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Movie Review: The Windmill
There's no hope for us here, there is only death. - Tom
Just when I was starting to seriously crave some heart and grey matter stimuli within a genre film, here comes
King Shite Darren Aranofsky to save my freaking day with THE FOUNTAIN. The dude blew my noggin to oblivion with his trippy and tragedy laced
Requiem for a Dream and now heâ€™s gone and done it again with this heart-wrenching follow up. Although not a horror flick by any stretch of the lubed up Trojan, this pseudo Sci-Fi-ish, LSD laced, love letter to the human condition got the motherf*cking job done plus taxes.
Initially, THE FOUNTAIN was set to star Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett with a 75 Million dollar budget resting snuggly under its skirt. Thank the whores that be that Pitt and Aranofsky didnâ€™t see thumb to thumb on the picture during pre-prod. The consequences of that was the director had to scale his script down (the film wound up costing 35 Million clams instead) and he had to cast down (although in my book he cast up). The result was a compellingly layered, deeply affecting, profoundly spiritual/existential, fascinatingly symbolic and visually hypnotizing ride that had me firmly in its grasp at frame one and didnâ€™t let me go till it destroyed me with its final frames.
By scaling down the project, the filmâ€™s universal themes (i.e. its core) resonated, loud and strong. Basically bursting out the screen to pummel me senseless. Maybe if the film was bigger as originally planned, that wouldnâ€™t have been the case. What themes am I rambling on about? Love and Death baby. What else! Iâ€™ll speak for myself here; Iâ€™ve experienced romantic love (yeahâ€¦who knew). And Iâ€™ve been through way too many losses of loved ones already. Iâ€™ve seen them fade away abruptly or slowly yet surely. And Iâ€™ve felt the denial, anger and helplessness that came with such total bummers. Hence THE FOUNTAIN resonated with me and hit me like a ton of bricks as the film was about just that. Its gun was definitely loaded for full-on heart string snapping. Human topics we can all relate to + two fabulous actors in the forefront + awe inspiring visuals + an evocative score that brought it all home with gusto = Arrow freaking put through the emotional ringer and cherishing every damn micro second of it.
Now if youâ€™re diving into this solemn pond expecting a character study, you will be let down. The film gave us the basics about the couple and witnessing them grippingly tackle the ordeal gapped the rest. I didnâ€™t need to know what these peeps ate for breakfast or what their life long goals were to feel for them. The chemistry charged relationship between these two people and the riveting fashion in which they faced the bleak inevitable were more than enough. Big props to Hugh Jackman for pulling off quite the intense performance. The man had me transfixed to the screen! I havenâ€™t seen a dude cry this well onscreenâ€¦sinceâ€¦well Brad Pitt in Legends of the Fall. I couldnâ€™t imagine anybody else in the role! Same went for Rachel Weisz who was vulnerable, human and photogenic enough to justify why one man would put himself though hell to save her life. Hey, I wouldâ€™ve done the same thing!
Now donâ€™t get me wrong THE FOUTAIN was more than boo-oo drama it was also a superbly put together tale that branched out into three separate entities (that spanned through time; present, past, future). The smooth manner in which Aranofsky tied those three stories together cracked my skull in half and used it as an ashtray. And the fact that all three accounts flowed as one so gracefully while complementing each other so damn well just added to the visceral experience. Add to all that an absorbing ambiguous nature that had my cells working as much as my ticker, brilliant and ingenious production designs (no CG here, all was executed via micro-photographyâ€¦wow!), a commanding use of sound/silence and Aranofsyâ€™s keen eye capturing all of it with a penchant towards impact and you get pure cinematic gold. Plain and simple.
Any negatives to spurt out? No. Sure the present day story grabbed me more than say the medieval timeâ€™s one, but nobody got hurt in that respect. While watching the film and even looking back, I simply esteemed everything about it. On the whole, THE FOUNTAIN gave me a vigorous dose of real cinema. This wasnâ€™t a product, a copycat, or a name recognition driven piece of shite, this wasâ€¦Iâ€™ll say itâ€¦donâ€™t kill meâ€¦ART! Celluloid art at that! It challenged me with its uncompromising/exceptional nature, dazzled me with itâ€™s out of this world imagery and touched me deeply by thought-provokingly exploring two things that we will all face at least once in our lives: love and death. You gonna drink from this fountain?