96 minutes approx
Dr. Lillian Guzetti -
Written by -
Directed by -
A conquistador captain fights his way through to a hidden pyramid in the heart of South America to find the tree of eternal life. In the far future, a man who has lived almost forever travels to dying star in a bubble with a dying tree as his only companion. In the present, a brilliant doctor strives for the breakthrough that will save the life of his terminally ill wife.
Darren Aronofsky's musings on the search for eternal life has taken so long to get to the screen that it sometimes seemed like only those with eternal life would be left around to see it. The SCI FI FREAK SITE has been looking forward to the film for all that time and that amount of anticipation built up over so long means that now only a masterpiece will do.
Let's get one thing over with first. This film is gorgeous. There really is no other word to describe it. Every frame, almost, is a painting in itself and some of the images are so arresting that they could easily hang in an art gallery without drawing adverse comment. The colour scheme as well, gentle brown tones and washed out colours verging on sepia, is also gorgeous. The sound design is gorgeous. Rachel Weisz (who we always thought of as pretty, but not beautiful) is gorgeous. For visual effect, THE FOUNTAIN is gloriously gorgeous.
This is, though, much more than its visuals. It is, in fact, much more than a film. It is an cinematic experience of the purest kind. That doesn't mean just pictures and sound. Story and theme combine seamlessly. Time, space, life, rebirth and reality all come together in a moment that might (or might not) also be the birth of the universe. These are not small matters that Aronofsky is considering here.
The plot is not so much a story as a gradual revealing of what has brought this man in a bubble to place, time and understanding that he finally attains. It's elliptical and, in the early stages at least, baffling, but it is also hypnotic and beguiling throughout.
It's all set to a haunting score by Clint Mansell that is as much a part of the whole as any other and makes the film more than Aronofsky's alone.
Rachel Weisz is given very little to do except look like a woman worth dying (and living forever) for, something that she copes with well enough, most especially in her scenes as the Queen of Spain. Hugh Jackman is give job of carrying the film, something that often seems to be simply looking beatific or crying at the potential loss of his spouse, but which develops into something more emotional and intense as the film progresses. His performance is the acting revelation of the film. Ellen Burstyn also appears in an extended cameo role.
THE FOUNTAIN is not a film to be understood, but to be experienced. It is not to be explained but to be felt. Those who go looking for structure and narrative may be disappointed, baffled and annoyed. Immerse yourself in it, though, and let if flow over you and you will be rewarded with the most startling cinematic experience for a long time. It's almost not worth anyone else trying as this will likely be the most memorable film of the year.Top
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