Rabbits don’t come any creepier than Frank (James Duval) in Donnie Darko. He’s man-sized and has matted black fur, opaque eyes, and a frozen grin revealing menacing-looking choppers. Plus, he’s a doom-saying prophet who, as his name suggests, is brutally candid, appearing before Donnie (Jake Gyllenhaal) to deliver the news of the world’s imminent demise (in precisely 28 days, six hours, 42 minutes, and 12 seconds).
Is Frank good or evil? Honest or deceptive? Human or something more sinister and strange? Real or a Harvey-like projection of Donnie’s subconscious? Darkologists (as fervent a cult of movie lovers as rookie writer/director Richard Kelly could have wished for) have spent many an all-night bull session debating such questions. Toward the end of the movie, Kelly hints at answers that would explain Frank’s true nature and allow the movie’s looped narrative to make some sense (at least in a David Lynchian nightmare-logic kind of way), but for many viewers, it’s more fun to let ambiguity remain and leave Frank as a terrifying symbol of innocent childhood fantasy gone horribly to seed.