Decoding Donnie Darko – Esoteric Analysis

Film poster showing frank's mask in collage: a demon rabbit. 'Deus ex machina'

By: Jay Donnie Darko is, on its most basic level, a film that is homage to 80s culture. It's a cult classic (like many 80s films!) that references other 80s films, uses popular 80s film themes, and is set in 1988. But that is not all Donnie Darko is about. The film also makes statements about the socio-political and cultural developments of the late 80s, the reversal of family roles, etc., as well as being a superhero film, or more properly, an anti-super-hero narrative. It's also a film that presents the age-old debate about predestination and free will; it posits alternate dimensions and worlds. But that isn't all, either. It also contains elements of Jungian psychoanalysis, gnosticism, and the occult. And now, let's analyze. Here is the opening sequence: It ends with the line from "The Killing Moon" song, 'fate, up against your will; he will wait until you give yourself to him." The classical hero had to face up to his face and survive it with stoic resolve. That is one level of Donnie Darko - the hero who must face up to his destiny, and we have been clued in to this by the opening song. We see at the dinner scene that the family is dysfunctional - the father is not a father, and will remain passive throughout the film, as the mother runs the family and the children are rebellious and profane. This relates to the film's criticism of 80s culture, especially its backward, hypocritical suburban morality. Note at 5:53 we see the Escher drawing of the eye prominently displayed, and as many know, in the reflection of the pupil, is death. Death will be a major theme in the film, but not just the generic notion of death, but death from a particularly Jungian and gnostic perspective. Consider as well when Donnie awakens from his dream state and enters his trance state, at 8:23 what is visible is the Led Zeppelin album label image for Swan Song, which features an image of Lucifer falling, next to the upside down flag, signifying nation in distress. I am speculating here, but perhaps the two images are linked. Perhaps not. Regardless, the Lucifer and eye imagery is prominent in the film throughout, as we will see. Consider again the two prominent images in Donnie's room. Recall that it is the engine that will "fall" through the roof - right where the image of Satan is. Without getting into too much speculation, the All-seeing eye is sometimes associated with Lucifer or Satan, but it generally depends on the context and intent, since it is also used to refer to the omniscience of the true God. Solomon speaks of God's all-seeing eye in the Proverbs. Egyptians applied the image to Horus as a symbol of the divine attribute of omniscience. Point being, it means different things, but in modern masonic and Satanic culture, it is often applied to Lucifer:

Led Zeppelin Swan Song/Lucifer Image

It's important to know as well that in most films, the details are crucial. Directors and producers place things there for a reason - acute attention is given to details. And, if you watch DVD commentaries, you will see them often speak of this. It is significant that Frank, the dead spirit that possesses Donnie, communicates at midnight. Midnight is associated in many traditions with liturgical actions, and presumably in the occult as well. We read in Stoker's "Dracula": "It is the eve of St. George’s Day. Do you not know that tonight, when the clock strikes midnight, all the evil things in the world will have full sway?” The spirits of the dead and demons commune at midnight, and this is when Frank speaks to Donnie, especially as we move closer to Halloween, which will be very significant. That is when Donnie's "world" will end, as Frank explains, when he first speaks to Donnie in a trance. Again, speculating here, but the first list of numbers are all composed of or can total 666. Six, in gematria, is the number of man, and in the Apocalypse of St. John, the number of the Beast. Frank says "28 days, 6 hours, 42 mins, 12 seconds" and the world will end.  8-2 is 6, 6 hours, 4+2 is 6, and 12 is 6 + 6. With the level of depth and thought put into the film, I don't think this is a stretch, though I have no way to prove it, of course.

It is also significant that as the engine crashes into the house, the father is watching the Bush/Dukakis debate of 1988 and is totally invested in the neo-connery.  We know that what was really going on in Nicaragua and elsewhere was drug running, as the Iran-contra scandal showed. The great irony here is that Donnie is drugged up, and experiencing serious spiritual problems, while the “war on drugs” was just getting started. The establishment is shown to be a fraud, and this anti-establishment theme runs throughout the film, because Donnie isn’t a hero in the traditional sense. He is a dark hero – if a hero at all. In fact, I suspect he is a kind of “Satan-hero.”

