Donnie Darko
Franks Eye

Unanswered Questions

Even though the main explanation is consistent and ties the whole movie together there are still a few parts of the movie that are not explained and have to rely on theory. Here are some of those questions with possible explanations and some common mistakes people make.

What Creates The Tangent Universe

Time PortalWhy exactly does a Tangent Universe (TU) occur? Are they a natural phenomenon or are they artificially created. There is one theory that scientists in the future build a machine that somehow causes a rip in time back in the past. Another theory is it could have been caused by Alien involvement.

Quite a common thought is Frank saving Donnie in the beginning is the cause of the TU. Donnie was meant to die and by surviving he altered things which caused the corruption. This is not true though, we are already within the TU when Frank wakes Donnie up. Frank's special powers only work within the TU so he would only be able to wake Donnie after the TU had started.

The same goes for the Artifact not being the cause of the corruption. The jet engine appears several minutes after the TU had started. The Philosophy of Time Travel states that the Artifact is the first sign of evidence that a TU has occurred.

The First Jet Engine

The ArtifactOne major question is where does the jet engine in the beginning of the movie come from originally? If it came from the future where exactly and what day did it come from?

A common answer to this question is it's the same engine Donnie sends through the portal from the plane his mother and sister were on. The engine travels through time and lands on Donnie's house. It's exactly the same event as the end of the film only the first time round Donnie survives.

This is extremely unlikely though as the portals are just a gateway between the two Universes. The first engine lands in the Tangent Universe (TU) so if it came through a portal it would have to come from the Primary Universe (PU). The engine Donnie rips of the plane at the end is from the TU and travels through a portal into the PU so there is no way it can be the same event repeating.

If it did come from a future point in the PU once the corruption is fixed by Donnie that future event won't happen now so we will never find out exactly how it occurred.

Another theory is the Tangent Universe is a copy of the Primary Universe but as it's being formed there is a glitch or copying error. This error produces a duplicate engine that is then dumped into Donnie's bedroom. This anomaly makes the TU even more unstable and it must be sent into the PU.

Roberta Sparrow: The Philosophy Of Time Travel

Roberta Sparrow (Grandma Death)Roberta Sparrow writes the book "The Philosophy Of Time Travel" which helps guide Donnie but how exactly did she know all this information? There are a few plausible explanations for this. It seems like she had a similar experience herself so either she was a Living Receiver or one of the Manipulated Dead in a previous Tangent Universe.

Both options would in theory give her all the information required. If she was a Living Receiver she would obviously have known what to do and the Manipulated Dead have a large understanding of what is happening within a Tangent Universe. It's possible she may have somehow retained some of the information from her experience once the Primary Universe started up again.

Does Donnie Have To Die

Donnie DarkoThis subject is one of the most debated parts of the movie. A lot of people make the mistake of thinking Donnie waking up and cheating death in the beginning is what caused the Tangent Universe (TU) to occur. The assumption is then once the Primary Universe is restored Donnie stays in bed otherwise he risks causing another TU to start and the whole cycle will repeat. This theory is not correct though, Donnie and Frank have nothing to do with the creation of the TU.

We hear about other Living Receivers in The Philosophy of Time Travel who were killed by the Artifact they returned. If we include Donnie then it seems the Living Receiver always dies once the Primary Universe is restored. The question is what would happen if Donnie got out of bed again and survived? The moment we see Donnie laughing in bed at the end the Primary Universe is already restored. If Donnie got out of bed and dodged the second engine after that then in theory nothing would change as the corruption is already fixed.

Another important point is whether Donnie chooses to die. The Donnie we see in bed at the end is not the same Donnie from the last 28 days. How much knowledge he has of what happened in the TU is very questionable and it’s quite unlikely he knows he is about to die.

The question of destiny plays quite a big part here, Donnie was meant to die but Frank saved him. It’s possible he was chosen as the Living Receiver because his life is now expendable; he is going to die anyway. Once back in the real world it's Donnie's destiny to die.

May 17th 2018 | 22:32:01

Dang! One more thing.
Sure, the artifact is made of metal, but it could've been any metal. A car? A truck? A bicycle. But nope, it was...
A jet engine.
I just want to say: time loop exists in the story.
Because the faulty copy of jet engine that falls over Donnie's home (in TU) is the copy of the jet engine that falls over Donnie in the PU. And this is the indication of the fact of the creation of PU. But, if this artifact is the copy of the original universe's jet engine and the original universe's jet engine comes from TU, then I can notice a cycle happening.
And since, the artifact is the copy of PU's jet engine, then the artifact will exist in the newly formed TU.
And again the cycle of saving the world starts over, leading Donnie sending back the artifact to PU and again a new TU forms.

