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Rating History

The Fountain
The Fountain (2006)
9 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

[center][img]http://bioephemera.com/wp-content/uploads/2006/10/fountainstill.jpg[/img]

[left] It?s been a couple of days and I?m still thinking about this film. I?ve had some time to digest; yet I still don?t know where to begin this review. I guess I can start by saying the obvious: this film was a unique experience, maybe the most singular in recent years for me. The reaction to this film has been well documented, which has ranged anywhere from extreme disgust to intense love. I tend to fall somewhere in the vicinity of the latter part of that spectrum. I can understand why people might hate the film, because a lot of it is intentionally left to the viewer?s interpretation, for better or for worse. Or they might be grossly offended by it?s ideals. But at the heart of Aronofsky?s hugely ambitious film spanning multiple millennia, is that of a love story between two people with different views on life and death.
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[left]Izzy (Rachel Weisz) is dying, but has come to terms with the ordeal, while her husband Tom (Hugh Jackman) refuses to and is in a constant search for a way to medically prolong her death. This story parallels that of a Spanish conquistador who is looking for a fountain of youth to save his queen, and that of a 26th century astronaut nurturing a tree in it?s final days on his way to a long lost nebula. The acting of Weisz and Jackman is incredible, and Jackman is especially gives a hugely under appreciated performance that is as intense as it is heartbreaking. The pair has genuinely believable chemistry in their roles, perfectly conveying the passion and sense of urgency with which the characters have to live their lives. The story really moved me, because what is particularly tragic is the way in which Tom spends nearly every second trying to find a way to stop Izzy?s death, instead of spending that time being with her, making sure she doesn?t face the end of her life alone. The film has many thoughts on the cycle of life and death, but to go into all that would be an entire review on it?s own. As stated before, much of the philosophy and events that happen towards the end are left vague and nothing really new, but this didn?t stop it from being truly awe-inspiring, despite some admittedly half-baked moments.
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[left]Speaking of awe-inspiring, describing the visuals as such wouldn?t be doing it justice. It?s as beautifully filmed a movie I?ve seen in a long time. Aronofsky?s rich use of color, especially with the scenes on the nebula is nothing short of jaw dropping. Even in a something like a sequence in an elevator, the director is able to capture a stunning image. While the futuristic visuals have no doubt been talked about the most, the modern day scenes are filmed just as well. Aronofsky?s passion for the material is greatly apparent, and the overlapping narrative creates a very poetic vision. Adding to this is a truly haunting score by Clint Mansell. His work in [i]Requiem for a Dream[/i] receives a good deal of praise, but this soundtrack was even better, in my opinion. From start to finish, it beautifully complemented the emotions and desperation of the characters, and culminates in a dazzlingly stunning climactic scene.
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[left]All the praise aside, [i]The Fountain [/i]is not a perfect film. The somewhat short running time stops it from really dragging at any point, but this also allow the relationship between Tom and Izzy to be as fully realized as it could have been. There were also a few moments where the film spent a little too much time meandering with its philosophizing instead of concentrating on its central story. Despite this, the film provides a very poignant view on the acceptance of death and how it can lead to freedom in the truest form. I respect the fact that Aronofsky made such an ambitious, serious film, one that he probably knew wouldn?t be well received, but one that truly deserves to be.

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Zodiac
Zodiac (2007)
10 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

[center][img]http://cggazette.com/absolutenm/articlefiles/2770-Zodiac.jpg[/img]

[left] Most of us know the story of the Zodiac killer, and the seemingly hopeless situation it left for those involved in the case. Even if you don?t, David Fincher?s crime drama provides you with almost every angle of the famous case. Fincher completely immerses you into the on goings of the investigation with such a sheer sense of authenticity that rivaled that of [i]The Wire[/i], and as usual, he is technically on top of his game. Instead of crafting a flashy looking piece of work, Fincher keeps things grounded, and the film is all the better because of it. Where some directors might have opted for the cheap thrills, he instead creates and builds upon a richly tense atmosphere throughout.

The actors all know what is at stake, and play their parts well. Robert Downey delivers as usual, although he isn?t asked to do as much this time around. Ruffalo has fire as a tired cop on an ostensibly endless trail. And Gylenhaal gave one of his most nuanced performances, playing Graysmith?s obsession with the Zodiac case in a low key, subtle manner that slowly grows out of control as the movie wears on.

The only problem I had with the film, and what probably kept it from being a near perfect movie was that, due to the long running time and slow, deliberate pacing, the movie began to wander a bit in the second hour while we were following Ruffalo?s character. However, the third hour brought it back into gear with Gylenhaal?s craze.

The great thing about this movie is that although it?s about the Zodiac killer, and all the known facts that went into the case, by the end of the film, it really isn?t even about the killer anymore. This is a [i]testament [/i]to Fincher, as he is able to put a human visage on all the characters. Zodiac is just an all around excellent film that has set a new bar in procedural dramas.

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