The school’s mascot is the “mongrels,” which carries the connotation of retardation and idiocy. The teachers and principal are all duped members of the establishment who fall for self-help guru, Jim Cunningham’s scam, “Attitudinal Beliefs.” The “Cunning Vision” production of “Controlling Fear” is hilariously awesome, but it also has a deeper sense, since a person of “cunning” is someone who has pyschic or occult powers, and Donnie is the visionary prophet of the film. It’s also significant that the woman who was a prisoner of her fear looked “through the mirror to see the reflection of her own Ego.” This will be crucial when we consider the other instances of Donnie seeing his Ego’s image in the mirror – Frank.

Frank, who begins to take a larger picture in Donnie’s life, is Donnie’s Ego, which, in Jungian analysis, must be integrated into the waking self. In this gnostic theory, the self is not whole until it reconciles all dualities into itself. The archetypes must be reconciled, or they will control us, Jung argued. In Donnie’s progress at his psychiatrist’s office, he goes deeper and deeper into his subconscious, and the therapist finally pulls Frank out, who we learned, was, for Donnie, “god.” But Donnie also can’t make sense of this rationally, and argues that God doesn’t make sense, and that perhaps raw materialism and atheism are the case, but in the end, he’d rather not debate it, because Frank is leading him. If his world ends, the therapist tell him, it will only be Donnie and God/Frank. Frank, you recall, is Donnie’s Ego – his mirror image, and is the personification of Donnie’s fear of death. Remember – this is all an alternate reality where Donnie has asserted his will in the face of what he fears is raw determinism. Instead of predestination, he has opted to fight his dark shade (Frank, in Jungian lingo), who is both a devil figure and a good deity. For evidence of this, consider this short explanation of Jung’s individuation process and then listen to Jake Gyllenhaal’s explanation of the film.

And here is Jake Gyllenhaal saying essentially that the film is about the self-individuation process:

Donnie is what he comes in contact with – the manifestations in the film are elements of his subconscious he must reconcile. That is not to say they are not real, as is the case with Inception, which has a very similar plot, and as I layed out here in my analysis. I disagree with Jake – I think we can tease out what the objective meaning is, more or less.

Jena Malone plays Gretchen Ross, Donnie’s girlfriend. When she arrives, she becomes the love interest, and will function to wake Donnie up. This is precisely the function of the Anima and/or mother archetype. It would be tempting to say Donnie’s mother is the mother archetype, but she plays a minor role, so I suspect the two archetypes of anima and mother are combined in Gretchen, since she awakens Donnie.

But lets back up. When Donnie arrives at school and we have the iconic scene where Tears for Fears plays, the camera is noticeably sideways. This clues us in, both to the sideways nature of this alternate world, as well as the sideways, out of kilter nature of the school itself. The entire social structure is askew, and Donnie is apparently the only one who has the guts to point this out. This is why Donnie is anti-hero. The link to the Satanic/Luciferian nature of Donnie is found in the key scene where he explains the meaning of the Graham Greene story, The Destructors, that “destruction is a form of creation.” This is the mindset of the darkest of the dark – since reality is determined by brute force and raw materiality in an irresistible causal chain that cannot be broken, all actions are thus levelled and ontologically the same. There is thus no good or evil – all acts are part of the “machine,” and recall that Donnie will say to the bully at the end, “Deus ex Machina” or God from the machine. The world, Donnie struggles to accept, appears to be a determined machine. Since this is the case, burning down Old Misery’s house is qualitatively no different from destruction. This constitutes the most Satanic/gnostic element in the film.  Recall as well that Graham Greene was a British intelligence agent, working for MI6.

Donnie is drugged by BigPharma, and as a result of this, he continues to have intense experiences of synchronicity, communication with the dead spirit, Frank, and visions of the future. In the famous scene where Donnie talks to Frank in the movie theater during Evil Dead, Frank responds that Donnie “wears a stupid human suit.”  In one of the debates with Monitoff, Donnie was told that bodies are “vessels that travel along vectors in spacetime.” So Donnie is inhabited by the spirit of dead Frank, but since this is a gnostic/Jungian film, the external world is not a real, objective reality, but rather a projection of the psyche and the subconscious desires that are yet to be integrated. Since Donnie has not reconciled good and evil in himself, as well as male and female, and all dualities, he is presented as a “prisoner of fear” – ironically showing the Cunning Visions self-help infomercials to be *correct. This is a masterful use of irony and humor. But again, when I say “correct” only within the gnostic/Jungian paradigm – not correct in reality. Significant also is the fact that when Donnie leaves the movies, we see the sign for “The Last Temptation of Christ” playing, cluing us in that Donnie is a kind of anti-Christ hero – a gnostic savior, as the “Jesus” figure of the Last Temptation was in fact an unorthodox, gnostic/Nestorian portrayal of Christ.

