"The Fountain" without leaks

Nov. 26, 2006, midnight | By Alexis Egan | 13 years, 7 months ago

Sci-fi drama profound but perplexing

What if the one person you loved was dying? Dying of a supposedly incurable disease? You've done everything you can to save them, but it's not working. What if you learned there might be a chance, a hope in the form of the Mayan Tree of Life? "The Fountain" explores this possibility while also revealing a perspective on life, death and acceptance.

Set over the course of 1000 years, the earliest timeline takes place in 16th century as an explorer from Spain (Hugh Jackman) completes the Queen's (Rachel Weisz) quest of finding the Mayan Tree of Life. In modern times, Jackman plays Tommy Creo as an animal neurosurgeon attempting to come to terms with his wife's (Weisz, again) illness. In his third role, Jackman portrays a 26th century deep space explorer as he ventures to the Xibalba nebula, the Mayan underwood, who must face his fears of life and death.

Originally planned to star Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, director Darren Aronofsky ("Requiem for a Dream" and "Pi") instead chose to star Jackman and Weisz in the lead roles, a choice which complements the movie's chemistry. No matter which time period the actors are in, they portray their characters with such power and intensity that the audience can't help but be drawn into their stories.

Even though the majority of the film's weight lies on Weisz and Jackman, the other actors carry a fair share of the responsibility as well. Clint Curtis ("Whale Rider") and Ellen Burstyn ("The Five People You Meet in Heaven") both add to "The Fountain" by providing conflict and an outlet for emotions for the two leads.

Undeniably pretty and a cinematic gem, "The Fountain" excels in special effects. Each of the three settings are done with grace and beauty, tying together the symbolism and themes. Instead of simply twinkling, galaxies glow with power and grandeur. Trees don't just grow, they blossom and flourish.

Adding to the film's beauty is a artistically composed score by Clint Mansell, who has also done music for Aronofsky's other films. Timed perfectly to coincide with the film's events, the music adds volumes to the plot and story. Even though the musically style is unchanging throughout the story lines, it fits equally well with each time period, despite differences of hundreds of years.

At face value, "The Fountain" is just a simple recreation of a man's dying wife's manuscript and his emotional turmoil. But at second glance, the movie reveals a great deal about human nature's attitude towards death, loss and acceptance. Hardly the first movie to deal with such ideas, "The Fountain" stands out because it is the first movie to do so with both beauty and ambiguity.

Although the first few scenes are confusing, the film soon sorts itself. The story lines blend together smoothly, leaping centuries with ease. As swiftly as the film transfers hundreds of years to the future, they are back again, the brief futurist moment providing insight to the main events.

Destined to be a revolutionizing sci-fi drama, much in the way that "2001: Space Odyssey" was for the 60s, the film's parallel way of story telling makes it both unique and prominent. Although the hour and a half of drama and acting is impressive enough, what you get from the film is the most note-worthy part.

"The Fountain" is rated PG-13 for some intense sequences of violent action, some sensuality and language. It is playing at area theaters.

Alexis Egan. Alexis is a (very) short junior, who is very pleased to be writing for Chips Online with all her friends. Along with writing, her other hobbies are playing soccer, reading about Mount Everest and listening to any Irish music. Her favorite movie is The Princess … More »

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