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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 18.69%
Average: 11.21%
Pretty Bad: 11.21%
Total Crap: 10.28%

8 reviews, 59 user ratings

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Fountain, The
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by EricDSnider

"Whoa, trippy. Dude, he's like floating in a bubble. Awesome."
4 stars

I usually like to know what I'm talking about, or at least give the impression that I do, but I'm going to tell you something about "The Fountain" up front: I don't know what to make of it. I was utterly absorbed in watching it, yet when it was over I had no idea what had happened.

It has Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz playing Thomas and Isabel in three different time periods: around 1500 (the time of the Spanish Inquisition), present-day, and some point in the distant future. I believe the Thomas of 2006 is the same person, miraculously un-aged, as the Thomas of hundreds of years from now, but I would not stake my reputation on that. He doesn't seem to be the same Thomas as the Inquisition Thomas, nor is it the same Isabel ... but I'm not totally sold on either of those points, either.

Thomas the conquistador (OK, Toms), working for Queen Isabella of Spain, is searching for the mythical Fountain of Youth when he is attacked by Mayans in one of their holy pyramids. In the present day, Thomas is a medical researcher looking for a way to cure his wife Isabel's terminal cancer. In the future, he is bald and sitting by a tree that floats through space in a bubble.

These three stories are told simultaneously, cutting from one to another, and while I could probably describe them in a less nonsensical fashion than I have just done, that might defeat the purpose. The enjoyment of the movie is in being caught up in its single-minded devotion to its own vision, not in completely understanding what that vision is.

It's the work of Darren Aronofsky, whose "Pi" I admire and whose "Requiem for a Dream" I consider one of very best films of the decade. That was in 2000, and "The Fountain" is his first movie since then. It's taken him that long to get the project together. The special effects make it blockbuster expensive, but it's not the kind of movie that brings in blockbuster crowds. It features two actors playing multiple characters (or maybe the same character) in three different time periods, with each story overlapping the other two in strange ways. You can see why studios weren't too eager to fund it.

As in "Pi" and "Requiem," Aronofsky has an astonishing knack for putting together bizarre, entrancing images, beautifully filmed by cinematographer Matthew Libatique and scored by composer Clint Mansell. (Both men are Aronofsky regulars.) He usually shoots scenes either head-on or exactly in profile, with few three-quarter shots or other jaunty angles. The head-on shots, in particular, give the film an otherworldly feel simply because that angle -- with the actors looking directly at the camera -- is so rarely used in movies. Even if you knew nothing else about the film, you'd know it was unusual for that reason alone.

"The Fountain" strikes me as a rumination on life and death, and on the latter's vital role as part of the former. The film has a "plot," yes, but even if I understood all the details of it, it would be beside the point. The point is how it makes you feel. It's less a narrative than a tone poem, designed to envelop you in its emotions rather than tell you a story.

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originally posted: 11/22/06 19:39:06
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Toronto Film Festival For more in the 2006 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Fantastic Fest For more in the 2006 Fantastic Fest series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Vancouver Film Festival For more in the 2006 Vancouver Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Chicago Film Festival For more in the 2006 Chicago Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

