Analog Thoughts on a Digital Age

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Movie Review: 'The Fountain" (2006)

I first heard of The Fountain in one of the many movieblogs I frequently visit. That was almost a year ago. A lot of buzz has been genenrated about this movie that got me curious. It is said to be an entirely new approach to the sci-fi genre. It is also been referred to as a groundbreaking work in drama. It has also been referred to as a stinking piece of crap.

I have been aware of Darren Aronofsky and his work in the cult favorite A Requiem For A Dream, I personally ahve not seen Requiem and yes, I know what I am missing. Aronofsky's movies are not for the average weekend viewer, that's for sure. He is often dismissed as a new generation MTV synaptic 300-cuts-per-minute extended music video director, but he isd much more thatn that.

The Fountain is about...(pause, looking at the keyboard). Its really hard to explain without making it look stupid, which is why not a lot of people went to see it.

Hugh Jackman plays three characters. A Conquistador, a scientist and a man in a floating glass ball in space. Rachel Weisz plays Hugh Jackman's wife Isabel in one story and the Queen of Spain in another. In an intertwining narrative. The film talks about life, love, death and the significance of accepting the future rather than fighting it.

The story unfolds non-sequencially, of course, emphasizing parts of the story wherein one correlates with the other in either theme or significance. At the beginning we are presented with Jackman's conquistador persona ascending the steps of what seems to be a Mayan temple encountering a priest or guardian at the summit, then it cuts into space (reminded me a lot of my favorite film 2001: A Space Oddysey) with Jackman, bald, in a lotus position floating in a glass ball with a very old tree inside with him. He talks to the tree like he would a person. He then sees Weisz's Isabel, camera cuts to her in the ball with him, cuts back to him, with hair, this time in an office.

Honestly, the first two acts of the movie are pretty boring. In fact I was ready to dismiss this as a failed piece of art around 45 minutes into it, then the third act came. It's funny, I usually decide whether I like a movie or not at around the middle of it. A movie usually does not redeem itself as abrubptly as The Fountain did on its last 15 minutes. It finally occured to me that it was Aronofsky's intention to give that effect. He could have made the first and second act more, say, appealing. But no, he didn't, he had other plans. He knew what he was doing.

Seriously, The Fountain helped me look into hw we see life from this side of the fence. And if we did find a way to live forever, is dying really that bad?

Then I went out and bought myself ice cream.

Rocketboy's Rating: **** (4 out of 5 stars)



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