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Overall Rating
3.84

Awesome49.06%
Worth A Look: 17.92%
Average: 11.32%
Pretty Bad: 11.32%
Total Crap: 10.38%

8 reviews, 58 user ratings



Fountain, The
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by Matt Seaver

"Kids, don't think too hard... you'll only hurt yourself."
4 stars

The basic plotline in “The Fountain” is interesting enough – a Spanish conquistador falls in love with his queen, and on her behalf quests for the Fountain of Youth. That quest kicks off a 1000-year journey to save his love through the centuries. Simple enough, right? Could be entertaining. What sucks for you is that Darren Aronofsky got ahold of it and made it his own. Still entertaining, but now it gives you a headache to go along with it.

The 16th-century conquistador in question is Tomas (Hugh Jackman), who is one of the few remaining followers of the rogue Queen Isabel (Rachel Weisz). She has been declared a heretic because of her belief in the Fountain of Youth that supposedly resides in the New World. If Tomas can bring her evidence of this, she will marry him and accompany him back to the New World to live for eternity. Sweet deal. Flash forward five hundred years, and here’s present-day Tom Creo (Jackman), a neurosurgeon looking for a cure to brain tumor-induced cancers from which his wife Izzi (Weisz) happens to be suffering. Flash forward five hundred years AGAIN, to roughly 2500 AD, and we have Tommy (Jackman) floating around space in a bubble with a strangely reactive tree, searching for some sort of answer at the heart of a dying star.

Yeah, it’s weird. But strangely enough, it all works. The best advice for watching is to try and hold in your mind that not only as these stories working consecutively, but concurrently as well. It’s difficult at first, but Aronofsky has cut the film in a way that helps you accept that so long as you are open to it to begin with. All three stories are very well done, and Jackman cruises through all three “acts” with style. He gives each era’s Tommy a very distinctive feel, all the while maintaining some of the basic traits that let you know this is still the same guy. Weisz is good too, but she has significantly less to do. Present-day Izzi is the meatiest piece for her, but even Izzi is somewhat weak. She does have a nice contrast between no longer fearing death and still wanting to drag the most out of life in what little time she has left. The dynamic between the present-day couple (the only time we really get to see them honestly interact) is very realistic and nice to watch.

Just because Weisz doesn’t have a lot to do per se doesn’t mean she’s at all absent from the film. The Fountain is Darren Aronofsky’s very loving tribute to Weisz, his fiancé. Dude’s got a pretty serious case of wife-worship… not that I can say I blame him. I mean, he’s marrying Rachel Weisz! Walking out I feel like I know every hair on her neck as well as Aronofsky could, but very little of it is gratuitous. It goes a long way toward creating a very intimate bond between the couple, which is absolutely necessary considering the negligible amount of screen time from anyone else in the cast. I do have to wonder how Aronofsky felt the day that Warner Brothers told him that they loved the bathtub scene, but Aronofsky would not be allowed to play Tom. Worse than that, they wanted Hugh Jackman. Most awkward directing moment EVER.

Awkward or not, it’s clear that Aronofsky knew what he wanted for three quarters of the film. It’s in that last twenty minutes or so that things start to go completely insane, almost to the point where I wasn’t entirely sure if Aronofsky even knew where he was going or what he was trying to say. The upside is that it leaves the opening somewhat open-ended and poised for interpretation – my girlfriend and I walked out with two completely different ideas of what had happened before finally deciding that the consecutive/concurrent idea seemed the easiest to accept. That allegorical ambiguity is what Aronofsky tends to like, if Requiem for a Dream is any example, so this fits that model well.

The only downside (which isn’t really a downside) is that the trailers for the film showed a visual style that seemed much more impressive than the final product. I don’t know if there just wasn’t enough money in the effects budget, but the third act ranges from looking very eerie and beautiful to looking cheap and matted. Luckily, the focus isn’t on the backdrops, especially since you’ll spend much more time trying to figure out what the hell is going on in the future than you will looking at the backgrounds.

Aronofsky’s got a good story here, and for the most part he tells it well. I could actually see this still working if it were handled by another director, one who tackles the last quarter head in a more straightforward manner. But Aronofsky’s got his thing, and that thing is what is going to attract people, even more so than two commendable performances by two of my favorite working actors. The promo materials gave the indication that this was a weird one, but not a clue as to HOW weird. But weird isn’t necessarily a bad thing, so long as it doesn’t get in the way of the storytelling, and Aronofsky gets a lot of help in that department from Jackman and Weisz.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=15011&reviewer=412
originally posted: 12/09/06 02:09:35
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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

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 acting..visuals..music..finally 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
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  22-Nov-2006 (PG-13)
  DVD: 15-May-2007

UK
  N/A

Australia
  25-Jan-2007




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