I've seen Donnie Darko a number of times, I couldn't help but notice the usage for the number 28 throughout the movie. So I had to find out what the number meant! In my searching, I kind of felt like Jim Carrey's character from the movie The Number 23.
I touched on it briefly in my older post, but I never got a chance to go into more detail on the subject. Which brings up the question, what is the purpose behind the number 28 in the movie Donnie Darko?
The World is Going to End
In this scene, Frank, the giant talking rabbit, tells Donnie that the world is going to end in 28 days 6 hours 42 minutes 12 seconds. Well... that gives Donnie more time than Samara's "Seven days..." The point is that overall, Donnie is given a deadline and it is within the 28 days.
The Movie Takes Place on a Leap Year
Prior to this scene, we learn that in the movie, Donnie sees Frank on October 2nd, 1988. So I did some digging and found that the year 1988 fell on a Leap Year, meaning that February had an extra day that year. I believe that the reason Donnie was able to go back in time was because at that time it was a Leap Year. Which means that Donnie was given an extra day in that year to fix something that went wrong in the timeline. This would also mean that the only way that either of us could go back in time, is if the year fell on a Leap Year.
The Film Took 28 Days to Complete
Very few people know this, but a really fun trivial fact is that the movie only took 28 days to film. It makes you wonder if they did it on purpose or they just had a tight schedule?
What is very interesting is a comment that was made on IMDb regarding the not just the number 28 but also other numbers that corresponded with the number 28. I though that adding all the numbers from the message that Frank gave to Donnie was even more interesting. Together they all add up to the number 88 which is the speed the DeLorean needs in order to travel through time in the movie Back to the Future.
The movie takes place in 1988. Frank tells Donnie the world will end in 28 days, 06 hours, 42 minutes, and 12 seconds. If you add these numbers, the sum is 88. When Samantha asks when she can have kids, Donnie says: "Not until 8th grade." Donnie mentions to his therapist that his dog Callie died when he was eight. (He is later seen holding a stuffed toy dog in her office.) Donnie jokes about the Back to the Future DeLorean which had a speed of 88 MPH. According to the television reporter, the fire at Jim Cunningham's house was extinguished "sometime after 8:00 last night." The red-eye flight that almost crashes is Flight 2806 which boards at Gate 42 at 12 AM. The climax of Donnie Darko occurs one week before the 1988 US presidential election, when George Bush won on November 8, 1988 11/08/88. The movie was shot (for a budget of less than US$5 million) in 28 days. There are 28 scenes in the director's cut of this film.
What's even more interesting is that in this site it talks about the importance of the number 28. The thing that stood out to me was the numbers usage in the lunar cycle for the Julian calendar.
Could it be that the number 28 is the key to time travel in the plot for Donnie Darko? Only time will tell...