Release Date: 2006
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Why I picked this: Curiosity
An hour into the movie, I checked the time. I asked myself, “When will this be over?” “What is happening?” “Why should I care?” “What is the point?” When you’re asking yourself those questions more than halfway through the movie, that might not be a good sign. I would call it an “experience” movie, in the vein of “2001: A Space Odyssey ” and last year’s “Cloud Atlas,” but I found “The Fountain” to be soulless, and rarely inspiring awe. Yes, it is a pretty movie to watch, and I appreciate the craftsmanship put into some of these shots and the visual effects, but the movie is lacking in everything else. Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz portray three different characters each in three different eras. Jackman portrays a conquistador in the past, a neuroscientist in the near present, and what appears to be a Voldemort-looking space traveler traveling in a bubble with the Tree of Life wandering though space, or something. Weisz portrays the conquistador’s queen, the neuroscientist’s cancer-stricken wife, and… I don’t know, hallucinations of the previous two characters to the Voldemort-looking guy. I don’t know. The story is told non-linearly, even within these individual stories, but the order in which the story makes no real sense. The transitions were messy and the tone abruptly changed. The connective tissue between the story lines are thin and flimsy. Jackman and Weisz are excellent actors, but I almost never cared for their characters. They cry, but I feel no sympathy. It is clear that the visuals and the themes are the main focuses of the movie. What are the themes, you ask? Well, it appeared to be about mortality, and accepting death. Yet for some reason, and I doubt it was due to inattention, the themes were not clear to me until far into the movie. And when the movie began to make sense to me towards the end, the movie suddenly slapped me in the face and confused me once more. By the end of the movie, I was wondering what really happened, and what the grand scheme of the movie was. Now, I don’t like it when a movie hammers its themes at me. Ambiguity is fine. But this did not add up.
There are good visuals, and this is an ambitious project, but it falls apart. It’s boring, non-sensical, contains characters you don’t care about, and doesn’t contain, in my view, a relatable message.