On the same night that sleepwalking schizophrenic Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal) is lured outside by a massive bunny, Frank, to be told the end of days is only 28 days away, his bedroom is destroyed by an airplane engine. Frank saves his life, to prepare him for its coming end.
Donnie feels that he must obey Frank, because he saved his life and throughout the remaining 28 days he performs acts of vandalism as instructed by the massive bunny. During Donnie’s conscious state he is determined to unravel or make some sort of sense of the possibility of time travel. He is unsure if it’s his medication making him hallucinate or that he is actually able to see a type of sphere that leads people along their predetermined paths. He discusses it with science teacher Dr. Kenneth Monnitoff (Noah Wyle), who hands him a book, written by Roberta Sparrow (Patience Cleveland) aka Grandma Death, entitled The Philosophy of Time Travel. Donnie is astounded to find that what he has been seeing and experiencing is all written and illustrated within the book. Soon Donnie debates whether any of his actions matter, as the outcome has been pre-decided. He determines that time travel is not in fact an action but rather the ability to see this sphere that leads his path, and by following that set path he can see the future, and by doing so one interacts in time travel.
Interestingly this 2001 film was shot in 28 days, and although it didn’t do very well at the box office, it definitely deserves high praise. The 26 year old Richard Kelly managed to capture a menacing tale that is strangely relatable and hypnotising. Layered with dark humour and very thought provoking topics, this film is without a doubt a must see and a classic.