During the presidential election of 1988, a teenager named Donnie Darko sleepwalks out of his house one night, and sees a giant, demonic-looking rabbit named Frank, who tells him the world will end in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes, and 12 seconds. He returns home the next morning to find that a jet engine has crashed through his bedroom. As he tries to figure out why he survived and tries to deal with people in his town, like the school bully, his conservative health teacher, and a self-help guru, Frank continues to turn up in Donnie’s mind, causing him to commit acts of vandalism and worse.
I enjoyed this film whilst I watched it but since it finished I have found myself mulling over fragments of the story and trying to make sense of it all, in fact I would have put the film on here as a 3 star film if it weren’t for the fact that the entertainment value isn’t purely in watching the film, but rather in the eventual interpretation of the highly complex story line. One thing is for sure, you wont come across a film with a plot like this one too many times and I am definitely going to have to watch it again to try and fill in the gaps I cant fathom from the first viewing.
So, what’s it all about then? I wish I could answer that question and believe my own answer, lets give it a go though.
Its about Donnie played by Jake Gyllenhaal, who is saved from a falling jet engine by a 6 foot rabbit and then led by the said rabbit on a crime spree, vandalizing his school and burning down houses, etc before saving the world by creating a wormhole to return the jet engine to where it was supposed to be in time and getting killed by the very same jet engine shortly afterward.
Does that make sense to you? Good, it didn’t to me either :)
You really have to go very deep into the thick and murky plot created by the director and writer Richard Kelly before it starts to make any sense at all. Essentially it’s a time travel story in which a corruption has occurred in “normal” time causing an artifact from the future to suddenly appear in the present i.e. the jet engine. Unfortunately for everyone on the planet, this event means the world will now end in 28 days, what a bummer. Donnie was saved from being crushed by the artifact by Frank (he’s the 6 foot rabbit) who is in turn from the future and is there to manipulate Donnie into understanding how to create a wormhole and create an event in the past to explain how a jet engine could suddenly land in his bedroom. This wormhole is used to return the jet engine to the correct time and … what am I doing… I cant explain this any more than I can explain quantum physics.
I guess you will all have to watch this film and make up your own minds what its about because I doubt any two people would see the same story.
UPDATE 22 Jan 2006
I have watched it again and now I get it! Frank the six foot rabbit is the voice of God! There are so many references to this in the film, I can’t believe I missed it the first time round. For instance, when Donnie is talking to his science teacher about time travel he is told that opening a wormhole would require an act of God, then in the cinema Frank opens a wormhole in the cinema screen.