Donnie Darko (2001) – thoughts of a UK script consultant

Donnie Darko has a massive cult following. I saw it in the cinema back in 2001 and thought it was okay. As a script writer for hire  and UK script consultant. I like to watch films again sometimes, to reappraise them. Watching the film again this week – I found more things of interest.

Of course, the soundtrack is great, the performances are good and some of mise-en-scene is lovely. What interested me more about the film this time is the quantum physics angle in the plot.

Now, for most of my high school days I was half asleep during Physics, I certainly never thought that I’d become interested in quantum physics/mechanics theories.

But Donnie Darko alongside John Carpenter’s The Prince of Darkness – have plots largely built around quantum physics.

There’s a couple of interesting articles online about some of what, quantum physics may actually be doing in the background of our universe. Have a look here and here if you’re interested. The second article which talks about the theory of Retrocasuality is particularly interesting.

Quantum Mechanics is a field which is rich for screenwriters – Nolan has touched on it in some films, even Kubrick to an extent. Primer and Time Crimes are also worthy of a look for having the theories central to the plot of each film.

I’ll revisit the film again, maybe next week, or maybe back in 2001 (I think I just made a quantum mechanics joke…)

Matthew Cooper has been a script writer for hire for over 20 years. He’s written for most of the UK soaps, including writing award winning episodes of Emmerdale, EastEnders, Hollyoaks and Family Affairs and has been BAFTA shortlisted and Royal Television Society nominated as a script writer. He’s also a leading UK script consultant. You can find some of his broadcast credits on the IMDb. You can get in touch with Matthew on or hire him on Peopleperhour