Why is this film set in 1988?
Richard Kelly has given various reasons for this:
It was a favorite time, when he was a teenager.
Very few films have been set in the ‘80s.
He didn’t feel comfortable setting a teenage film now, with no knowledge of current teenage life. (It could also be a reference to Back to the Future as both movies take place in the 80’s and the movie is also referenced at some point during the film And don’t forget the DeLorean needed to reach a speed of 88mph in order to time-travel).
These are all fair answers (except the flippant one about few films being set then), but the most important reason for choosing 1988 is the Bush v. Dukakis presidential race, which climaxed with a series of debates in October (precisely when the film is set). Eddie Darko watches a key one on TV the night the jet engine ‘first’ crashes and Kelly purposely chose a sound bite of Dukakis attacking Republican support for ‘a drug running Panamanian dictator’ (see comment on Seth Devlin’s character).
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