'The Fountain': Dynamic, Cerebral Science Fiction from Darren Aronofsky
The Fountain (2006) is an artful and inspired science-fiction film from Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, Mother!), told in three interwoven parts related to the mythical concept of 'The Tree of Life'. Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz star in a triad of roles that alternate along the film’s narrative: 1) An ancient conquistador sent by the Queen of Spain to locate the legendary tree within the jungles of South American, 2) A modern-day medical doctor desperately striving to discover a cure for his wife’s terminal brain cancer, and 3) A futuristic space traveler transporting the sacred tree across the cosmos with spectral images of his wife as his traveling companion. With this, his 3rd feature feature-length film, Aronofsky brought forth a strikingly ambitious depiction of the search for, manifestation of and preservation of the oft-fabled key to eternity in an utterly inspired and daring manner. It’s highly philosophical and at times wildly abstract visual storytelling, aided immeasurably by Jackman’s and Weisz’s heartfelt, aggrieved performances. The passion and the earnestness they deliver helps to buoy a complicated plot that strains cohesiveness at times, but comes together as a wonderfully compelling amalgamation of sights and sounds bound to galvanize the viewer. Kudos to Aronofsky for eschewing simple fantasy in lieu of something so dynamic, original and emotionally commanding.
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