Donnie Darko Donnie Darko was a 2001 fantasy film. It contained comedy and drama. Darko was a “under the radar” type of film due to its release around September eleventh two thousand one. Since then it has grown in popularity and even inspired many up and coming directors. Donnie Darko has many avenues of interpretation. It touches in the concept of time travel through worm holes, the quantum physics of parallel universe, religion, mental illness, predestination and good vs. evil. The element of God is the theme that ties all of the plots together. Donnie is haunted or blessed with the connection to a higher power.
His vision is that the world will end in twenty eight days. The cycle begins on October second, the night a airplane turbine falls through his bedroom ceiling. This starts Donnie’s journey that will ease his fears about dying alone and lead him to God. Donnie experiences a connection to the evil work of the devil as well as the blessings of God. On a subjective level Donnie seems to be an average high school student with normal deviant behavior. In the film Donnie is diagnosed Paranoid Schizophrenic. This is only the first anomaly which leads viewers to question what Donnie’s reality is.
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Donnie is seen as different and disturbed to his family and his peers. Donnie is as close to real as an identity can be. He carries a consistent self image and expresses it to everyone equally. Although Donnie only shares his visions and acts of evil distraction with his therapist. Donnie is in fear of how the world will see his nonconformity. He is aware his thoughts and behaviors are unacceptable. Donnie hopes that his path will lead him to something good. In the beginning scenes of Donnie Darko the viewer is opened to the song “The Killing Moon” which has a positive sound but, dark lyrical message. “The killing moon will come to soon.
Fate up against your will, through the thick and thin. He will wait until you give yourself to Him”. (Echo and The Bunnymen. ). This sets the stage to the reality that Donnie will meet the fate of death when he accepts God. Inside of Donnie is emotional term oil. He is plagued with the questions of God’s existence. He constantly feels alone and because of this emptiness he believes God must not exist. Throughout the film Donnie experiences the work of evil. Donnie is agonized by the character Frank. Frank leads him to commit acts of crime. In the first crime Donnie vandalizes his school which cancels all of his classes the proceeding day.
Frank acts as his guiding fear or the work of the devil. However, this mishap leads him to Gretchen. Gretchen becomes Donnie’s girlfriend. Gretchen has a troubled past which Donnie relates and gravitates too. Gretchen provides him understanding and acceptance. It seems as though the work of evil is put to rest by the gift of love, approval, and compassion. Evil seems to continue for Donnie through the character of Jim Cunningham. Donnie intuitively does not like him and senses that he is a con. Donnie’s second serious act of corruption comes when Frank orders him to burn down Jim’s house.
Donnie is at a movie with Gretchen at the time of this vision. Gretchen is asleep and Donnie leaves the theater. As if portraying a dark super hero, Donnie set the house a blaze. The audience never see’s how he gets in, how he obtained the fuel or matches to set the house on fire. Donnie then returns to the movie theater without a trace of ever leaving Gretchen’s side. In the demise of the arson, Cunningham’s house reveals a dark secret. Jim Cunningham is involved in child pornography and has a secret room in his house for this purpose. Again we see a blessing rank above malicious intent.
Jim Cunningham is arrested and exposed for the bogus fraud that he is. While all of this derangement surrounds Donnie he is searching for a deeper significance. He wants to be wholesome and bring joy to the people he loves. In relation to this the Donnie Darko film references the movie “The last temptation of Christ” in this film Christ is subjected to the realm of human emotion and free will. Christ is tempted with sin, confusion, self doubt and lust. Even though he experiences such emotions he still chooses to die on the cross for the sins of man kind. This film created a great deal of controversy, especially from the Catholic Church.
The Catholic Church views Christ as super human, sent for the sole purpose to spread the Word of God and die on the cross. Donnie’s journey is an American version of a sacrifice for others. His twenty eight day trial deliver him to the understanding of faith and unselfish sacrifice. Along Donnie’s journey he is intrigued by the idea of time travel and the explanation of space and time. These themes are an anomaly in the movie, where there is no “special” characters nor do they have any special control. Simply put as natural phenomenon or the acts of God. It seems as though everything lines up in the plot.
Donnie has the power to act like God yet he is unaware of this power. As the movie unfolds Donnie begins to figure out what he is destine to do. “Deus ex machina” (Donnie Darko. ) are the words he uses against his attacker toward the end of the film. His life is in danger and out of no where a car comes to distract his attacker. Donnie also says “The Savior” referring to events that are coming together for him to understand the message. Deus ex machina is an unexpected power or event that saves a helpless situation. Donnie foresees that the work of God is forcing him down a predestine path, which only he can change.
It all comes together when Donnie is faced with the death of his love, Gretchen. Essentially viewers believe that Donnie must now face his fate, trust in the power of God and sacrifice himself. However, for Donnie it is much deeper. Donnie wants to save his “world” to bring the gift of life back to the person that meant the most to him; Gretchen. Throughout the entire film Donnie perceives the future of others by tunnels or channels that come from their chest. He speaks to his physics teacher about God’s channel. Donnie argues that if an individual travels on God’s channel they can see into the future. Prof.
Monnitoff doesn’t understand what Donnie is trying to express. Prof. Monnitoff explains that if you could see things before they happen you would would be given a choice and have the power to change them. So the possibility of predestination wouldn’t be possible. The key is that Donnie is special because he can see the future and is on the path of God’s channel. No one in this film shares this gift. They are simply players in the game to push Donnie to choose the right path and make the world whole again. One of the greatest scenes in the film that explains his differences, when Donnie talks to Frank in the movie theater.
Donnie says “why do you wear that stupid bunny suit? ” (Donnie Darko. ) Frank replies “why are you wearing that stupid man suit? ” (Donnie Darko. ) It is implied that what you wear is up to choice, but being a human being is not a choice. God speaks to Donnie, Donnie is not just a man living a normal life throughout society. He is much greater then that and he has a choice. Donnie Darko is a timeless example of the many possibilities of interpretation. Each viewer may notice small things that open windows for larger reasoning.
However, the inclusion of the spiritual realm can hardly go unnoticed. So much of the film is pieced together by the idea of a spiritual journey and the role of God. The balance of good and evil and the journey to choose the right path is evidenced by all the proceeding examples, and many more. Donnie dealt with extreme adaptations of the choices people make every day in the world. Whether or not one should look at a man in a bunny suit, or look deeper to what really lies beneath. The movies conclusion really is the greatest clue to the role God plays in the story – self sacrifice.