NOW notice one thing. Whenever a new TU forms, it isn't necessary for the artifact to already exist. I have read somewhere that if a faulty copy doesn't exist in the TU then it can go on staying stable, existing on its own. But that doesn't happen. The formation of a TU is not dependent on the existence of an artifact.
The first scene of the movie where Donnie wakes up actually belongs to the TU. Why he laughs in the middle of nowhere, after waking up, is because he realizes that his last attempt has already created a TU once again. Now there can be a possibility here, his last attempt might have been different than the one shown in the movie.

I know my theory might have plot holes (and since this is an old movie, might have mentioned already by others), so I am waiting for that to be pointed out.

May 17th 2018 | 22:11:14

Ok. Everything's clear in my head except one thing. WHERE THE HELL DOES FRANK COME FROM IN TU?
I know TU is a replica of PU. And there's just one anomaly in the TU: the artifact.
But apart from that, we see in the Halloween party that there is already an alive Frank, who later dies by DD's gunshot.
I know, people would say, "Frank came from the future!"
Then that means, in the future of (PU and TU?) a PU and TU already exist. And then in that future (TU), Frank is killed and he comes back in time to wake up Donnie and lead him to his mission. But then, wouldn't that mean that Donnie has already saved the world? Like, if a future Frank exists, then the future exists too. And if the future exists, then the end of the world exists too. One can either escape that or completely get caught which would result in the end of everything, including time (past, present and future!) and time traveling would become impossible. But we see that Frank was able to come back in time (in TU!) and hence, Donnie was successful. Then why didn't everything stop? Why did Frank had to come back in time if Donnie was successful? Were they trying to imply that the formation of TU would keep on happening now, since it's a time loop (I think time loops occur when we change something in the past, as happened in the beg. of DD)

OK, after thinking a bit more, I think one thing more which justifies the inexistence of time loops in the movie.
When Frank dies, the world hasn't ended yet. The TU still had a few more hours. So Frank, at the moment of his death became MD (manipulated dead) and was able to time travel. So, he goes back in time to make sure Donnie does what he has to do.
In simple terms, for Frank, TU is a house with rooms like past, present and future. Once the TU began, it's whole timeline (the rooms) already exist. Just the Frank (MD) in the second room (future) comes back to first room (past) to guide Donnie (who, like others is locked in the room of present).

May 15th 2018 | 18:30:18

So, like, Frank is evil? For saving Donnie? Even though Donnie killed him?

April 30th 2018 | 8:29:56

Donnie’s Laughing because he like everyone woke up after the event having “dreamt it”. But while everyone else is feeling remorse for their actions and what happened, he’s happy because he fixed everything. But like it says that they don’t always remember, so he might not of remembered that he was going to die or didn’t believe the jet engine was still going to come through his roof. That the reason he was laughing was because of the euphoria from having saved the day in his “dreams” (which was actually the TU).

I’m not saying this is what happened, just an option. Great interpretations and explanations on everything though. I agree with almost every explanation. And I like the idea of him accepting death and that he isn’t alone. Being someone that struggles with that.

“Every living creature dies alone.” “I don’t want to be alone”

April 16th 2018 | 18:53:58

The tu was made because frank saved Donnie he was supposed to be crushed

April 10th 2018 | 23:38:37


April 10th 2018 | 4:31:30

All I need is some money to say that i am gay and that there's way much more 'donkey stuff' involved in this crap. Quite intimidating and 'fucko' but very shit movie, though. :]

April 9th 2018 | 17:21:55

All I need to say is that there's way much more 'darko' stuff involved in this film. Quite intimidating and 'frank' but very cool movie, though.

April 9th 2018 | 17:20:54

All I need to say is that there's way much more 'darko' stuff involved in this film. Quite intimidating and 'frank' but very cool movie, though.

April 8th 2018 | 12:09:19

Frank says to Donnie, " I've been fucking you." That's really all I need to say.

Post Comment


Donnie Darko - Living Receiver
You need to upgrade your Flash Player