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The Fountain - Movie Review- An intensely thought provoking movie about Death, Love and Spirituality.

Category: , By Manu
I saw "The Fountain" by Darren Aronofsky a couple of days ago and I am still trying to figure the whole movie out, but I know one thing- I Love this movie. From the director who gave us Pi and Requiem for a Dream comes another intelligent, thought provoking, visually stunning movie that will keep us awake at nights thinking about its profound meanings. I was more perplexed by the ending than I was after seeing "Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind".

Plot: There is no sense in explaining the plot for this movie. You just have to see this story of love, death, spirituality, and the fragility of our existence in this world spanning thousands of years(or not) to see what I am saying. I don't think anyone can summarize the plot and still do justice to the movie.

Review: I began to see the movie without knowing this came from the same director that made Requiem for a Dream, or else I would have been prepared for the visually extravagant, thought provoking and intelligent movie "The Fountain" is. To be honest, I saw the trailer and expected some stupid sci-fi story with some mystic elements. But little did I know I was in for an intelligent film that forces us to put on our thinking caps.

(*Spoilers ahead. Spoiler-o-Phobics can skip the next paragraph and come back to read tit after seeing the movie*)
The meaning of the movie is a still debated topic, which is not surprising because the movie allows the audience to interpret the movie the way he/she wants. Some believe the bald Tommy and present day Tommy are the same and some believe that only the scientist Tommy is the real one and the rest are characters in Izzie's Book. I'm with the latter group and believe that scientist Tommy is the real one. A write up by Matt Withers, Brunswick, MD persuaded me to this conclusion and I think I agree with him on many points. I was totally bewildered towards the ending and was trying hard to connect all the plots together and eventually decided to Google for the explanation and this is the one I came to agree.

But apart from the intricacies of the plot, one thing you will undoubtedly realize is the different interpretations of Death. The movie tries to bring through the concept that Death is an Act of Creation, much like the Mayan legend about which the majority of the movie is . There are so many levels to this movie, but I can frankly admit that I miss out on many of them. I can feel the director trying to tell me many things through each shot, through symbols, but most of them escaped me. May be after I mature a little more I may be able to comprehend all those. But for an intelligent audience this is prime food for thought material.

Another thing that struck me was the visual appeal of the film. It was like the Director was creating art on cinema. Every scene was breathtakingly beautiful. The whole movie is shot is a soft gold light which gives it an unnatural atmosphere. Another thing I noticed was the use of light in the movie. The constellation we see at the beginning of the movie is repeated throughout the movie in forms of well placed light in the background. I found it particularly clever bit of Art Direction.

There was many scenes which was pure genius. One was a scene which a car travels through a road with street lights on both sides. The idea was so out of the box, I was like "whoa". I watched it a couple more times to revel in its grandeur. Another one that caught my attention is the one where a painting transitions between different tones. The first shot makes it seem like we are watching a door, and not a painting. As the camera slowly zooms out we hear a door opening, and the picture turns into a old painting with soft golden light. Soon we hear the door closing and the painting returns to its previous state and by this time the camera finishes zooming out and we realize its a painting. One cannot do justice explaining it in words.

Both Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz are absolutely phenomenal in their roles, with Weisz particularly standing out, playing her character with what I can only describe as held-back intensity. It's a performance both of subtlety and of passion at the same time. Extra kudos must be given to Ellen Burstyn who delivers an extremely heartwarming and absolutely brilliant supporting performance.

The Musical score by Clint Mansel was absolutely breathtaking. It never comes to the front but yet it give us the feeling that it is there, always, lingering at the edge of your sense occasionally crossing the border to hit a note here and there. Music has always been an element that can affect me easily, and this one did so emphatically.

My Verdict-
This is a movie which requires a thinking brain to enjoy. Do not go in to watch the movie thinking its an easy ride. But for those who love to watch intelligent, thought provoking movie this is a treat. If you have enjoyed Donnie Darko, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, or Dark City you will most certainly love this movie. Darren Aronofsky redefined sci-fi genre with this movie. Its a movie everyone should at least try to watch.

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