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A hard, but intelligent film
8/10 I recently saw this film at the Toronto International Film Festival.I was eagerly anticipating it's release, being a big fan of Pi and Requiem for a Dream. That being said, this is a hard film to watch. It has beautiful cinematography, an amazing score, and very impressive acting, however, I feel that the advertising on the film has been misleading. This is not a love story, nor is it a science fiction film (although it has elements of both).The true core of the film is a man dealing with the idea of mortality. The fact that he, and everyone, especially the woman he loves, is going to die. This is nothing like Requiem for a Dream or Pi, it has a heavier feel to it, though it is not as depressing. Not everyone will like this movie, in fact, I find it hard to believe that this will get a wide release, as it is not a commercial film. It is an art film, a discussion piece, a beautiful poem about the fragility of life and the idea of forever.2 years ago
10/10 Fantastic in every sense. This film is indeed poetry, and a beautiful testament to love and the cycle of life, and the impermanence of death. Wow. The script is tight, and the non-linear presentation works very well. The scene compositions were exquisite. The score enhanced without being overbearing, which is so often the case in contemporary film.2 years ago
The acting is absolutely superb, but then it's got Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz. I can't imagine Brad Pitt doing any sort of justice to this film. Darren Aronofsky lucked out in the long run by getting someone who has the range to portray the vast emotions required for Tomas/Tommy/Tom. Weisz has the depth for regal intrigue and spirited grace. Their chemistry makes their stories even more entrancing.
This film does require a thinking brain to be appreciated.
The Path to Life
10/10 I had the immense pleasure of viewing this film for its second screening ever, when it was showcased at Chicago's International Film Festival. Fans of Aronofsky who enjoyed the intensity of 'PI' and 'REQUIEM FOR A DREAM' will find that Darren's primary thematic focus has shifted yet again from the mind and gut ('PI' and 'REQUIEM', respectively) to the heart. However, don't take this to mean that 'THE FOUNTAIN' isn't intellectually engaging or visceral in its impact.2 years ago
In a word, this film 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.
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). This 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.
A unique film experience - Incomparable to any other film you've seen
9/10 As I am writing this review I really don't know where to begin. It reminds me of the feeling I had as I left the theatre after the closing credits rolled on the film absolutely bewildered. I can't even begin to describe the feelings I left the theatre with, but I can safely say that no movie has affected me quite like The Fountain has since Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind two years ago (and which is known as my all-time favourite movie). All summaries and attempts to present the plot are futile, because it's truly indescribable. Any summaries you may have read about the plot are null and void truly, don't judge the film by what it sounds like it will be like. It's a movie you must experience for yourself. And what an experience it is.2 years ago
I find it much simpler to focus on the technical aspects of the film, which are, as expected from director Darren Aronofsky, absolutely incredible. His use of camera angles and movements that repeat themselves throughout the film, such as shots from directly above the action, and extensive use of zoom/dolly outs (an important emulation of the film's message, at least what I perceive it is). The entire colour tone of the film is absolutely gorgeous to observe a beautiful combination of gold and black colours. Much of the lighting is sharp but in a soft gold colour, which creates a really specific atmosphere. Many scenes in the film take place in a hospital-type setting the setting you'd normally see in filmed mediums lit with very bright white lighting. Aronofsky lights these scenes with very specific soft golden lights, which place most of the setting in blackness and create an eerie, melancholy atmosphere.
Both Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz are absolutely phenomenal in their roles, with Weisz particularly standing out, playing her character with what I can only describe as held-back intensity. It's a performance both of subtlety and of passion at the same time. Extra kudos must be given to Ellen Burstyn who delivers an extremely heartwarming and absolutely brilliant supporting performance.
The musical score by Clint Mansell is absolutely, completely and utterly gorgeous. It's minimalist (serves as quite a polar opposite to the profoundness of the film itself) but extremely intense. It is a score that perfectly emulates the feeling, emotions and mood of the film. It's the perfect type of score, and the melody itself is extremely appealing to the ear, with extensive and almost exclusive use of string instruments.
And of course, the special effects (and when they appear, they are quite prominent) are nothing short of amazing. Just amazing. I have nothing more to add, just see it for yourself and be impressed.
But really, one finds it difficult to remove ones mind from the spectacle that is the film. The Fountain is, quite simply, unlike ANY other film I have ever seen. The only movie it even only slightly resembles in terms of vagueness and atmosphere is 2001: A Space Odyssey, although The Fountain is only ever so slightly more down to earth. This isn't to say that it's an imitation of Space Odyssey nor that it has similar things to say, but you do get that feeling while watching The Fountain that you are experiencing something incredibly profound. And profound it is. I never stopped thinking about the film since I saw it last Saturday, and I still don't think that I fully understand everything the film has to offer. But it is absolutely loaded with substance ripe for interpretation. I have recently developed a theory regarding SOME of the themes of the film, but there is still much to decipher. What is important to say is that it is the type of film in which every single shot. Every single editing decision, every single is thought out right down to the last little detail, because it is all these little details that combine to create the broader picture, the profound meaning.
The Fountain isn't "this year's Eternal Sunshine". It isn't the "next Space Odyssey", although I can assure you, if you enjoyed either of these two films (and preferably both), you should find much The Fountain that will appeal to you. It's a movie that many people will not like, perhaps even hate. But I was profoundly affected by it. See it. Decide for yourself. It's definitely one incredible film experience.
It's all done except the last chapter. I want you to help me. FINISH IT...
9/10 "TheFountain" is a story tackling three different time periods. Tomas (Hugh Jackman) is a 16th century Conquistador on a bloody hunt though a hidden Mayan temple to retrieve sap from the mythical Tree of Life for his queen (Rachel Weisz), who is desperate for immortality. In 2005, Tom (Jackman) is a doctor frenetically searching for the cure to cancer to save the life of his wife Izzi (Weisz), who is in the final throes of her battle with death. Five hundred years later, Tom travels through space on a quest to reach the place of tranquility that Izzi spoke fondly of, using the Tree as a device to get him to the answers he needs to rest his weary mind....2 years ago
In performances that can only be described as exquisite, Jackman and Weisz assist their director in opening up this knotty story through their soulful and romantic interpretations of desperation and peace. Essentially playing one lost soul, Jackman foams with remarkable anguish as he performs three separate interpretations of duty, handing in career-defining work. Weisz is the face of love in "The Fountain," lending the film a flowering emotional core of the film.
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.
Aronofsky has out done himself again....