Now, I think with my Inception analysis and with this analysis, we have seen that the Jungian elements are there. And in case you think my further speculations about the gnostic and Satanic elements are going too far, I would ask you to consider Jung himself. You must understand the milieu this is working within. Carl Jung was himself a gnostic and in some form or fashion, an “Illuminist.” Observe as he explains that the archeytpes are not just symbols, but, in his actual description, gods, or demons. In fact, not only that, he attributes the “discovery” of all people having an anima to the “Illuminati” at 1:54:

There you go. So, by default, whether the writers know it or not, when you are heavily steeped in Jung, you are dealing in “Illuminism.” There is, in fact, an article Jung wrote about evil and the “anti-christ” where he argues that evil and anti-christ are as necessary as good and Christ. He argues that they are flip sides of the same coin.

But back to the story. Donnie sees a vision where the school is flooded, and Frank leads him to bust the water line, causing school to be out the next day. As a result, he is able to ask Gretchen out, and they “go together.” We see Samantha Darko, Donnie’s little sister, reading a poem titled  “The Last Unicorn.” The unicorn’s name is Ariel, and is saved by a prince named “Justin,” who is translated to another world of “magic and wonder.” The poem seems irrelevant and out of place, unless we understand that this alternate world is Donnie’s alternate world where he (Justin) saves the unicorn (Ariel). Recall also that in Scripture, ‘Ariel’ is another name for Israel, so in terms of occult lore, it is a spirit in Judaism and gnosticism. See the hyperlink for all the associations, many of which could be relevant for Donnie Darko. Of particular note is the “wrathful” conception of “Ariel” from the gnostic text, the Pistis Sophia, which pictures “Ariel” as a destructive spirit — precisely what Donnie is. Wikipedia says (accurately):

” Ariel has been portrayed as a destructive spirit of retribution. In the Coptic Pistis Sophia, Ariel is in charge of punishment in the lower world, corresponding with Ur of the Mandeans. (Possibly due to Ariel’s association with the Archangel Uriel who is often equated with Ur and said to serve the same role.) Both Ariel’s leonthromorphic and destructive attributes have led to associations with the deities Nemesis and Sekhmet, among others. However, Ariel’s position as a spirit of wrath seems to be more in keeping with Judeo-Christian tradition of heavenly servitude. Ariel is usually depicted as a controller and punisher of demons or wicked spirits rather than a general retributive force.”

Donnie, when he saves Gretchen, his Ariel, and has sex with her, reconciles with the anima and lets loose his sexual repression, which he had expressed under hypnosis to his therapist. Gretchen is his Ariel, and his anima. It is when he unites with her that he then sees his destiny (at midnight), and it is when he looks into her soul that he sees his destiny – “cellar door.”

When Donnie looks into Gretchen, his anima, sophia, Ariel, he sees a portal and hears “Cellar Door.” Donnie has realized his destiny, and he must face it – to travel to Roberta Sparrow’s house, where the continual synchronicities had been leading him all along. Roberta Sparrow was the ex-nun who became a radical atheist after writing her book on time travel. She left the church and became ‘Grandma Death,’ as she is called throughout the film, hearkening to Lilith, as well as to Old Misery in the Graham Greene story. When Donnie arrives, what he discovers is that it is his nemesis, the bully who is waiting at the Cellar Door, and that he must face the bully, as well as the fact that it is he who kills Frank. So Frank, the spirit who has been haunting him all along, and who figures as God and a projection of his psyche, is also his shade, or darkside, representing his own evil. As a side note, “Cellar Door” is said by Drew Barrymore’s character to be the most beautiful combination of words in the English language. This is reference to Tolkien, and of course with Tolkien we associate the Eye of Sauron (another eye image), but it was also supposedly said by Poe and others.

