This post is about my investigation to when the “Tangent Universe” collapses in the Movie “Donnie Darko”, assuming it’s a point in time. I mean, Frank the bunny gave Donnie a countdown, “That is when the world will end.”, so I’m going to assume that there is a moment when the event either starts or finishes. (And go away if you’re going to bring up time travel, I don’t care about the “Prime Universe” or “real universe” tonight. This is all about the tangents baby.)

Also I got to make this clear first, because I started to confuse myself. Midnight on a date is the very start of the day. In military time it would be 00:00:00 or normally 12:00am regular time.

Also despite obviously being California (I love the mountains) the movie is set in Middlesex Virginia, which during the month of October is EDT. (Just like now here in New York,)

Near the end of the movie, when the clock strikes midnight, the movie claims

October 30 1988

Which, seems wrong. I would argue 7 hours until the end of the world, but that “Six Hours Remain” may be until the start of the end or something. See at the beginning of the movie Frank the bunny calls Donnie out of his room, the clocks read midnight and the date given is,

October 2 1988

Frank has donnie walk to the golf course and then tells him that he has 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes, and 12 seconds left (28:06:42:12), assuming about 18 minutes to walk to the course, this places the end of the world around 7am.

The script (which I found online) says that sequence of events that end with the downed engine from Flight 2806 (with the mother and little sister, and I can assume all of “Sparkle Motion”) falls starts at exactly 6am. It could conceivably take an hour to complete, having to drive up into the mountains with an indeterminate amount of time passing with a montage, where we see people on the plane and Donnie’s flashbacks. Which would leave the collapse of the “Tangent Universe” at around 7am.

Now I’m going to apologize in advance for the next paragraph.

The website puts the end and collapse of the tangent universe at midnight on .. October 27th 2001 which is completely off base (by 3 days and 6 or 7 hours). Unless you look at the release date of the movie which is in October 28th, 2001 according to Wikipedia (the US release not the Sundance premier) and you can assume maybe that date was pushed back a day or something to coincide. (Wikipedia could be wrong besides.) But the 27th of 2001 was a Saturday and the 28th was a Sunday and in the past.. I don’t know 10 years I can remember, Movies have generally been released on Wednesdays or Fridays. So.. I might even think that these dates could be when the theaters receive the movies and not when they first play them. Of course it’s late, and I may not understand the intricacies of the movie system. Back to the main point, if you watched the movie in theaters that could be when the “tangent universe” first collapsed for you.

Seriously I apologize, I look at that paragraph and I don’t even want to proof read it.

So the ambiguity is that at midnight on October 30th the movie says 6 hours left when Frank and the sequence of events indicate 7 hours are left and the website says fuckall. (“I will not be afraid!”) Why does all this matter? I wanted to create a clock that gave the countdown to October 30th on the hour of the Collapse of the “tangent universe”. But since I’ve been trying to figure all this out I’m now up way later then I wanted to be and I’m probably not going to make this stupid clock tonight.

Good night, and thank you Richard Kelly for making a good movie, even if I have no idea what time things happened despite you riddling the script and movie with plenty of time notifications.

Also, In my searches I’ve found only one other site confused about this, and they didn’t care. I guess they weren’t trying to make a clock.


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