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Donnie Darko DVD. My take on the film. (WARNING: SPOILERS!)

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#1 of 5 OFFLINE   Raul_H



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Posted March 20 2002 - 01:42 PM

Note: I put this post in the Software section because I discuss the deleted scenes that are present on the DVD. Ok so I sat and watched Donnie Darko on DVD then I sat and watched it again with the Directors commentary and then I sat and watch all the supplemental material with an especial interest in the deleted scenes. Then I spent the remainder of the day sorting out my thoughts on this movie to figure out what I had just seen. So here goes... Observation #1 ============== Ok when Donnie and the Science teacher are discussing time travel Donnie tries to explain to the teacher that if we travelled into the future we would see that we all follow a set time line because we have these beings (Those Abyss like creatures flowing from their chests) unknown to us manipulating our actions to follow this set time line. The teacher explains to Donnie that he is contradicting himself because if we could travel forward in time and see our future laid out before us we could then travel back and purposely not follow what we had seen. That is create our own path. Freewill. Donnie then tries to explain that it would not matter because these beings would still manipulate us to eventually get us back on track. That there is a higher being/entity that would not allow it no matter what. The Science Teacher then ends the conversation from fear that he is crossing into dangerous ground (ie; Religion) and would lose his job. Observation #2 ============== When Donnie sleepwalks out of his bedroom prior to the Jet Engine crashing into his room an alternate path/reality is created that was not meant to be. That is Donnie was supposed to have died but he didn't. (Maybe his guide fell asleep on the job? Or as the saying goes "Shit Happens?) Dead Frank then shows up to set things back on track. (Here I am guessing Dead Frank is one of the higher being's right hand men in making sure that this kind of thing is fixed). So Dead Frank then sets out on manipulating Donnie into setting up the chain of events that lead to the Jet Engine crashing into his bedroom and at the same time showing Donnie the terrible events that will take place if he does not die. Namely Gretchen getting run over which leads Donnie to shooting Frank in the eye. So when Donnie is laying in his bed the second time and awakens from the his dream/alternate reality he just lays in bed smiling because he is content in knowing that his death is required to set things right. Which explains why Dead Frank tells Donnie that the world will end in 28 or so days. That is the world that Donnie created when he slept walked out of his room and didn't die. That alternate world/reality that was not meant to be will cease to exist with his death. I attempted to sort this part out by thinking of a scenario similiar to this idea presented in Donnie Darko. Let us say that someone was given a time machine to travel back in time. Now let's say that this person chose to use this time machine to go back in time and assassinate Adolf Hitler as a youth. Now if the Time Traveler suceeds then our world would cease to exist. That is if Adolf Hitler was killed and had not been able to do his thing then an entirely new timeline would begin at that moment due to his death. Observation #3 ============== As far as the rest of the cast of characters in the story they seem to just be pawns that are manipulated by Donnie into setting off the chain of events for the Jet Engine crash. Yet they are all affected by Donnies death at the end. They all awaken from the reality that has been destroyed by Donnies death as if it were some really bad dream. Perhaps it all seemed so real to them because the moment they all awakened, that was the intersecting point where they were veered back onto their destined path. Such as Patrick Swayzes character crying because from his perspective all he saw was that in his nightmare/alternate reality his house burned down and he was found to be involved in child pornography. Or Donnies therapist waking up from her nightmare highly disturbed that she would have such a horrible and highly detailed dream about one of her patients. The DVD futher explores this point when in one of the deleted scenes Donnie and Gretchen are in an Arcade playing video games and Donnie explains to her that his dreams are like having an extremely vivid dream, then waking up and remembering everything about that dream but the moment after awakening the dream immediately begins to fade so that the next day or even moments later you may remember bits and pieces of the dream but about what you are never quite sure. That is why the next day when Gretchen rides by the Darko house and sees the accident she somehow feels something when she akwardly waves to Donnies mother. Something was there but it's all begun to fade away like a dream. Last few Observations ===================== When Donnie sleepwalks out of his bedroom and does not die is it not because Dead Frank was calling him? I've read opinions that if Dead Frank would not have called him the Jet Engine would have killed him. But it was because Dead Frank called him and then manipulated him that Donnie set all the events off so that the Jet Engine crashed into his bedroom. Perhaps Donnie was supposed to die another way in his sleep but didn't so one of the higher beings right hand men had to go back in time and setup up this whole Dead Frank/Jet Engine scenario to set things back on course. It all seems quite Rube Goldberg-ian for sure. I am still not quite sure how to figure this one out for myself. It certainly is confusing when dealing with stories on time travel. One deleted sequence I wish they would have left into the film was the watership down scene. It certainly sheds a bit of light on the whole Dues Ex Machina idea and in another deleted sequence at the end there is a small clip where Donnie walks into his kitchen and and sees how happy his family is when he is not around. I hear alot of people complaining about the cover art for the DVD and I agree it sucks. But the insert provided is the original poster art and slides nicely into the front of the DVD making for a very nice front cover. Well these are my thoughts on the film. Maybe I am way off and someone can help fill in the blanks. Donnie Darko though is a great film and it's pretty rare when a film possesses me so. Any thoughts on your take of the film and the DVD?
"I'm talking about, putting a brick through the other guy's windshield. I'm talking about, taking it out and chopping it up!" -Royal Tenenbaum.

#2 of 5 OFFLINE   Raul_H



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Posted March 20 2002 - 01:50 PM

Shoot I forgot to put the term "SPOILERS" in the threads title.

Can the mods add this please? Posted Image
"I'm talking about, putting a brick through the other guy's windshield. I'm talking about, taking it out and chopping it up!" -Royal Tenenbaum.

#3 of 5 OFFLINE   Paul_D



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Posted March 20 2002 - 01:50 PM

You'll find some quite interesting thoughts on the DVD here.

I haven't seen the movie yet. But from what I've read, I can't wait.
[c]"Where did you take, this girl Jerry?"[/c]

#4 of 5 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted March 20 2002 - 02:26 PM


Note: I put this post in the Software section because I discuss the deleted scenes that are present on the DVD.

Fine, but as Paul notes, there's an existing thread. After looking it over, though, I'm inclined to leave this one as is. The other thread has a lot of pre-release discussion. I added the spoiler warning.

COMPLETE list of my disc reviews.       HTF Rules / 200920102011 Film Lists

#5 of 5 OFFLINE   Jeff_S



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Posted March 29 2003 - 10:09 PM

I just finished watching this incredible film (that this is Richard Kelly's first film makes it even more amazing). Anyway, here's my take: [SPOILER ALERT!] Donnie believes that everyone's destiny is pre-determined by God as his second conversation with the science teacher (paging Dr. Carter) tells us. I believe his experiences are God's way of telling him that you do have a choice. He is given a glimpse of one very unhappy future in which his mother and little sister die in a plane crash, his girlfriend gets run over by a car, he shoots and kills the car's driver, etc.-- all the while Donnie himself is miserable and doubting his own sanity. When time is rewound back at the end of the movie to October 2, 1988, Donnie is given a second chance to change his future. I think Donnie is laughing for two reasons-- because he is relieved that he does in fact have a choice and that his life does not have to be a miserable one (not just for himself, but for his family and friends as well) and because he is amused by the irony of the choice he has to make. As he wrote in his letter to Roberta Sparrow, "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." Despite knowing that the jet engine is about to obliterate his room, he stays in bed and chooses to sacrifice himself so that there is no chance of that horrible future coming about. It's very rare that a movie will invade my mind like Donnie Darko. The last two I can remember are Memento and Magnolia, where even after the movie ends, it keeps resonating.
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