Why is this important? For the same reason that Cobb in Inception has to reach the deepest levels of his subconscious – it is there that he has hidden away his shade, or darkside. For Donnie, it is at Roberta Sparrow’s house that he has hidden away the fact that he killed Frank, his sister’s boyfriend in rage for accidentally running over Gretchen. The “cellar door” is the doorway to the basement – in Jugian analysis, this is the subconscious realm, wherein man is the most evil and bestial. Donnie must face his fears – his evil – that he has, by his triumph of will (note that when he last visits the therapist, he is wearing a teeshort that says ‘Triumph” on it) and decision to be a superhero – an ubermensch, set in motion a course of events that leads to the death of his friends. So the resolution comes in the fact that Donnie decides to be a stoic – to accept his fate as Donnie Darko – the kid who was smashed in a freak jet accident. The entire alternate world story is the elaborate story Donnie concocted because his world came to an end – just as happened to Cobb in Inception. God is just a projection of the subconscious’ fear of death – and hence the identification Donnie makes between Frank and God to his therapist. This is why Donnie says Deus ex Machina to the bully – God is a product of the determined machine, he realizes. That is why the film poster has a collage figure of all of Donnie’s projections/archetypes making up the God/death mask of Frank.

And so we end with a rupture in the subconscious of others as a result of Donnie’s death. It is as if they dreamed the alternate world Donnie constructed where he was the anti-hero, and they are noticeably distraught at his death on Halloween. So Donnie’s alternate world is one of fiction, and the reality is that one must face one’s fate stoically.  So the film presents us with two false alternatives – a world where one is a Crowleyan/Nietzschian dark hero who does as he lists, wreaking havoc, or a world where we are determined by purely brute natural forces.  Is it better to be Donnie Darko, the dark hero who burns down the establishment, doing some good in the process, like exposing Jim Cunningham, the self-help guru, as a pornographer, and ultimately killing two friends, or is it better to be a stoic acceptee of fate – to be that kid who died a crazy death in high school?  So it does devolve back to the free will, predestination debate, but only to pose it in the context of the occult – will you be the overman, the anti-hero, the Satanic Saint, or will you be the obscure nobody? A gnostic, false dichotomy indeed.

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26 Comments on Decoding Donnie Darko – Esoteric Analysis

  1. Great review as usual. This is another movie I’m going to have to watch again. Thanks for including all the links.

    Just wanted to comment on Zeppelin’s logos before some douche bag tries to deny it’s luciferian symbolism. I think I’ve made a strong argument to the contrary.

    Zeppelin’s Swan Song logo is based on the painting “Evening: Fall of Day”, by the 19th century Romantic Painter William Rimmer (1816-1879). It is allegedly of the Greek god Apollo but I question the veracity of this. There are no myths of Apollo falling from the heavens and Apollo, to the best of my knowledge, has never been depicted as a winged figure in classical art. As far as classical mythology is concerned, the more logical assumption would be that this is a picture of the fall of Icarus but that’s not how Rimmer billed it. One web page; http://www.mindworkshop.com/indcnt.html , says the following:

    “Evening or the Fall of Day depicts the god Apollo rising from the earth at sunset — pretty much everyone who sees it seems to think it’s Icarus, an angel or various christian devils.”

    It seems strange to me that a painting called “Fall of Day” would be of Apollo rising from the earth at sun set. That really makes no sense. Even if this was Apollo it only makes sense to assume from the title and the hurled backwards position that the figure is meant to be perceived as falling.

    Rimmer associated with radical circles and was a Romantic painter. Artists in this milieu often portrayed Lucifer as a rebellious hero and role model for their anti-establishment causes. This was often done somewhat overtly, using classical figures such as Prometheus to symbolize Lucifer (such as Shelley and Goethe do with Prometheus) I think it is not unlikely that Rimmer might have been doing the same in claiming that this falling angelic figure is merely meant to be Apollo. This way he would be less likely to take flack from mainstream Christian audiences.

    The web site http://www.artmagick.com/pictures/artist.aspx?artist=william-rimmer has the following relevant information on Rimmer:

    “His art and writings demonstrate familiarity with contemporary areas of philosophical thought and experience such as Transcendentalism and Spiritualism…. His work also shows a knowledge of… artists like William Blake… (He had) an awareness of contemporary scientific and pseudo-scientific areas of investigation, among them photography, physiognomy, phrenology, typology, comparative anatomy, and Darwinian thought.”

