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Friday, November 24, 2006

What if you could live forever?

Ah, Darren Aronofsky, keeper of my heart. At least, my film-nut's heart. Creator of Pi: Faith in Chaos, one of my very favorites; Requiem for a Dream, which though I dislike I at least admire; and the new, weird, lovely, stunning The Fountain.

People will tell you it sucks. It's a mess. It's disjointed, pointless, scrambled, nonsensical, and above all pretentious. These people are sadly misguided. It's a wonder; a film with fairy-tale originality, maybe, but told and portrayed with fairy-tale magic. The film consists of three sections: the central one is that of Izzi and Tommy, a woman with a brain tumor and her husband, a neurosurgeon working to find a cure for her. Then there are Isabella and Tomas, the Queen of Spain and a conquistador sent by her to find the Tree of Life, stars in a story Izzi is writing--a story which Izzi leaves open-ended, for Tomoas to finish. In the final segment, Izzi has become the Tree, and Tommy is an astro-monk of sorts, and both are on a spaceship (I guess), zooming toward eternal life, which is to be found in a nebula the Mayans called Xibalba.

I swear, it makes more sense when you're watching it. The director manages to weave together the three parts beautifully, due in no small part to the talents of star Hugh Jackman (watch this movie and just TRY to imagine Brad Pitt doing the characters justice). And although I personally would not cast Rachel Weisz to act as herself, you can hardly blame Mr Aronofsky--she gave birth to his child. On one hand, The Fountain is the sort of thing which happens when a director has too much time, yes-men, and money on his hands: it is self-indulgent, bombastic, egoistic. But on the other hand, it is and needs to be nothing more than a moving, spiritual portrayal of love.
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