Hugh Jackman stands alone in a darkish laboratory. Then, instantly, he’s another person in a brand new location virtually past description: a tree drenched in gentle capturing by way of the clouds and into the stratosphere.
The Fountain isn’t a plot-driven film. Darren Aronofsky’s 2006 movie could also be his weirdest of all time, which is saying rather a lot for the man behind Black Swan, Requiem for a Dream, and Mom! However The Fountain defies cinema itself. Regardless of each science fiction and fantasy parts, it typically feels extra like summary artwork than the rest.
A lot of the film, together with the scene described above (and embedded under), is gorgeous, however a lot of The Fountain feels pointless and even indulgent.
Movie critics on the time have been harsh as nicely. The Fountain has a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 52 p.c (74 from audiences) with reviewers calling it “maddeningly, uproariously improper” and “the film equal of a prog-rock double album.”
However with the reward of hindsight and the information of the place Aronofsky’s profession was headed as he transitioned from cult indie staple to Hollywood auteur, is it price revisiting the debatable low level of his profession? The reply, sadly, just isn’t. Right here’s why The Fountain failed.
The Fountain weaves three totally different narratives from totally different time intervals. The primary follows a Spanish Conquistador’s quest to seek out the Tree of Life within the Sixteenth century. The second exists within the current day the place a health care provider tries to treatment his dying spouse. Within the third, an area traveler in a glass dome tends to an previous tree in a futuristic setting. Hugh Jackman performs all three of the primary characters.
The “actual story” of The Fountain is its present-day narrative. Dr. Thomas Creo desperately tries to save lots of his dying spouse (Rachel Weisz) by searching for a treatment for her mind tumor, utilizing no matter medical means potential — particularly an unapproved compound from a mysterious tree found in Guatemala.
Thomas’s spouse, Izzi, has made peace along with her impending demise, however he isn’t prepared to just accept it. All Izzi needs is to be along with her husband throughout her final days, however Thomas typically will get so caught up in his analysis to save lots of his spouse he neglects to truly spend time along with her.
Throughout her final days, Izzi has written a novel, The Fountain, in regards to the legendary Fountain of Youth. She is aware of she will be able to’t full the ebook, and her ultimate request is for Thomas to complete it when she is gone.
Whereas the film by no means explicitly says so, it appears clear the scenes of the Sixteenth-century Conquistador are depictions of Izzi’s novel. Nonetheless, the third narrative is rather more mysterious.
My very own interpretation is that the futuristic plot takes place in Thomas’s personal head. He imagines himself as an area traveler with the Tree of Life, voyaging to the Xibalba nebula the place he believes he might be reunited with Izzi. Put one other means, it’s his means of coming to phrases together with his spouse’s passing.
That’s numerous psychological leaps to make to clarify the plot, although, and most critiques of the movie concentrate on simply how convoluted, complicated, and distracting it’s. Loads of different heady motion pictures (together with Aronofsky’s personal work) show you can also make the viewers assume whereas additionally telling a coherent story.
Tales don’t need to be difficult as a way to be deep or to impress introspection of their viewers. An easier story can do this simply as nicely, if not even higher. It could give the viewers extra of an opportunity to truly meditate on these themes of grief relatively than having to mentally bounce from one weird narrative to a different.
Aronofsky had a terrific theme in thoughts however obtained caught up attempting to make the movie extra advanced than it wanted to be simply so he may show how “artsy” he might be.