The Fountain (2006)

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Review #315 of 365
Movie Review of The Fountain (2006) [PG-13] 96 minutes
WIP™ Scale: $13.75
Where Viewed: United Artists Denver Pavilions Stadium 15, Denver, CO
When 1st Seen: 22 November 2006
Time: 8:30 p.m.
Film's Official Website
DVD Release Date: unscheduled

Directed by: Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream)
Screenplay by: Darren Aronofsky (Pi)
Story by: Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel

Featured Cast (Where You Might Remember Him/Her From):
Hugh Jackman (Happy Feet) • Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardener) • Ellen Burstyn (The Wicker Man)

Soundtrack: order the CD below

Click for 'Review Lite' [a 150-word or less review of this film]
Writer / Director Darren Aronofsky is known for his stark take on human nature and the power of the mind from his famous previous two films Pi and Requiem for a Dream. His portfolio of films advances substantially with the release of The Fountain originally slated for late summer or early fall 2006. Quite simply, the story told in the film may prove to be one of the greatest love stories ever, though some may argue it is not told in the best possible of ways nor with the best acting ever of Hugh Jackman—which would be pivotal to the overall success of the love story.

"… the culmination of Aronofsky's brilliance in creating powerfully unique stories with central characters as complex as Mandelbrot fractals."
Unfolding the story, told in a disjointed ethereal fashion out of time sequence with a blurring of flashbacks and reality all the way back to the present from a far away, future, requires intense concentration and acceptance of a conquistador (Hugh Jackman) who was commanded by Queen Isabel of Spain (Rachel Weisz) to travel to Central America and follow the trail of the Mayans leading directly to the Tree of Life just where God hid it upon Adam and Eve's Biblical banishment from the Garden of Eden. Once found, he is to capture its secret and its sap to enable the preservation of Spain's power forever. Back and forth in time and memory of this conquistador, called Tomas or Tommy in the future, we begin to gather that Tomas found the tree, drank of its sap, gave some to the Queen, and the two have been immortal ever since living life in love forever. That is, until, Izzi begins to succumb to a rapidly growing brain tumor—apparently the one thing the Tree of Life cannot heal and a bit of a flaw in the scripting. Nonetheless, finding a cure for the brain cancer becomes Tomas's only focus. His love for Izzie has spanned centuries, and he will do anything to cure her. Therefore, he takes up a position working with baboons and trying to find a cure for brain tumors under the program direction of Dr. Lillian Guzetti (Ellen Burstyn). The time-transcending plot then oscillates between the 16th century, our present day, and the future 26th century where, apparently, Tomas has been able to create a space-time bubble to transport himself, the tree of life, and Izzie's essence, soul, and memory, to a distant nebula Izzie believed to be the Mayan location for their hell or underworld or place of massive universal rebirth.

Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz in The Fountain
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Without a doubt, cinematically, musically, and artistically, the film is stunning, brilliant, and beautiful. It flows forth utilizing the sense of Mayan cycles to all things rather than a sense of either permanence or beginning and ending that is so central to Western philosophy. What we may be witnessing, in effect, is really an entire flashback of Tomas's life or it might be projections into the future and past. Scenes repeat, ideas circle back onto themselves, and lives intersect, as Tomas never really learns to live with loss. The effect yields an elegant tribute to birth, death, and the potential for rebirth if no more than as the nutrients for the next set of living things that utilize our molecular essence upon decomposition. From an artistic and esthetic perspective, the film provokes transcendental love and peace. Yet, the majesty of the effect is dampened by two nagging issues. That dreaded brain tumor doesn't quite fit. If drinking from the sap of the Tree of Life endows eternal life onto the consumer, and clearly Izzie and Tomas have both drunk the elixir, then how does it fail to cure her brain tumor? The sap heals external wounds without exception. The two have been frozen from again since the 16th century. Granted, at one point, Tomas does reprimand his fellow researchers that there is a big difference between finding a compound that will slow or prevent aging and on that will cure cancer, but this scene alone is insufficient to explain why the brain tumor isn't easily cured. The second minor issue with the film, honestly, is Hugh Jackman's performance. In trying to show the pain he's going through in dealing with Izzie's brain tumor and establish the depth of his love for her, he goes over the top a bit. His facial expressions and actions are simply too staged. It's as if he's playing the part too much with his mind and not enough with his heart and soul. Nonetheless, The Fountain represents the culmination of Aronofsky's brilliance in creating powerfully unique stories with central characters as complex as Mandelbrot fractals.

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Related Products from
Other Projects Featuring The Fountain (2006)
Cast Members
Hugh JackmanRachel WeiszEllen Burstyn
Writer / Director
Darren Aronofsky
CD Soundtrack

The Fountain (2006) Review-lite [150-word cap]
Darren Aronofsky is known for his stark examinations of human nature and the mind from his previous films Pi and Requiem for a Dream. His portfolio advances with The Fountain which may prove to be the greatest love story ever. Though, perhaps, not told in the best manner nor with the best acting of Hugh Jackman, the story unfolds in out-of-sequence fashion blurring flashbacks and reality as modern-day, brain cancer researcher Tomas(Hugh Jackman) races toward a cure for his beloved wife, Izzie. The two are actually the long-lived Queen Isabel of Spain and the conquistador she sent to discover the Fountain of Youth. Cinematically and artistically the film is beautiful. Despite the inexplicable inability for the fountain to cure a brain tumor and Jackman acting more with his mind than heart, the Fountain represents the culmination of Aronofsky's brilliance in creating powerful stories with characters as complex as Mandelbrot fractals.

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