Donnie Darko Journeys

Donnie Darko


Donnie Darko is a teenage boy living in the late 80’s and described by his therapist as one who “slips deeper and deeper into unreality”. One night an aeroplane engine falls into his house but there is no recorded plane it came from. He has been diagnosed with Borderline Paranoid Schizophrenia and experiences audiovisual hallucinations of a 7 foot rabbit named Frank who one night tells him the world (or tangent universe) is going to end in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds. Although it is hard to keep track of, Donnie has to save the world from permanently becoming this tangent more tragic universe.


At this time, in the late 1980’s, people began to stop appreciating cultural beautiful things, were spending a lot of money and becoming very selfish, and was very commercialised. A good example of this in the film is when Cherita, the Chinese misunderstood girl is doing a beautiful interpretive dance to classical music at a talent contest but is easily overshadowed by a group of glitzy, glittery girls called “sparkle motion” who perform a choreographed dance to “Notorious” by Duran Duran.
Also at this time in the USA was the presidential election between Bush and Dukakis. In one of the opening scenes we see Donnie’s upper middle class Republican parents argue with his sister as she’s going to vote for Dukakis which informs us of this political time.

Imaginative journey

The audience and characters are taken on an imaginative journey in this film. Donnie Darko, the protagonist of this film is on an imaginative journey as he is Borderline Paranoid Schizophrenic and sees/imagines this giant rabbit, Frank. Frank informs him of this tangent universe which has taken place at the stroke of midnight, 2nd October, 1988. Frank tells Donnie to destruct things in order to open the portal for this tangent universe. An ironic message in a short story he studies in class tells us that ‘destruction is a form of creation’ which...