Donnie Darko Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Archive: The Amphitheatre' started by Dagger, Aug 6, 2002.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Dagger Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 14, 1999
    star 4
    I already posted something like this in the JC, but I'm reposting it because this is a better environment and the old thread was surprisingly versatile (ie, people were actually discussing in it).

    THIS WILL HAVE SPOILERS!! Go see the movie before you discuss it! Idiot.

    Feel free to quote and whatnot, but I think this could also use some attempts to unravel this really complicated film.

    I think there are two clear symbols in the movie, though I'm not quite sure what they mean.

    The American flag is one. Donnie has the flag hung up on his ceiling, and we first see it on his sleepwalking journey to see Frank. I'm not sure where else it makes an appearance, except (a) the jet engine tears through it when it hits the house and (b) in a DVD deleted scene showing a mortally wounded Donnie after the crash, and the flag has been snagged on the engine and (c) it makes up part of the photo mosaic of Frank on the cover. I've heard a convincing argument that this is a symbolic way of criticizing the Republican Party policies of the 1980s.

    I think the Sparkle Motion group is another symbol, though I don't know what it's of. One scene on the DVD is entitled "Autumn Queen vs. Sparkle Motion," referring to the fact that the unpopular Chinese girl gives a cheap-looking performance and is essentially run off the stage, whereas Sparkle Motion gets all sorts of glitz and glitter onstage and is loved by the crowd. The liberal teacher plays into this somehow, as she applauds the Chinese girl more than Sparkle Motion. Later, when she loses her job, she shouts an unladylike word without realizing the Chinese girl is nearby, then kind of smiles at her; when she goes back into the school, she's disgusted to learn that Sparkle Motion is going to Star Search.

    Another confusing thing is the spiral on the jet engine, though with the web site it just seems that was a way to identify the plane that it came from. The web site is creepy as hell, by the way.

    Discuss!
  2. professor_klump Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 20, 2002
    star 1
    Totally loved this movie. Have only seen it once so far, so I'm not going to make comments just yet for fear of sounding dumb.
    It's a movie that needs repeated viewings.
    I saw a taped video version. Does the DVD have a commentary?
  3. Dagger Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 14, 1999
    star 4
    No, unfortunately (I assume you mean like in Ferris Bueler, where there's an entire version of the movie with the director commenting over it). At least I don't think there is; there IS commentary by Gyllenhal and the director available.

    Right now, though, the only commentary I've seen on there are the ones over the deleted/extended scenes.
  4. gwaernardel Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2001
    star 4
    Well, I finally checked out this movie (thank you CwrnPuppet) and I was very impressed, to say the least.

    I'd be interested in hearing different people's interpretations of the ending. The people that I showed it to all seemed to have different opinions and I still have a few questions, if anyone is interested in debating that. For example, my boyfriend took it at face value. He had no qualms accepting the whole time travel thing. My sister saw it as more of a spiritual journey that comes about from Donnie trying to accept his own death. What did you guys think?
  5. solojones Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    I love this movie. Yes, the DVD has a commentary with Jake and the director. I haven't had time to listen to it, yet. I did get to see all the deleted scenes, though.

    I am still trying to figure this movie out. Don't know if I'll ever get to it, though ;)

    -sj loves kevin spacey
  6. Dagger Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 14, 1999
    star 4
    Yes, yes, my bad. There IS the commentary over the whole movie, with both a director/Gyllenhaal option and a version where several cast/crew comment.

    It's intended more for humor, though (such as how Gyllenhaal had to ride back up the hill he bikes down at the beginning several times after getting up at 2 AM to get the shot). There IS a bit of commentary on the symbolism/meaning, such as the formation of the portal over Donnie's house.

    The contradiction I've thought about is that Frank gives Donnie a warning about how the universe is going to collapse in 28 days unless Donnie can stabilize space/time. But in that case Frank isn't all that evil, so then why does Donnie (a) do that weird portal stab that cuts up Frank's eye and (b) murder the (different?) Frank at the end of the movie? More curious about the former.
  7. gwaernardel Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2001
    star 4
    Well, I've been through the whole website and seen the movie a couple times and the best explanation I can come up with is this:

    A portal opened up at midnight before the engine crashed into Donnie's room. When that happened, a plane traveled through it and an alternate, competing universe opened up. According to the time travel book that Grandma Death wrote, these alternate universes can't stay open for very long. Also according to the book, the people that die in the alternate universe can be manipulated (like Frank) and will do nearly anything to get the alternate universe closed and get back to the normal universe. So Frank can be controlled by God or whoever and does everything he can to get Donnie to cause a plane to go back through the portal and make the universe back to normal. He also makes Donnie fall in love with a beautiful girl and then kills her so that Donnie will want to go back to the real universe and die.

    There are, of course, problems with this but it seems to me that this was what the director wanted us to believe. Any thoughts?
  8. WormieSaber Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 22, 2000
    star 5
    This movie was so bizarre I just HAD to like it. The music is what gets me...off-beat. The symbolism of the donkey head; I don't quite get that one yet. But Donnie Darko is the ultimate dreamscape movie.
  9. CwrnPuppet Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 4
    Gwaer and I have discussed this, but I feel that people are taking it too literally: I think the narrative is the actually the final thoughts going through Donnie's mind as he dies; it's his way of accepting his death. He realizes that he wasn't meant to be alive.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.