Donnie Darko and 2001: A Space Odyssey has central meanings that focus on science and religion. Richard Kelly's, Donnie Darko, introduces the protagonist as a teenage boy who is given the chance to live for twenty-eight more days after the mysterious jet engine crash that was intended to kill him. Donnie is plagued by visions of a giant sized evil-looking rabbit named Frank. Frank orders Donnie to commit acts of violence, warns of the impending end of the world, and is his guide throughout the movie. Donnie is portrayed as a Christ-like figure that will ultimately travel back in time not only to redeem his actions, but the actions of those he has affected. When Donnie dies he becomes a martyr and saves the world, like Christ. Stanley Kubrick's, 2001: A Space Odyssey portrays human evolution while being guided by a higher intelligence. Although this higher intelligence is anonymous throughout the movie, it has placed mysterious stone structures known as "monoliths" on the moon, Saturn, and Earth. These monoliths have purposively been around for over 4,000 years and are a symbol of evolution. At each new level of human achievement, the monolith is present. The scene in A Space Odyssey, where astronaut David Bowman lands on the enigmatic monolith, focuses on an evolutionary theme, whereas the montage scene in Donnie Darko shows the reverse of time followed by Donnie laughing in bed awaiting death, thus unraveling an underlying Christian theme in which Donnie is Christ-like for sacrificing himself to save the world.
The sequence that portrays the central meaning in Donnie Darko is disclosed in the montage, consisting of scenes throughout the movie being shown in reverse. During the montage the jet engine from Mrs. Darko's plane is seen crashing through the sky. Normally an engine would crash into the ground, but it travels through a surreal portal, which is a sign of divine intervention. It is now known that the engine's destination is towards Donnie's bedroom, as...
Cited: 2001 A Space Odyssey. Dir. Stanley Kubrick. Perf.
Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, and William Sylvester.
February 3, 2004. DVD. Warner Studios, 1968.
Donnie Darko. Dir. Richard Kelly. Perf. Jake Gyllenhaal,
Holmes Osborne, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Daveigh Chase,
Mary McDonnell, Patrick Swayze, Drew Barrymore,
and James Duval. September 7, 2004. Videocassette.
Fox Home Entertainment, 2001.
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