    In the 19th century the booming Spiritualist movement often walked hand in hand with other forms of radicalism. Many Spiritualists promulgated neo-gnostic doctrines, forms of utopian Communism and proto-Darwinian cosmologies. The claimed to get their ideas from Spirit beings. The above mentioned influence of Blake is also worth noting, given his known radicalism and Luciferian gnostic leanings.

    Additionally, as you pointed out, modern occultism already draws a strong association between Lucifer (the light bearer) as the principle of illumination and the Sun. Apollo was, of course, the Greek Sun god. Though popularized by Nietzsche the idea of Apollonian/Dionysian dualism is another mainstay of the occult, going back at least to the works of 17th century Rosicrucian Robert Fludd. Certain twentieth century occult groups have depicted the biblical God as the god of Dionysian darkness and Lucifer as the liberating god of Apollonian light. Regardless of all this, you can bet your bottom dollar the boys from Led Zeppelin took this to be an image of Lucifer when they selected it as their logo. I mean, Jimmy Page bought Crowley’s house for God’s sakes.

    What do you think about Donnie Darko in relation to 9-11 by the way? Surprisingly I’ve never seen it mentioned on one of those lists of 9-11 predictive films. It went into production prior to 9-11 and came out like a moths after and features a house getting wiped out with part of a falling air plane.

  2. I wonder if this is intentional? The Swaze plays Jim Cunningham. Here’s the meaning of the name Cunningham from http://genealogy.about.com/library/surnames/c/bl_name-CUNNINGHAM.htm
    Definition: A place name from the Cunningham area in the Ayrshire district of Scotland, which, in turn, got its name from the words “cunny” or “coney” meaning rabbit and “hame” meaning home (rabbit’s home).
    This possibly connects with Frank’s rabbit like appearance. I remember a rabbit figures into the weird new age flick “The Last Mimzy” (along with Mandals) and Following the White Rabbit down the hole (from Alice in Wonderland) is often used as a metaphor for gnostic awakening. I think Morpheus says something about it in the Matrix.

    • Following the White Rabbit is like Following the Yellow Brick Road… they both lead to where the “Wiz” wants you to go.
      in the east, like Japan, the rabbit is the symbol of the Moon… and the Moon controls Time, Months or Moons, thus the Pocket Watch of the WHite Rabbit.
      And the moon is Hypnotic…. symbol of illusion…
      thus the hypnotist hypnotising with the watch on a chain… like the Rabbit has.
      etc.

  3. I also couldn’t place ‘Roberta Sparrow.” The Sparrow meme has shown up in several flicks – Jack Sparrow, The Number 23, and here….

  4. “Though popularized by Nietzsche the idea of Apollonian/Dionysian dualism is another mainstay of the occult, going back at least to the works of 17th century Rosicrucian Robert Fludd. Certain twentieth century occult groups have depicted the biblical God as the god of Dionysian darkness and Lucifer as the liberating god of Apollonian light. Regardless of all this, you can bet your bottom dollar the boys from Led Zeppelin took this to be an image of Lucifer when they selected it as their logo. I mean, Jimmy Page bought Crowley’s house for God’s sakes.”

    Absolutely. When you play an album, the way it rotates, the Lucifer spins in the direction of being cast down.

  5. This exchange from Hamlet might explain the meaning of the name Sparrow, at least in the case of Donnie Darko anyway.

    The following is from this page:
    http://www.enotes.com/shakespeare-quotes/there-special-providence-fall-sparrow

    Horatio: If your mind dislike any thing, obey it. I will forestall their repair hither, and say you are not fit.

    Hamlet: Not a whit, we defy augury. There is special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, ’tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come—the readiness is all. Since no man, of aught he leaves, knows what is’t to leave betimes, let be.

    Hamlet Act 5, scene 2, 217–224

    Hamlet’s stepfather, King Claudius, has arranged a fencing match between the prince and Laertes. Laertes happens to be the son of Polonius (whom Hamlet has slain) and the brother of Ophelia (who has gone mad and committed suicide as a result of Hamlet’s actions). Hamlet and his friend Horatio well know that the king desperately wants the prince out of the way, and that Laertes is looking for revenge; the fencing match doesn’t promise to be an entirely playful affair.

