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.

July 16th 2012 | 19:19:21

Also it makes sense that this future time period or this specific place with the ocean and buildings is the location where there is a glitch in time, the center location of where the tangent universe made it's way to Donnies time, or where a time portal was built. I think that this is true because in the philosophy of time travel it states that,"Water and Metal are the key elements of Time Travel." and the things in his dream are an ocean made of water and buildings which are most likely made out of metal. So it is possible that this is where humans tried to create their very own time portal, or where the glitch was spontaneously made.

July 16th 2012 | 18:59:34

I think that there is a possibility that people from the future may have created the tangent universe by accident for whatever reason. I don't have a lot of information to back this up, but in the movie Donnie has a dream where he see's an ocean filled with futuristic buildings with odd architecture. So it could be possible that someone is giving him a forewarning of what time period created this glitch in time.

July 14th 2012 | 17:13:22

By the way, if anyone experienced any unusual dreams (similar to mine, as described I'm my previous comment), or had any unusual experiences of ANY kind after watching this movie, if you would PLEASE email me and tell me about it, I would appreciate it so much!

Thanks! (:

P.S. And please, do not make rude/mean comments, or send rude/mean emails. I'm already aware that the dream I told you all about makes me seem coo-coo for cocoa puffs, thanks. I'm already freaked out, confused, and embarrassed about it, so please dont make it worse.

July 14th 2012 | 17:11:08

All I know, is that after i watched this movie, I had the strangest dream experience I've ever had in my life. The memory of this dream is so vague now, but I can clearly remember how I felt during it. It was very detailed and vivid. In my dream, I somehow had some kind of super-human understanding of the movie. Certain details of things that happened, and things I saw in the movie had profound meaning and significance to something much deeper than what was presented to us an audience watching. One specific example would be the numbers that were used as the time left.. and when they showed where Donnie had written them on his arm... I remember seeing those numbers again in my dream, and felt very afraid. It was the ONLY part of the dream that was frightening, as the rest of it was a bit uncomfortable, and slightly eerie, but for the most part I had a feeling of tranquility throughout it all. It's very difficult to explain the experience of the dream to anyone, and I've only tried twice in the seven years since I watched the movie for the first time and had the dream later that same night. I feel certain that everyone will just think I'm "crazy". Although I have often wondered if anyone else ever experienced anything similar. What bothered me about it, was that when I watched it, I don't remember feeling or thinking anything unusual. I found it entertaining, and just kind of weird, but no thoughts of it having some great, deep meaning or any shit like that. I just don't know what to think. I'll probably never understand.

July 1st 2012 | 22:44:07

@DARKOLORD: No, from the material on the website it is clear that the engine killing Donnie in the end is an exact copy of an engine that already exists on a fully functional plane in the PU.

June 24th 2012 | 5:45:11

Nevermind, imdb answered the questions!

June 24th 2012 | 4:55:20

I too would like to know the relevance of the Cherita character. Why does he tell her everything will be ok and then take her earmuffs?

The fat guy smoking the cigarette appears twice also. Why? Significance?

June 12th 2012 | 23:04:09

My two peneth....
Donnie chose to die because he didn't want to end up like Roberta sparrow. He's read PoTT remember, knows she wrote it, and assumes the only reason she has the knowledge is because she had been a living receiver (or in a tangent universe at the very least) in her life time. This experience causing her "overnight" dementia.

On the ending with two engines in the PU...
The PU is more stable than the TU, therefore it can accommodate the rogue engine without universe shattering consequences. It just gets put down to one of the many 'unexplained mysteries' in the world e.g Bermuda triangle, Marie celeste

June 12th 2012 | 14:53:10

what is the significance of 'every living thing dies alone'?

June 4th 2012 | 17:06:42

At the end ,was the jet engine ripped from the plane his mom n sis were on? Because they show something happening t o that plane..... and does that mean they die in the TU?

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Professor Monnitoff - Manipulated Living
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