Donnie Darko and the Representation of the Monstrous

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Discuss how film codes and conventions construct a representation of the monstrous in a film you have studied Richard Kelly’s film Donnie Darko released in 2001 presented audiences with a new idea and take on the conventional sci-fi drama examining themes of time travel, reality v illusions, religion, mental illness and questioning what people believe and why. Donnie Darko exploits the innate fear of dying alone and wanting to be remembered after you are gone. The film ends with Donnie sacrificing himself for the ones he loves and by default the world, but suggests that nobody will ever know about his sacrifice. It shows Donnie’s struggle with reality and represents the monstrous in most obvious physical form through the figure Frank, a giant nightmare like rabbit, and through several other characters within the film known as the ‘Manipulated Living’, in a figurative form expressed through the tangent reality in which Donnie lives throughout most of the film. Donnie Darko shows how the monstrous can be represented or misrepresented depending on the interpretation by the viewer. This is a film filled with elements of science fiction, horror and drama but does not come under one genre. Its appeal is in its eccentric way of telling a story, and its ambiguities of both the characters and the exploration of determinism and free will, sanity and insanity, loneliness and love. However it also rejects most common conventions having the main monstrous figure -Frank the bunny- also the one responsible to get Donnie (the protagonist) ready before the world ends, thus saving the original world by causing the destruction of the tangent world. It uses the story to convey its meaning primarily through dialogue and meticulous editing and leaves the majority of the interpretation of the film up to the viewer’s imagination. Frank is a six foot tall male in a demonic rabbit suit

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