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The Fountain

A movie directed by Darren Aronofsky

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"The Road to Awe"

  • Dec 24, 2008
Director Darren Aronofsky (Pi and Requiem for a Dream) has created a niche for himself in the film industry. Much like filmmakers David Lynch, Terry Gilliam, and Vincent Ward, Darren Aronofsky explores the realm of dark drama, where dreams and fantasies flow into everyday reality. His film, The Fountain, is an ambitious science fiction/fantasy film with a strong metaphysical undercurrent. As always, Aronofsky utilizes his keen visual sense of storytelling while focusing on characterization and maintaining an emotional momentum. What really brings the film together is the unique narrative structure that combines three different timeframes. This storytelling device can partly be accredited to Aronofsky, though most of the praise should go to the film's under-appreciated editor, Jay Rabinowitz.
Another crucial element of the film is the haunting music by Clint Mansell, which will stay with the viewer long after the film is over.

The film stars Hugh Jackman as Tomas Seville / Tom Creo and Rachel Weisz as Queen Isabel / Izzi Creo. The talented supporting cast features Ellen Burstyn, Mark Margolis, Stephen McHattie, and Cliff Curtis. Still, there's no doubt that it's the performances of Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz that propel the story forward.
Rachel Weisz as Queen Isabel

In the year 1,500 A.D. Queen Isabel of Spain suffers under the reign of terror that was the Grand Inquisition. She turns to her most valiant warrior, Tomas Seville, to save Spain from bondage and in return she will give him her hand in marriage. The queen believes that the Tree of Life grows in New Spain (or South America), and that whoever drinks the sap from this tree shall be given immortality. This, she believes, is her only hope of saving herself and her country from the wrath of the sanctimonious grand inquisitor, Silecio. So Tomas gathers together the bravest of the conquistadors and travels to New Spain in search of the fabled Tree of Life... but the dangers that await him may prove too great even for this noble warrior who faithfully serves his queen.
In the year 2,000 A.D. a doctor named Tom Creo searches for a way to save his dying wife Izzi, who has an inoperable brain tumor. But as Izzi's health declines she finds a spiritual awakening in the legends of the ancient Mayan culture. These legends revive memories of a past life and inspire Izzi to write a novel that will help Tom cope with her inevitable death. All the while, Tom is consumed with grief and obsessively continues his research with an enzyme found in a rare South American tree.
In the year 2,500 A.D. Tom travels through space with the tree he planted over Izzi's grave. Haunted by images from their past, he meditates on loss and what it means to live and die. As Tom drifts ever closer to Xibalba, a dying star that is enshrouded in a nebula, he learns the truth about immortality. Most importantly Tom learns to let go and understand the importance of physical death.

Through space and time...
In the end (if there really can be one), The Fountain is about a love shared between two soul mates, a love that transcends life and death, time and space.
"Death is only the beginning..."
Poster Transcendence Traversing the Universe

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October 21, 2010
This was an amazing film, excellent review.
February 01, 2009
I haven't seen this yet, but I like Aronofsky's films in general. How would you compare "The Fountain" with other films that Aronofsky has directed?
July 23, 2009
Well, to be honest it's abit more pretentious and certainly not as dark thematically as "Reuiem for a Dream". And it couldn't be more different, at least on an aesthetic level from his latest film, "The Wrestler". Ultimately, "The Fountain" is a great film, but it suffers from the fact that it will probably only hold a real interest for people into philosophy, transcendentalism, or sci-fi/romance stories.
More The Fountain reviews
review by . January 10, 2011
*** out of ****      "The Fountain" left me feeling completely drained. While it was confusing and a tad uneven, Darren Aronofsky's third feature was also beautiful and rich with both visual and intellectual spectacle. Yes, I'm one of the many non-professional film critics who liked Aronosky's "The Fountain". And don't ask me why, because I'm going to tell you soon enough. As you may know, I am indeed an admirer of complex, diverse films. …
Quick Tip by . June 22, 2010
I actually really liked this was...interesting, but in a good way.
review by . November 17, 2008
(Based on "Trees" by Joyce Kilmer)     I thought that I would never see   A movie centered `round a tree     A tree whose milky sap can bring   An end to human suffering     A tree that looks up to the sky   While time on earth is passing by     A tree that from First Father grew   A star that dies and starts anew     Within whose bosom lies the cure   For …
review by . September 13, 2008
Pros: None really     Cons: Almost everything     The Bottom Line: Skip The Fountain; what started out perhaps to be a journey into the spiritual realm turned out to be short trip into a scattered mind with little direction.          Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. I like to watch movies; all sorts of movies, but by the end I would like to know what to movie was/is all about. …
review by . July 11, 2007
One recurring theme for manifests itself annually in Hollywood is the movie about lovers transcending death and time to be with each other. Past examples include Somewhere in Time, The Lake House, Timeline, Bicentennial Man, and maybe even the Sixth Sense. This is probably the weirdest of them all, but also the most intriguing. The movie is actually three stories wrapped into one, all of which feature three characters, Hugh Jackman, Rachel Weisz, and a tree that gives life. The three are intertwined …
review by . June 20, 2007
There is something going on here. If I were to say that I knew what everything in "The Fountain" is supposed to mean, I'd probably be a liar. That said, I feel that I got the general idea. Many people have compared this film's esoteric, pseudo-intellectual appeal to something like Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, but I think this is a wrong claim to make. There are many moments in the Fountain in which the story is too desperately being explained to us. Rachel Weisz is an amazing actress but half …
review by . May 17, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Nothing comes to mind      Cons: Horrific plot, it is both nearly impossible to follow and not worth the effort.      The Bottom Line: Unless you just want to waste ninety minutes, don't bother with this one.      Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie''s plot.      Darren Aronofsky is not for emotional lightweights. In is film Pi a super genius mathematician whose talents …
review by . May 16, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
New Age fairy tale, `The Fountain,' taps into our most primitive regions by transcending space and time to seek the antidote to man's mighty enemy--Death. Drawing upon a hodgepodge of religious imagery, the movie intersects four time frames, including ancient times and the biblical Tree of Life; the trappings of Medeival Spain when ascetical practices were sometimes severe, and the Inquisition made "heresy" contraband; today, and the future when mankind potentially can reap the benefits of science …
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It's been a long, strange trip since Darren Aronofsky last invited viewers into his cinematic world--six years in fact--but THE FOUNTAIN is sure to enchant, beguile, and inspire intense debate among his patient fans. During the frustrating gap since 2000's REQUIEM FOR A DREAM, Aronofsky has struggled to bring THE FOUNTAIN to the screen, principally because leading man Brad Pitt dropped out of the project.

The complex tale is split into three different time periods, beginning in the 16th century, when a conquistador named Tomas (Hugh Jackman) strives to find the Tree of Life. The second part of the story finds Jackman playing a Buddha-like character who zips through outer space and dreams of a woman named Izzi (Rachel Weisz).

And the third part, which consumes most of the film's screen time, is set in the present day and sees Jackman playing a doctor named Tommy, who is married to the terminally-ill Izzi. In this third section Tommy strives to find a cure for Izzi's brain tumor, and makes some progress af...
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