    Hamlet has agreed to it nonetheless, and refuses Horatio’s offer to excuse him if he thinks better of things. “We defy augury”—that is, omens mean nothing to him. Hamlet will deliver himself over to his fate, because he finally realizes that it is out of his control. Before, he would have thought too precisely on the event, weighed its implications, and sought into its causes. Now, he is of the opinion that “there’s special providence in the fall of a sparrow,” and therefore a guiding hand behind his own fall, whenever it comes, now or in the future. Here, Hamlet echoes the Gospel according to St. Matthew, chapter 10: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell./ Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father” (King James version).

    Here Hamlet embraces his own destruction as a predestined course. Very similar to the themes your discussing in Donnie Darko. Especially if Roberta Sparrow represents determinism. Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t Number 23 also about a guy going nuts thinking he’s following some kind of predetermined course (I haven’t seen 23 yet)?

    I don’t know how Captain Jack would figure in though.

    It recently saw Gyllenhaal in Prince of Persia, in which he plays a guy who can travel backwards in time and do events over altering his destiny. There’s more of that weird over specific typecasting I always see popping up.

    • I would like to point out that it is debateable whether or not Ophelia’s death was a suicide. Other than that though, I really agree with what you had to say about Hamlet and Donnie.

      • Jules Venning // November 12, 2012 at 1:54 am //

        Agree – I’ve always thought otherwise. She was an intelligent, deliberate character. Also re Dionysius, according to Jung and later phiosophers/writers, should be interpreted as the god of ecstacy, not doom n drunks.

  6. Thanks for this review, although it feels more like an academic essay than a review (I mean that in the best possible way; I’m doing a PhD) and I love thoughtful writing.

    I have always loved this movie since it came out, watched it many times and talked details with friends etc. My one question, and I hope it’s not a dumb one: what is the painting in the background of the psychiatrist’s office? It seems to be significant, but I can’t track it down. Also, it looks similar to the Obama painting which of course came out many years later.

  7. This is another great analysis only just read it. Thanks. I love this film. So much going on in it.

    Just wanted add something that I noticed about the Cinema scene when Donnie speaks to Frank: This is basically the lay-out of their car/gun scene later on…..
    The the two of them speak to each other while no one else is around. Frank removes his mask. The bullet-shot eye is visible. Meanwhile Gretchen is asleep between them (as though dead). Frank refers to Donnie’s ‘man suit’ (he’s wearing a human skeleton man suit when they meet at the car accident). And also, the Evil Dead film they’re watching heavily features a cellar door.

    Keep up the good work!

  8. Shari Caldwell // August 29, 2012 at 2:34 pm // Reply

    Accordint to Led Zeppelin, the painting is of Icarus, not Lucifer or Apollo: http://www.mindworkshop.com/indcnt.html. Scroll down to the bottom for the original sketch by Rimmer that inspired it.

  9. When you have time please look at this short analysis of Donnie Darko its amazing: http://www.closertogod.net/main/thoughts/worlddetail/darko.htm

  10. I just want to point out that if you pause the movie when Samantha has the poem in her hands, right before Donnie starts to read her poem out loud at the bus stop, you will see that the name of the unicorn in the poem is “Arien”, not “Ariel” like you mentioned in your review. So I’m not sure if the stuff you wrote about Ariel meaning Israel is relevant here.

    It’s also interesting to note that Arien is the name of a character in one of J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendarium, specifically his book “The Silmarillion”. A couple of quotes from the book and from Tolkien himself that give insight into the character/book and have similarities to “Donnie Darko” are:

    1) Arien is the maiden whom the Valar chose from among the Maiar to guide the vessel of the Sun (“Arien”, Wikipedia).

    2) On The Silmarillion: “This legendarium ends with a vision of the end of the world, its breaking and remaking, and the recovery of the Silmarilli and the ‘light before the Sun’ ….” ([Tolkien’s] letter to Milton Waldman, written c.1951)(“Tolkien’s legendarium”, Wikipedia).

    I also have researched and found that J.R.R. Tolkien was involved in the occult and part of an occult society The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. I wonder if it’s a coincidence that the “Cellar Door” reference was also stated by J.R.R. Tolkien.

    It seems like there could be a connection between the film and J.R.R. Tolkien.

    • According to some people I met at school long ago who were into the occult J.R.R. Tolkien, like H.P. Lovecraft based most of his “fictional” world in real ancient history. Of course.. I assume… romanticising it here and there.
      All the Tolkien Gods have Roman-Olympian equivalents like Mondos is Hades. Sauran is obviously Satan the great Dragon or TYRNAT-O-SAURON Rex the most popularised dinosaur/dragon.

