I went to see the 15 year remastered edition of Donnie Darko last night. If you have been living in a cave and have not heard of this movie, it’s about a troubled paranoid schizophrenic teenager named Donnie Darko and his last days in his life as he experiences visions of a giant bunny rabbit named Frank.
In the middle of the night, Frank leads Donnie outside onto a golf course and tells him the world will end in exactly 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes, and 12 seconds. While Donnie is outside, a jet engine from an airplane crashes into his bedroom.
The jet engine seemed to have come out of nowhere and has a matching serial number with one that already exists. Since Frank saved Donnie’s life that night, Donnie feels that he has to obey him and figure out why the world will end. Frank makes Donnie do things such as flood the school by breaking a water main, steal his father’s gun, and burn down a house that belongs to Jim Cunningham.
And then the prince was led into a world of strange and beautiful magic.
Donnie meets a girl, Gretchen Ross, who eventually becomes his girlfriend. Donnie also encounters Roberta Sparrow, or “Grandma Death”, and learns more about the situation. Donnie’s science teacher gives him a book written by Roberta Sparrow called “The Philosophy of Time Travel“. After Donnie’s little sister, Samantha, and her dance crew make it to a competition, Donnie and his older sister, Elizabeth, decide to throw a Halloween party while both parents are out of town.
Six hours before Frank says the world will end, Donnie finally figures out what he is supposed to do to save the world. Donnie and Gretchen both go to Roberta Sparrow’s home and begin to explore. In the process, they are attacked by neighborhood bullies and Gretchen is thrown out into the street. At the same time, Living Frank is driving down the road very fast. He swerves out of the way of Grandma Death, who is still at her mailbox at this time, and runs over Gretchen. Frank steps out of his car, confused by what just happened, and is shot by Donnie in the eye.
Roberta Sparrow walks up to Donnie and says “A storm is coming. You must hurry.” Donnie carries Gretchen, who is now dead, back home and takes his sister’s car. At this point, it is early morning and a funnel cloud is seen forming above his home. Donnie drives, with Gretchen, to a hill and watches the storm form.
The plane that Donnie’s mother and sister are on fly through the storm. The engine is ripped off the plane and is sent back in time 28 days earlier. Donnie can finally be seen laying on his bed, laughing, when shortly after the engine plummets from the sky and through his roof, killing Donnie. The movie then ends with showing many of the characters waking up from what seems to have happened in a dream.
The majority of the movie gives clues and hints to a sequence of events that force Donnie to send the engine back in time 28 days earlier. This sequence is known as the “Ensurance Trap“. The Ensurance Trap is a plan set up by dead Frank, and possibly dead Gretchen, to make sure that Donnie sends the jet engine back in time to save the world. The entire movie is about the Ensurance Trap and how it unravels.
“Why do you wear that stupid bunny suit?”
“Why are you wearing that stupid man suit?”
Why did you make me flood the school?
FRANK We just want to guide you in the right direction.
DONNIE Who is… we?
FRANK You’ll know soon enough.
DONNIE (desperate) Where did you come from?
FRANK (beat) Do you believe in time travel, Donnie?
What is Graham Greene trying to communicate in this passage?
Why do the children break into Old Misery’s house? Joanie.
JOANIE They wanted to rob him.
MS. POMEROY Joanie, if you had actually read the short story… which, at a whopping thirteen pages must have kept you up all night, you would know that the children find a great deal of money hidden in a mattress. But they burn it.
MS. POMEROY (CONT’D) Donnie Darko, perhaps, given your recent brush with mass destruction, you can give us your opinion?
DONNIE Well… they say it right when they are ripping the place to shreds. When they flood the house. That like… destruction is a form of creation. So the fact that they burn the money is… ironic. They just want to see what happens when they tear the world apart.
They want to change things.
DONNIE : I’m sorry. I was in jail once. I accidentally burned down this house. It was abandoned.
I got held back in school again. Can’t drive until I’m eighteen. (babbling) I think when I grow up I want to be a painter. Or maybe a writer or maybe both. Then I’ll write a book and draw the illustrations like a comic book.
You know, change things.
GRETCHEN Donnie Darko is a cool name. Sounds like a superhero.
DONNIE What makes you think I’m not?
Frank: Come… closer.
Smurfette doesn’t fuck.SEAN Bullshit. Smurfette fucks all the other smurfs. That’s why Papa Smurf made her, ’cause the other smurfs were getting too horny.RONALD Not Vanity. He’s a homo.Blam! A bottle shatters.SEAN Then she fucks ’em all while Vanity watches. And Papa Smurf films it. Ronald takes another sip of Night Train… followed by another dry heave.Blam! A bottle breaks.Donnie Darko: First of all, Papa Smurf didn’t create Smurfette. Gargamel did. She was sent in as Gargamel’s evil spy with the intention of destroying the Smurf village. But the overwhelming goodness of the Smurf way of life transformed her. And as for the whole gang-bang scenario – It just couldn’t happen. Smurfs are asexual. They don’t even have reproductive organs under those little white pants. That’s what’s so illogical, you know, about being a Smurf. What’s the point of living… if you don’t have a dick?
Donnie Darko: If God Controlled time, then the time is pre-decided
Frank: Have you ever seen a portal?
Donnie Darko: Frank, when’s this gonna stop?Frank: You should already know that.
Kitty Farmer: Sometimes I doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion!
Donnie Darko: I made a new friend.Dr. Lillian Thurman: Real or imaginary?Donnie Darko: Imaginary.
Donnie Darko: How can you do that?Frank: I can do anything I want. And so can you.
Karen Pomeroy: The children have to save themselves these days because the parents have no clue.
Donnie Darko: I promise that one day, everything’s going to be better for you.
Karen Pomeroy: I don’t think that you have a clue what it’s like to communicate with these kids. We are losing them to apathy… to this prescribed nonsense. They are slipping away.
Donnie Darko: Dear Roberta Sparrow, I have reached the end of your book and… there are so many things that I need to ask you. Sometimes I’m afraid of what you might tell me. Sometimes I’m afraid that you’ll tell me that this is not a work of fiction. I can only hope that the answers will come to me in my sleep. I hope that when the world comes to an end, I can breathe a sigh of relief, because there will be so much to look forward to.
Frank: What the hell were you doing in the middle of the road!?
Donnie Darko: How’s it feel to have a wacko for a son?Rose Darko: It feels wonderful.
Frank: Burn it to the ground.
Gretchen Ross: What if you could go back in time, and take all those hours of pain and darkness and replace them with something better?
Dr. Lillian Thurman: How are things going at school?Donnie Darko: I think about girls a lot.Dr. Lillian Thurman: I asked you about school, Donnie.Donnie Darko: I think about fucking a lot during school
Dr. Lillian Thurman: What did Roberta Sparrow say to you?Donnie Darko: She said, ‘Every living creature on earth dies alone.’
Rose Darko: Do you even know who Graham Greene is?Kitty Farmer: I think we have all seen Bonanza.
Dr. Lillian Thurman: You think the pursuit of God is absurd?Donnie Darko: It is if everyone dies alone.Dr. Lillian Thurman: And are you afraid of that?Donnie Darko: I don’t want to be alone.
Kitty Farmer: OK ? now, girls. I want you to concentrate. Failure is not an option. And Bethany? If you feel the need to vomit up there, just swallow it.
Frank: 28 days… 6 hours… 42 minutes… 12 seconds. That… is when the world… will end.