Reviews & Counting
# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
The Fountain(2006)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Darren Aronofsky

Hugh Jackman/Tomas/Tommy/Tom
Rachel Weisz/Isabel/Izzi Creom
Ellen Burstyn/Dr. Guzetti
10 10
Tommy (Jackman) and Isabelle (Weisz) are deeply in love. She’s dying (cancer); he’s trying to save her. Through his pursuit Tommy finds what could be the proof that the fountain of youth exists (i.e. eternal life). The rest, well, you’ll have to discover for yourself.

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 he’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 didn’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 didn’t let me go till it destroyed me with its final frames.

By scaling down the project, the film’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 wouldn’t have been the case. What themes am I rambling on about? Love and Death baby. What else! I’ll speak for myself here; I’ve experienced romantic love (yeah…who knew). And I’ve been through way too many losses of loved ones already. I’ve seen them fade away abruptly or slowly yet surely. And I’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 you’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 didn’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 haven’t seen a dude cry this well onscreen…since…well Brad Pitt in Legends of the Fall. I couldn’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 would’ve done the same thing!

Now don’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-photography…wow!), a commanding use of sound/silence and Aranofsy’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 time’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 wasn’t a product, a copycat, or a name recognition driven piece of shite, this was…I’ll say it…don’t kill me…ART! Celluloid art at that! It challenged me with its uncompromising/exceptional nature, dazzled me with it’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?

We get some lances damage, stab wounds and some disturbing imagery (all about that flower bit). Gore was not its tune!
Hugh Jackman (Tommy) played his flawed yet good hearted character with incredible conviction, hypnotizing intensity and focus. I was right there with him…feeling it. Rachel Weiss (Isabelle) was ideal casting as the object of affection, bringing depth, sympathy and credibility to the role. Ellen Burstyn (Dr. Guzetti) is such a great actress. Here she took what could’ve been the “bitch” role of the film and gave it nuances. Loved her too!
T & A
None of that sweet Nectar of life here either, although the ladies do get Jackman taking off his shirt (don’t blink gals) and we get Rachel Weisz looking as stunning as ever. Man does the camera love this girl or what!
Aranofsky was on fire here. Outstanding visuals, inspired shots, a slew of hard hitting close-ups, artistic shot compositions, an easy pace and a use of slow motion that whooped me silly! WOW! The man is a genius!
The startling score by Clint Mansell was as chill inducing and moving as the one he did for Requiem for a Dream. It brought so much to the visuals at hand and almost acted as the heart beat of the picture. One of the best of the year! If not THE best! I’m listening to it as I write this and yes I wanna cry and drink bourbon!
As my good buddy JoBlo told me when he saw THE FOUNTAIN before I did: “It has your name written all over it”. And he was right! Far from mainstream and definitely not for everybody (my parents would snooze on this one) THE FOUNTAIN hit me where it counts, right here (points at heart)…RIGHT HERE! Emotionally loaded, skillfully acted, outstandingly distinctive, visually back-handing with a soul piercing score to boot; this genius dissection of love and death had me the whole way. So many layers to this film. So much heart. All kinds of striking symbolism. Ample courage! Now that’s f*cking cinema! Darren Aronofsy took a firm step in the annals of greatness with Requiem; he has now solidified his presence within it with this one. THE FOUNTAIN floored me. Thank you so much for this film Mr. Aronofsky. Thank you.
The first version of the FOUNTAIN script can be read as it was turned into a graphic novel illustrated by Kent Williams.

Rachel Weisz is engaged with director Darren Aronofsky. She is pregnant with his child.

The film was mostly shot in my home town of Montreal, Canada.