...engaging and discerning culture, as a way of life...

May 16, 2007

The Fountain - 7

Rarely have I seen a film and immediately wanted to watch it all over again. This film, by Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream and Pi: Faith in Chaos) is complex, but made well enough to be coherent, visually stunning, and packed with meaning. The film weaves three stories from 16th century Spain, the present day, and 500 years into the future to show the human condition and its longing to conquer all- even death.
Tomas/Tommy/Dr. Tom Creo (Hugh Jackman) is looking for the secret to overcoming death- whether it is the Tree of Life spoken about in Genesis (which opens the film) or a scientific breakthrough that can reverse a deadly tumor. Izzi Creo (Rachel Weisz, who also plays Queen Isabel) is suffering from a terminal disease, and Tom is determined to solve the problem. While initially confusing the plots start to come together as you connect the three views of eternal life and the struggle to understand life and death and the human condition. There are many allusions to religion in this film- Christianity and a Mayan creation story being the most significant but also to eastern religiosity. Aronofsky has made a very intelligent film that begs the viewer to engage deep questions, never settling for easy answers. Recommended reading to go along with this film is Wendell Berry's discussion of top-soil in his essay Two Economies (trust me you'll see the connection if you actually do this).


Anonymous said...

The score is absolutely phenomenal, and highly recommended. The crescendo at the end is monumental. That said, I was left rather aloof by the overall affect of Aronofsky's film, a first since he and Malick are the two filmmakers who first turned me onto a serious consideration of film as art.

Mostly, the whole thing feels too orchestrated and overly tied-together, and lacks any organic sensibility that might allow the characters to feel alive rather than merely be puppets to Aronofsky's thematic.


~greg said...

I forgot to mention the score. You are right, it fits perfectly.

The film is rather short (90 minutes) to do the character development that might add to the story.