95 Min. | Drama – Sci-Fi | December 2006
IMDB Rating: 7.3
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Staring: Hugh Jackman, Rachel Weisz, Sean Patrick Thomas
The Fountain Review: In a word, The Fountain is warm. Aronofsky’s palette for his third feature is a swirling miasma of golden yellows, and it sets the tone for the work. ‘The Fountain’ is a life-affirming treatise on the eternity of love. Cynical hacks might decry this as a mawkish, facile rumination of saccharine proportions, but despite the sentimental themes, the film is never cloying, opting instead for a (sur) realistic portrayal of the nuances of one of life’s most powerful emotions. The casting was superb, Rachel Weisz and Hugh Jackman are outstanding in their roles, with both offering utterly believable performances. Weisz reveals the same depths she did in ‘The Constant Gardener’, portraying myriad subtleties in a role that could’ve easily been misplayed, starring as Jackman’s love throughout time.
For those who’ve only seen Jackman in action-oriented mutant movies, his command of his character’s strengths and frailties is a welcome surprise. The supporting cast was excellent as well, with Ellen Burstyn standing out in particular. In The Fountain, special effects were phenomenal, even without taking the film’s halved budget into consideration. I won’t spoil the surprise, but when you find out how Aronofsky and Co. achieved some of the extraordinary images, you’re sure to be impressed (and reminded of a film classic from over 25 years ago). The Fountain is not a film to rely on FX, though. In fact, the segment (not scene, the story is split across three time periods) using the bulk of the effects is probably the shortest.
Aronofsky ambitiously tackles heavy themes and concepts and he does it in a little over 90 minutes. I didn’t realize how short the film was until it was over. However, ‘The Fountain’s brevity could also be perceived as an extension of one of its themes, learning to appreciate the world and its beauty in whatever time we are allotted. The Fountain” is masterful on so many unique levels, presenting a demanding filmgoing experience that should elicit a grand sense of awe on an emotional and spiritual level unlike anything you’ve seen this year.