The Fountain Reviews
But seriously folks - after just one viewing - i'm just .. wow - huh?! Watching the film, I was wildly applauding Aronofsky's superballsy audacious vision while simultaneously cringing at his simplistic sentimentality.
2001 + What the Bleep Do We Know + dimestore romance + any episode of E.R. = wtf?
For what it's worth - i thought Hugh Jackman was great - perhaps the only tangible revelation of the film.
There is a lot to like here. It's not quite a bad film, just a deeply flawed one. "Interesting failure" I think is a good way to put it. Or maybe slight failure. The concept is cool, but the plotting, script, and execution are where the issues are. Also, it's okay to be a little obscure and make people have to think, but that's not the case here. This is just confusing and scattered.
The visuals (and preference for camera tricks and practicals over tons of CGI) are amazing. They're are beautiful, and the camera work is likewise gorgeous. The performances are also pretty good, especially since the leads do double and triple duty. I did like the formal techniques and the use odd match cuts and recurring motifs...that's all good, but like I said, the concept and execution are rough.
I did find the film engaging, and got something out of it, even if it's really confusing. As I said, this is a slight failure, but it's interesting, and has merits, so while it isn't quite a real success, there's enough good here to warrant a viewing.
That was my response after the movie ended. But I couldn't help but to be mesmerized by the incredible cinematography. But wow, the plot is extremely confusing. This movie is definitely alike with Donnie Darko, but this movie is more engaging with its follow-up to the ending.
I think Darren Aronofsky is great. He brings a sense of art into each movie he makes, no matter how human, small, and individual his stories may be. The Fountain is different from his other projects, however, because it's almost wholly an art film. It largely leaves conventional storytelling behind and explores love, loss, and fear of mortality through reoccurring images, symbolism, alternating time-lines/realities, and some really fantastic visuals.
I have to say that I liked it. It's ambitious and it takes a while to get a handle on, but it captured my interest from the very beginning. There were moments when The Fountain brought to mind a Guillermo del Toro movie, times when it felt like pure Aronofsky, and then scenes that reminded me of nothing I've seen previously.
Hugh Jackman gives a commendable, fragmented performance as the three main characters in their three variations of the story. But it's Rachel Weisz who plays the only character in the film that we really get to know a part of, and she's the anchor of the overall story. I gained a healthy respect for both actors, while watching this.
On the whole, I found The Fountain to be a worthy experience. There's something lacking, though. I can't say what it is, exactly. The movie felt a little too loosely connected, as if the theme binding it together wasn't tied quite as tightly as it should have been.
I predict three different possible reactions to The Fountian. Person A will watch about 15 minutes of it, quickly realize it's not for them, and turn it off. Person B will appreciate what Aronofsky tried to do, but feel that The Fountain is ultimately a flawed effort. Person C will enjoy the movie and want to see it again several times, despite niggling concerns that it's not quite all it had the potential to be.
I'm Person C. I loved the cinematography and had a very positive reaction to all the metaphysics and existential themes (which isn't always the case, despite the fact that I was a philosophy major in college). It's not the typical Aronofsky film and it's not his best (The Wrestler) or his most complete (Black Swan), but it's definitely his most ambitious.