The Fountain review by Tom Blain

Director Darren Aronofsky has made quite a name for himself already. With the low-budget black and white Pi he created a mathematical thriller where a man drives himself to mad with paranoia while he comes closer and closer to discovering a formula that could predict stock movements. Mathematical thriller seems to be a paradox but he pulled it off. In Requiem for a Dream four lives are ruined as the drugs they become addicted to take over their mind. Now in his third ambitious installment, The Fountain, Aronofsky shows us the tormented mind of a doctor, who like Max Cohen, has humbly made a historical discovery.

I must admit that after about 20 minutes of The Fountain I was really thinking of not writing a review at all. I was sitting in the theatre thinking, How the crap do I describe what Im seeing? Do I even know what these people are doing? Luckily later in the movie a story was introduced. But let me try to describe for you what happens in The Fountain Dr. Tommy Creos (Hugh Jackman) wife Izzy or Isabella (Rachel Weisz) is slowly dying of brain cancer. Ironically Dr. Tommy is a doctor working in medicine research and currently has all of his efforts in place at fighting brain cancer. Just when she appears to be taking a turn for the worse, he is on the brink of discovery. He is in a virtual race against Izzys clock to find a miracle cure.

Just as this is going on we have two other worlds that are reflecting Tommys: One is a fictional world that represents a novel being written by Izzy. In this world Tommy is a Spanish Conquistador who has been sent to find a Mayan Temple that hold the Tree of Life (from the Book of Genesis), thus giving him and the queen immortality. The other world is well a bit more surreal. It involves a clean shaven Tommy traveling through space in a globe with a tree. He is traveling towards a golden nebula which represents a Mayan Heaven. Along the way he eats parts of the tree for sustenance and occasionally sees images or flashbacks of Izzy. Its not completely clear whether this is a dream, part of his subconscious, a parallel universe, or a reflection of his soul. My guess is the latter.

All three stories have are spliced together and in the film. In all three, the main characters goal is the same; to cheat death and achieve some sort of immortality. Dr. Creo treats death like a disease, not like some sort of inevitable ending (he even says so in the film). The conquistador is looking for immortality through a tree in South America (ironically it is fibers from a tree in South America that are used in Creos breakthrough) as if it were a Fountain of Youth. And the bald guy in the globe is traveling towards heaven and looking for spiritual immortality.

In a 2001-ish way it seems like that is the goal of director Darren Aronofsky. In many ways his film is beautiful to look at and in many ways its fun to discuss so Aronofsky achieved this. It definitely falls into place with his other three films. Much more like Pi, it deals with a man whos mind allows him to discover something great, but that same mind blocks him from really controlling it or wielding it proper use. But it was a bit overly ambitious. After his point was made about mans mortality the film keeps going, and at times I wondered if all the twists and turns were really worth the wait. In the end I felt satisfied to see a film by a master director who consistently pushes the limits of storytelling. If its an avant garde film you crave, then The Fountain may be the best thing for you to see this year.




7 out of 10 Jackasses
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