  11. Donnie kills Frank, who represents his unwillingness and fear to die, expressing his new found acceptance of death, which culminates with his, “accepted” death by the engine. He know has the knowledge he did not die alone as Grandma Death said he would, but died together with all the individuals his death helped to save and the individuals his death hurt. The individuals he loves that he has to save by dying are represented by, “celler door”, which is uttered when he last thinks about Gretchen.

  12. I am surprised you go down this whole Jungian rabbit-hole while ignoring the Philosophy of Time Travel text entirely. How do you reconcile the plain language of the Philosophy of Time Travel (which leads each scene in the director’s cut) with you Jungian theory to exclude all others?

  13. “There’s chapters in that book, it just can’t be a coincidence”

    Donnie Darko

    • Great looking with sparkly teeth // January 13, 2016 at 6:21 am // Reply

      If we want to be honest, Donnie Darko is a shadow on a cave wall. If all you ever see are shadows, it is cream of the crop. Nevertheless, a shadow it remains. Hence its very name. There is at least some likelihood I am talking to myself. You look great.

  14. I think you are being too glib in your references to the “NeoCon” Establishment. There are several factions in the evolving Elite ruling class, some in conflict, some in alliance as time marches on. It is easy to show that Reagan was basically the front man for the conservative Catholic Church of John Paul II in conflict with the modernist, secularist Rockefeller Establishment of mind control, drugs, the occult, etc. The prominence of the Pope’s Sovereign Military Order of the Knights of Malta in Reagan’s Administration is proof enough: Casey at the CIA and more. The 80s Reagan era was an insurgency against the long long ensconced Rockefeller Establishment. However, as shown when the RINO (Rockefeller Republican) Elite forced Rockefeller minion George Bush on Reagan at the Convention it was presaged that Reagan would have to fight step by step. The Rockefeller controlled Congress wouldn’t let him fight Communism directly even in the Western Hemisphere, hence Iran / Contra / Israel, etc. Zionist NeoCons, shepherded into conservatism by William Buckley, were given space by Reagan, but they weren’t leading. NeoCons attempted to lead under George “W” Bush, but were abandoned when the Rockefeller / Saudi camarilla ordered “W” to stand down via Saudi lawyer James Baker and old man Bush. The NeoCons were then purged. . . . Well, I can go on and on. . . Lloyd Miller a-albionic.com

  15. Seems like Donnie’s life was interrupted by random event, the fall of the 747 engine into his bedroom. In his death throws, the subconscious concocts a dream to resolve his life situation. Of course, the subconscious has only split seconds to do this, but, to Donnie, it is made to seem like 28 days. Nothing in the dream should be taken literally. Contrary to your analysis, we don’t learn literal truth in the dream, but only symbolic truth about Donnie. As per Jung, all the characters in the dream are projected aspects of Donnie, not literal reality. I am still confused, like I missed something, regarding Donnie’s relationship to his sister’s boyfriend Frank.

  16. I watched parts over again and am still can’t find substantial clues as to what his sister’s boyfriend “Frank” means to Donnie. Perhaps we are supposed to speculate that Frank, an older boy, traumatized Donnie at some point in the past and “killed” his anima, represented by Gretchen. It is not uncommon for older boys to sexually traumatize younger brothers and/or neighbors when they reach puberty. This can do severe damage to masculine development.

  17. Normally, I wouldn’t post really personal stuff, but this is to rich to pass up. After watching Donnie Darko, I fell asleep and had a stark dream. I found myself making love to a girl I knew from “teenhood” and apologizing for hurting her feelings when I rejected her advances in Jr. High. She was one of the most dynamic girls in the school, physically and intellectually. She and some of the boys “after her” were deep into puberty or even fully mature while my puberty had hardly begun. That, of course, was why I rejected her enthusiastic, pure advances. I was humiliated and decided the only way out was to hurt her feelings so as to avoid further humiliation. The dream finally resolved the almost forgotten incident and damage to my anima.

  18. Of course, the time travel is just a device of the subconscious in constructing its archetypical dream review of Donnie’s life. It’s not what the end of life, final dream is about.

  19. Just watched Southland Tales and found it tantalizing, but frustratingly confusing to the point of boredom. Couldn’t “grock” it.

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