Monday, July 13, 2009

Monday Movie Review: The Fountain

The Fountain (2006) 6/10
Tommy (Hugh Jackman) is a research scientist working on brain tumors, and hoping to find a breakthrough in time to save his beloved wife Izzi (Rachel Wiesz). Tomas (Jackman) is a Spanish conquistador seeking the Fountain of Youth on behalf of Queen Isabella (Weisz). Tom (Jackman) is a bald guy in a bubble with a tree. Directed by Darren Aronofsky.

I am so confused.

I am okay with non-linear plots. I adored Memento. I like mysticism. I love romance. But I found this movie very difficult. Visually stunning, kind of engrossing, but ultimately frustrating. I had a sort of a sense of what was going on, but I felt like I was spending too much time trying to figure out what was going on, and it was distracting me from enjoying the movie. My teenagers (my son and my goddaughter) enjoyed the movie a lot more than I did. Arthur in particular didn't care whether he understood, because he found the palette of light and color, and the repeated motifs of stars and specific shapes, so fascinating. And certainly the movie is like a painting; unfortunately, too much Dali, not enough Monet.

Because The Fountain deals with a man facing the death of his beloved wife, and because it is abstract and laden with symbolism, it lends itself to comparison with What Dreams May Come. The latter movie is weird, otherworldly, and metaphorical, and yet I never had trouble following it.

After watching The Fountain, I started looking at some of the DVD extras, and they started talking about Tom on his spaceship in the future. And I was all like "SPACESHIP? It was a SPACESHIP?" No clue. I had no clue. Because shaved head, lotus position, talking to a tree in a bubble in the stars doesn't read "spaceship" to me, it reads astral travel or nirvana or something like that. The kids, apparently, knew it was a spaceship, so maybe it was me, but seriously, the teensiest bit of exposition is all I ask.

So what I get is that these two very pretty people with very prominent eyebrows are deeply in love, and this love transcends time, except it doesn't really, because the whole Spanish conquistador thing may be a novel that Izzi is writing, except maybe it isn't. But she is dying and he is upset by that so there are intense facial expressions and some hot sex.

(Non-linear kind of confused cross-post I think)