12/29/17 morris campbell strange but compellling good visuals 4 stars
11/08/14 ugg モカシン UNITED States private employers added a larger-than-expected 198,000 jobs in February, bols 5 stars
3/28/14 JQ This movie is transcendent, describes my spirituality better than anything else I've seen 5 stars
9/29/12 roscoe I couldn't begin to explain it or understand it, but I do know it is terrible. 1 stars
12/09/10 Faraz J Wow..................... wow. 5 stars
6/09/10 Harvey Scott one of my 200 best, loved it! 4 stars
8/02/09 Homer Sills Very poor movie. Bad directing by Aronofsky. 1 stars
3/17/09 Greg White Man is chasing soulution, girl wants to be loved, they are pushed for time. Great movie! 5 stars
3/15/09 Paul Krafel Coming to accept death as part of the "fountain" that sustains the universe. 5 stars
1/15/09 FrankNFurter Creative,visually-stimulating feast for the senses.Moving and strange...a triumph. 5 stars
1/10/09 Anonymous. great visuals, not so great film... 3 stars
10/22/08 Shaun Wallner Awesome Story! 5 stars
5/13/08 Cerberus Shoking. Just saw it and i'm still feeling the affection of idea and music. Addictive. 5 stars
3/02/08 SamanthaPayntr beautiful imagery, i love Rachel Weisz! kind of confusing story, but still good. 4 stars
1/21/08 Brian Mckay beautiful tale of grief with trippy sci-fi story, reminiscent of 2001 or Silent Running 4 stars
12/08/07 Hello Stranger the ideas introduced in this film is amazing. the music and visuals is an added bonus 5 stars
11/24/07 rishi this movie can only be understood by the mystics at heart-touched my soul 5 stars
9/09/07 K. Sear Aronofsky is steadily showing he is a truly brilliant film maker. 5 stars
9/03/07 TreeTiger Good description from EricDSnider - however - the movie still needs more substance... 3 stars
7/20/07 pin Great filmmaking. Loved the ending. 5 stars
6/30/07 Indrid Cold The visuals only partially compensate for an incoherent, baffling story. 3 stars
6/08/07 Monday Morning Couldn't make it through the first 15 minutes 1 stars
5/27/07 fools♫gold Some would think it might look bad, but it means everything. Absolutely no accidents. 5 stars
5/27/07 Caiphn Beautiful film. 5 stars
5/19/07 Bob Right on the money. A poor man's Solaris (soderbergh) 2 stars
4/28/07 Craig Excellent story acting, & non-CGI visuals. 5 stars
4/25/07 Twerpy An interesting film that is worth contemplating, but something missing all the same... 4 stars
2/27/07 QH The most underrated and under apreciated movie ever- easily the best movie of 2006 5 stars
2/03/07 myles moving, ambitious, beautiful, will stand the test of time 5 stars
1/28/07 Edith Tide One of those "WTF did I just see?" flicks 2 stars
1/28/07 Gretchen Seitz Getting stuck in exasperating incoherent roles seems to be Rachel's vice! 1 stars
1/24/07 Ashley Corpening What's with repeaterdly showing Orion in position viewable only from Arctic regions? 1 stars
1/01/07 Sofia The life that is worth living forever is not necesarily the one you know as a human. 4 stars
12/27/06 Agent Sands Cannot explain itself, so it's created in a way relative to an impressionist painting. 3 stars
12/20/06 Rebecca This was a waste of time movie, So arsty and pretenious, and no conclusion to back it up! 1 stars
12/16/06 PAG disappointing 2 stars
12/15/06 arnold very deep emotion wonderful movie 5 stars
12/15/06 margie I can not believe the time i wasted. beautiful pictures, yes. but this is the best review 1 stars
12/12/06 Tiffany Didn't like it very much 2 stars
12/11/06 del meh...good movie, bad ending. Tries too hard to be deep. 3 stars
12/10/06 Yoda This is a love story that spans a 1,000 years and transcends death. Absolutely beautiful. 5 stars
12/09/06 Arty It delivers exactly what the reviewer says it promises-keep you thinking about love & death 5 stars
12/05/06 Nighy Oh, you dork call everything with a cryptic ending a "masterpiece." 2 stars
12/02/06 Alyce This review is completely wrong.This movie is the best of 2006. 5 stars
12/01/06 Prichett Three quarters of a great film, then a total train wreck of an ending...ruined it all. 3 stars
12/01/06 Janus Too bad the reviewer has to puke his own inability to appreciate the film out on this page! 5 stars
11/30/06 Marc If you liked 2001, Solaris, you'll like it 5 stars
11/29/06 Tara This is an ignorant, vapid assesment of this movie. It is a masterpiece. 5 stars
11/28/06 your worst goddamn nightmare Emotional, Beautiful; the cinematography, acting, music... Incredible film 5 stars
11/27/06 Patrick Amazing a movie that has substance and style 5 stars
11/27/06 mlg Don't waste your money going to see this movie 1 stars
11/27/06 MarkF Story line was so condensed that it was missing a rhythm or meter. Acting was great. Studio 1 stars
11/27/06 Victoria This review is one the money! Speaking of money; I want my $9 back. 2 stars
11/27/06 james This review sums up why I never follow the advice of the critics. The movie is great! 5 stars
11/26/06 Morgan If I was on drugs (really, really good ones) this movie would have still sucked. 1 stars
11/26/06 PP I really liked it. I actually thought it was amazing. You must understand love to like it 4 stars
11/25/06 Leslie I liked the film. It takes a very open mind going into it, though. 5 stars
11/25/06 Paul Lundgard i have lost 90 minutes of my life i will never get back and it cost me 40 dollars to do it 1 stars
11/23/06 GB David is completely off the mark (and apparently has never seen either Solaris) 4 stars
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  22-Nov-2006 (PG-13)
  DVD: 15-May-2007



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