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.


Comments
Specifisicus
December 6th 2012 | 22:00:23

The "Unanswered Questions" page says:

"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."

Aside from the utter hilarity of the first sentence quoted above from the website ("portals are JUST a gateway between two universes"... As opposed to what -- a gateway between two universes AND a delicious, low-fat, high energy drink?), why do you insist that "there is no way it can be the same event repeating"?

If the portal is a gateway that also throws the artifact back in time (there is support for this conjecture, I think) then we first see artifact emerging from the end of the portal, on day 1 in the TU. At the end of the movie, we see the artifact enter the portal, on day 28 of the TU, and travel back in time to day 1 of the PU.

In other words, why can't it be the same event -- not repeating, but instead seen from two different points in time -- first from day 1, then from day 28, then from day 1 again?


Claire Rhino
December 6th 2012 | 9:24:40

I hate jake jilanhall


Claire Rhino
December 5th 2012 | 23:54:02

lol danny is a faggot but hes soooooooo hot but still i still think frank was jealous of gretchen and the could have all had some you know ;)

okay you got me mr poster im not really human because I'm chinese


Postus Commentus
December 4th 2012 | 14:54:22

Leon, to answer your questions:

Can spirits also travel through portals?
I once took a duty-free bottle of Glenlivet through Chicago Airport Security, so... yes.

Since some people talk about "The Light At The End Of A Long Tunnel."
Wait... that isn't a question!

And does Donnie have Sleep Deprivation because he can see frank the rabbit
No, I think that he can see frank the rabbit because he has sleep deprivation.


Postus Commentus
December 4th 2012 | 14:54:22

Leon, to answer your questions:

Can spirits also travel through portals?
I once took a duty-free bottle of Glenlivet through Chicago Airport Security, so... yes.

Since some people talk about "The Light At The End Of A Long Tunnel."
Wait... that isn't a question!

And does Donnie have Sleep Deprivation because he can see frank the rabbit
No, I think that he can see frank the rabbit because he has sleep deprivation.


Comment Poster
December 4th 2012 | 14:47:49

"Claire Rhino", you are obviously a guy despite your girly name, since you like Pantera, and there are no girls in the entire universe that like Pantera. At least, not in this universe. Perhaps in a tangent universe somewhere.

Claire, your wistful comments lead me to believe that you secretly want a romance with Donnie. Or Jake Gyllenhaal. Whatever. And possibly also with Frank. Be honest, Claire -- am I right? I ask in the spirit of scientific inquiry. Plus, I have some money riding on this.

Also... "Claire Rhino"? Girl plus Rhino horn? Rhino horn being a symbol for... OH MY GOD!!!! ARE YOU A TRANNY?!?!?!?


Claire Rhino
December 4th 2012 | 9:37:58

I think that secretly frank wanted a romance with Danny and thats why he was constantly following him and why he sat nxt to him in the cinema. Danny was getting with the girl and he wanted some fun from her but she wasnt giving any, so at the end, confused and angry. Danny shoots frank because he runs over the girl in jealousy because they cant be together. Its really sad and then danny puts the girls body in the car for a bit of dogging later. lol. these are my thoughts anyway!


Claire Rhino
December 4th 2012 | 9:33:08

Danny Darko sucked. I'm glad he died.


Lenny Liteko
December 3rd 2012 | 23:43:28

Sorry, some clarification: "[Donnie] realizes that if he is killed by the soon-to-arrive-engine, Gretchen (and Frank) will live." What I meant is Donnie realizes that if he is killed, the universe in which Gretchen and Frank are dead will come to an end. Not exactly the same as "Gretchen and Frank will be alive", but close enough.


Comment Poster
December 3rd 2012 | 23:38:44

I completely agree with Andrew's comment on November 21st 2012 | 7:15:59. I think that it was an act of Smurfs. And, since Smurfs are arguably much simpler than God, Occam's Razor dictates an Act of Smurfs is more plausible than an Act of God.


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Cherita Chan - Manipulated Living
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