Friday, December 08, 2006

THE FOUNTAIN

Hugh Jackman The Fountain Directed by Darren Aronofsky
Starring Hugh Jackman
Reviewed by Byron Merritt

HUGE THUMBS UP!

HUGE THUMBS UP FILM REVIEW RATING!


Okay all of you sci-fi geeks out there. It’s time to drag your spouse, girlfriend, or significant other out again. They’ll hem and haw about going to see "yet another" science fiction film with you, but this time redemption is at your feet.

THE FOUNTAIN is, for all intents and purposes, a love story built around an SF theme: immortality and the future. But there aren’t any magical conjurers or any time machines. The story is all too human, spanning eons as we witness the immortality of ...love. It may sound a bit offish to some SF fans, but don’t let it be. There are still amazing scenes shot using bizarre methods (micro-photography of petri dishes?) instead of the usual CGI, a remarkable coherency between the vast time scales, and some damn fine acting.

Hugh Jackman (X-Men) stars as Tomas, a man in love with his queen (during the Spanish Inquisition), his terminally ill wife (present day), and the symbol of his wife’s immortality (in the distant future). Tomas’ queen/wife/symbol is none other than the amazing Rachel Weisz (THE CONSTANT GARDNER) known throughout the film as Izzi. Tomas, in the earliest time of the Spanish Inquisition, is trying to save his beloved queen by finding the tree of life (something hinted at in many religions, including Christianity where Adam and Eve eat from the tree of knowledge causing God to yank away the tree of life and hide it).

We then jump to present day and find Doctor Tomas desperately searching for a cancer cure in order to save his wife, Izzi. Again, the tree of life plays a part as he and his research team uncover a strange piece of bark from a long forgotten tree. It’s healing properties are astounding, but will the cure come in time to save Izzi?

The most distant time is that of Tomas on an existential journey through space with a tree as his only companion. Again, the tree of life, but this time the tree is appropriately a symbol of his wife.

Weaving the conquistador past, with present day medicine, and an uncertain future, director
Darren Aronofsky has really given us a piece of poetry as art. This isn’t too surprising coming from Aronofsky, the same director of such mind-benders as PI and REQUIEM FOR A DREAM. Don’t expect a formulaic plot or for things to be spelled out. You know better than that if you’ve seen any of this director’s work. But that’s part of the big draw. You move along with the story rather than being forcibly dragged through it. It flows on its own ethereal plain, never stopping, never letting the viewers’ eyes rest. Each scene is shot to near perfection, using dark sets, lighted doorways, and golden globes to exquisite advantage.

But it’s the love story between Izzi and Tomas that holds the entire movie together. Their dedication to one another is palpable, and when Izzi sits near death’s doorstep, you can feel Tomas’ overwhelming need to save her, his beloved for all time.

So it’s time to haul your spouse/girlfriend/significant other kicking and screaming into the theater again. And they’ll love you for it later. Perhaps you might even "get lucky" after the film...

Click here for The Fountain movie trailer!

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