The Fountain

2 12 2007

The FountainThe Fountain has a troubled history as a production: originally cast with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett as the leads, the project was eventually shelved, only to be resurrected two years later with a scaled-back budget (less than half the initial budget of $75 million) and a new cast. To see the finished product, I can’t help but feel this was all for the best.

Hugh Jackman plays Tommy Creo, a research oncologist whose wife, Izzi (Rachael Weisz) is dying from a brain tumour. Parallel to this are two other stories: in one, Jackman plays Tomas, a Spanish conquistador who aims to assassinate Grand Inquisitor Silecio in order to protect his Queen (also played by Weisz); in the third, Jackman is Tom, a man hurtling through space in a spherical, translucent spacecraft. How these three stories relate to each other is one of the delights of The Fountain, and something that is best left for the film itself to reveal.

Writer/director Darren Aronofsky (Pi, Requiem for a Dream) has given us a film that possesses a depth of emotion and spirit few achieve. Its themes of mortality and grief are interwoven masterfully through its cinematic triptych as visual motifs recur again and again — the golden palette of the nebula featured in the third story, for example, is scattered throughout various scenes to remind us that these three stories are part of a larger whole.
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