Someone please 'splain Donny Darko to me?

Especially the ending? (spoiler tags, I suppose, should be applied where needed…)

I watched Donny Darko tonight, in segments, between cooking dinner, eating, washing up, fixing gin & tonics for me and the wife, etc. I found it to be a very… uh, engrossing movie. I’m not sure yet whether it was good engrossing or bad engrossing, if you know what I mean.

But I just did not understand the ending… too many gin & tonics, perhaps?

Your thoughts, please (especially the ending)?

Many thanks in advance!

Well as we’ve discussed this many times on the board (and everyone seems to have their point of view) I’m not going to bother using tags. Here’s what the writer/director’s view seems to be.

Just before the first appearance of Frank an alternate universe split off from the main one. This universe is unstable and will be destroyed after a length of time taking the ‘regular’ universe with it. Donnie Darko manipulated by the ghosts of the people that died in the alternate universe and given clues by the living people must find a way to create a bridge between the two universes. The way to do this is with metal and water. It’s also suggested he’s getting signals from the future (possibly by the very people that caused this mess) trying to feed him information on how to do this (most of that is more in the special edition though). The ghosts meanwhile set an ‘insurance trap’ trying to make Donnie’s life as miserable as possible so he won’t be tempted to continue in the alternate universe. So Donnie in the end decides to close the bubble universe saving everyone.

In the normal version the director seems to leave it up to the viewer to decide if Donnie deliberately chooses to die or if it’s just an accident because Donnie doesn’t fully remember/believe in his ‘dream’. In the directors cut he’s a little more firm saying that the people in Donnie’s shoes are always killed by the artifact (i.e. the thing that was used to close the alternate universe).

Many people some on this board even reject the theory that the director put forth and come up with their own so decide as you will.

Thanks, Darkhold. I did a search on “Donny Darko” but didn’t come up with any threads specifically about this movie… perhaps I should have taken more than a cursory glance through the threads I did come up with… my bad.

“Metal and water” though? OK, he flooded the school… but where does the metal come in? I may have missed a few minutes as I cooked, ate, etc… I may have to watch this movie again.

I’ll do a more comprehensive search for threads regarding this movie tomorrow… meantime, I’m gonna drink more G&Ts and think about it. :smiley:

When you search, use Donnie instead of Donny.

Try Donnie Darko. :wink:

In one scene Frank creates a ‘water’ barrier in front of donnie and he stabs it repeatedly with a metal knife. He also flooded the school using a metal axe. I’m sure there’s more.

It is a movie worth thinking about. As I said people come up with their own ideas all the time and it’s always interesting to hear a new persepective.

I always thought the “metal” part was the plane engine/plane itself, but I may very well be mistaken- I never really understood Donnie Darko, although Darkhold’s summary cleared it up pretty well for me.

Just to elaborate- I interpreted Frank’s taunting of Donnie through the mirror, and the whole knife-into-the-watery-mirror bit as giving him an early clue as to what he needs to do in order to bridge the gap, rather than being part of the actual “bridging”. But one thing I don’t get- how exactly did flooding the school help bridge the gap anyway? Or was there another “water” motif in the end that I missed?

It’s about time. it’s about space, about strange people in the strangest place.

I read somewhere (on these boards I think) that the Director’s Cut DVD version explains more of the movie than the Original Theatrical DVD but that ruins some of the fun of it.

I haven’t seen either and was hoping someone would recommend which one to see.

The first one if you don’t mind filling in the gaps yourself and enjoy a little internal debate over what the hell you just saw.

The director’s cut if you want a little more clairity (though not a heck of a lot more) and don’t mind a few cheesy effects that aren’t in the orginal.

Sorry I had to run off to work so my earlier post was rather brief. All of the earlier water + metal interactions are exactly as you say clues to tell him what he needs to do.

The final bridging is the water that made up the vortex (I forget if it’s cloud water or from a surface lake I think it was cloudwater) and the metal of the engine.

D’OH!! :smack:

<nitpick>Unless the movie was financed by Allstate, it’s an “ensurance trap”</nitpick>

I have the theatrical DVD, and I have not seen the Director’s Cut DVD, but I have a related comment. After watching the theatrical cut a few times, I watched it again with the director’s commentary on, hoping to get a little more clarification of what I had deduced in my previous viewings. The crazy thing is, after listening to the commentary, I was MORE confused than before. Many of the director’s ideas about the story diverge so far from the main storyline that there is absolutely no support for these ideas on screen. It would be kinda like the director of Toy Story saying in a commentary that the toys are all actually trans-dimensional alien vampires that feed on children at night, and that the obvious themes about friendship and loyalty are there to act in contrast to the evil nocturnal deeds of the parasitic toys. You’d be all, “HUH? But that’s not in the movie!” That’s how I felt about the director’s commentary. I wish I hadn’t listened to it and it makes me very wary about watching the Director’s Cut of the movie. YMMV

After watching it for the third time, I decided that it was about a boy’s search for meaning in 80s white suburbia.

It’s a better movie that way.

Boy gets girl, boy looses girl, boy gets crushed by a jet engine. It’s the same old story that’s been told for ages.

And if you’d like to be able to cause the collapse of an unstable alternate universe ONLINE, then it’s an Esurance trap.

And lemme tell ya, it hurts like a motherfuck.