students entered. The woman with glasses, shown in the audience a couple of times (she nods during the girls' performance) is a talent scout from the show where the girls perform, when they fly to California. They have just received the news of their selection to perform on the show when the other news about Jim Cunningham comes in (we see Kitty Farmer jubilant, as the secretary brings the newspaper over to her).

STP

Question: How did Donnie actually travel back in time, I just didn't understand this.

Chosen answer: He returned to the place he started the film at. He somehow knew that that is the place he had to be to catch the wormhole express back in time.

Grumpy Scot

Question: After Donnie has gone back to the start of the loop, he lets himself be hit by the jet engine, presumably to save Gretchen, Frank and everyone else whose life he screwed up in the alternate future. What I don't understand is, since he knows what's going to happen and can see the path (literally) in front of him, why doesn't he try to change it? If he knew what was coming he could save Gretchen without dying himself.

Shay

Chosen answer: There are a couple reasons. One, the whole timeloop where Gretchen dies is the result of him surviving the jet engine incident. If he were to survive it, everything will happen again including Gretchen's death. He gave himself up for her. The other reason could be, that he is happy and not sure if it is a dream, so he just lets it happen (this is said in the commentary).

XIII

Question: What is the point of the chinese girl? I've watched the film and can't quite figure out what she does with the plot, especially when Donnie grabs her face and says "Everything will be better for you".

Chosen answer: Throughout the film, themes of alienation and disillusionment are prominent - an illustration of the alternate universe plotline. Cherita is that theme manifested in a very visible sense - people make fun of her, reject her, and she obviously doesn't fit in.

Phoenix

Question: What is the ending actually about. I think that when the plane engine goes through Donnies room, he dies and the rest of the film is him in a time loop seeing what would have happened but didn't because he died. Frank and most of the characters are vague memories from the last loop, kind of like de-ja-vu, but i'm not sure, so could someone tell me what the actual story is?

Chosen answer: Something, in the form of Frank the rabbit, altered his destiny. Perhaps some benevolent force, we aren't told and it's never made clear, began the time loop. He lived a tangent and fell in love with his girlfriend. He realized in this tangent, that she died, so he went to where the loop began to start it again, sacrificing himself to save his girlfriend.

Grumpy Scot

Share

Follow

Add something

Share

Follow

Most popular pages

Best movie mistakesBest mistake picturesBest comedy movie quotesMovies with the most mistakesNew this monthTitanic mistakesSaw mistake pictureThat '70s Show mistakesMurder on the Orient Express endingThe Book of Life questionsSex and the City triviaHow the Grinch Stole Christmas quotesChunhyang plotWill Ferrell movies & TV showsThe 15 biggest mistakes in The Wizard of OzMoana mistake video

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!

More...

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.

More...

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. Near the end of the film, we see Frank touch his eye after Donnie dies. Both of these are forward memories of pain: one of the deleted scenes features how Donnie dies - a pole goes through his stomach right where he clutches it. And where does Donnie shoot Frank? All together now - the eye.

More...

Follow