The Fountain

Year 2006

Hugh Jackman   as Tomas/Tommy/Tom Creo  
Rachel Weisz as   Isabel/Izzi Creo
Ellen Burstyn as Dr. Lillian Guzetti
Mark Margolis as  Father Avila
Director - Darren Aronofsky
Screenwriters - Darren Aronofsky

The Fountain is a mishmash of pretention set to glorious photography and music. It's a very simple plot but told out of order and with some scenes repeated for more detail.

Basically, a doctor's wife Izzi Creo (Weisz) is dying because of a brain tumor. Doctor Tom Creo (Jackman) is looking for a cure, because he's a research scientist, a doctor, and a husband. Publicists writing about the movie would have you believe that it's a thousand year journey by the couple. It's not. In fact, it's only a few months in the life of Tom Creo.

Within the movie there's a bit of fiction written by Izzi called, The Fountain, It's a tale of how the two of them, Tom and Izzi, could've been some imaginary couple in the Spanish court around 1500 A.D. This is acted out and becomes a second movie within the movie. This fantasy does not depict any credible historical situations. In other words, the events in The Fountain never really happened.

The fact that it's all fiction within the movie (i.e. not even "movie real") is the only reason that I'm not going to discuss the exhorbitant use of coincidence in the book written by Izzi. It's the type of technique a hack writer would use. (I'm looking at you, Dan Brown. I don't care how many copies of books you've sold. If it wasn't for coincidence, your books would be post-it note thin.)

There's a third part to this movie that is really a second movie within a movie. It involves an imaginary journey to a nebula named Xibalba. For people not living within the movie, Xibalba is a netherworld in Mayan mythology. It is within the Earth. There is no cosmic cluster known as Xibalba. But supposedly, this is where the answer lies.

The answer to what? To death. According to Tom, death is a curable disease if only we understood Xibalba. So Tom goes on a mental journey to this distant place and that journey takes him 500 years or at least that's what the movie trailer states. What happens when he gets there? Well, the effects are cooler than those in 2001: A Space Odyssey but the conclusion is more stubstantial and meaningful in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

So, the order of events is, a wife gets a brain tumor, her husband reads her novel, and finally he takes an imaginary journey to Xibalba. The only tricky part is that the events are shown in a non-linear manner. There's a bit of A mixed in with C and B keeps coming and going.

You've got to give credit to the imagination of Aronofsky. He took something plain and really dressed it up nicely. But there's nothing more than pagan dogma and lackluster revelations as a result. This movie was decidedly unsatisfying.

There are two things regarding Aronofsky's point of view worth mentioning and they are both related to the fact that Aronofsky appears to be an athiest.

The first is the Inquisition in Izzie's story. It depicts, perhaps quite accurately, the point of view of those involved in the Spanish Inquisition. The fact that Aronofsky creates Grand Inquisitor Silecio rather than use the historical Torquemada is surprising. Maybe because he was Tomás de Torquemada and that would ruin his name for Jackman's character. Or maybe he didn't know about Torquemada.

Anyway... Silecio is a pretty evil character who tortures people to get confessions and then kills them, "to free their souls". It definitely puts the Catholic Church and the belief in a soul in a poor light.

Later on, at a graveside service, there is no representative from a ministry. Instead Dr. Lillian Guzetti (Bursty) give a eulogy where the crux is that a person should grow during their life. For what, Dr. Guzetti? So that they can die? There is no mention of anything eternal. Religion and belief in God is eschewed.

There's one scene where Izzie portrays Tom as a Mayan god. Shades of Nietzsche! Or better yet, Klaus Kinski who proclaimed, "I am my own god."

This is sad. Without God, there is no hope. There is no hope in this movie. Man must depend upon man to progress and die. How very short sighted.

Add to this the bad direction/action of the personal scenes and you have a movie that is less than it wants to be. There's a lot of close up whispering in this movie. It's often hard to understand the characters as they speak. They rarely say anything noteworthy, but it would still be nice to hear what they have to say. And tell me how much emotion you can get from a whisper or sotto voce?

The worst part was that the main idea in this movie, an all consuming love, didn't come across. Aronofsky used the old, "I'm dying, let's screw to show that we love each other," ploy. This is in shudderingly poor taste. It's worthy of Uwe Boll. Oh wait, Boll used this in Assault on Wall Street. Nevermind.

But that's just a major example of how people don't behave like anyone you know. Tom pitches fits after treats people like dirt in his laboratory (yeah, I can see this in a world without a belief in God) but the staff still calls him when there's good news. In real life, he'd be blown off.

Visually The Fountain is beautiful with its pallet of golds and browns and the music, heavy with strings, is haunting. This may distract you from the simplicity of the script and the paucity of anything deep.

I can't recall if there's blasphemy. There's lots of credible crying, so there's chick flick potential.

Back to the "Torn and Frayed " list or the main movie list.