Film review: The Fountain (2006)

The beauty of The Fountain lies in the fact that it’s an experience, much like the experiences in real life and the idea of it makes it almost impossible to truly express with just words all the emotions that such an experience consists of. The script brings to life three different stories that on second look no longer seem so different. The lives of one man trapped in the time frame of eternity to always look after the woman he loves, a woman as pure as the driven snow.

The movie starts with the first tale that lead us to the past, into the 16th century, where a Spanish conquistator goes on a mission to find the Tree of Life in order to save his Queen Isabel from the Inquisition. Later on, we get to know that this is the plot of the book Izzi (Rachel Weisz) is writing.

‘Our bodies are prisoners for our souls, our skin and blood the iron bars of confinement but fear not all flesh decade death turns all to ash, and thus, death frees every soul.’ Careful, no one is safe before the Inquisition as no one can escape death.

The second and most central tale remains in the present where we find Tommy (Hugh Jackman), a successful scientist struggling to discover a cure for his cancer diagnosed wife Izzi. ‘Death is a disease, it’s like any other. And there’s a cure. A cure – and I will find it.’ The voice of Tommy prevails over Izzi’s humility but not for long.

The third tale reveals how the future looks like. Tommy, having abandoned all his previous lives, stands elevated by the Tree of Life and contemplates existence in his quest for eternal life.

Darren Aronofsky creates a sci-fi masterpiece that bounds life and death and The Fountain has a lot to offer: flawless performances by Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz, intelligently written script by Ari Handel and Aronofsky himself, engaging directing and a truly breathtaking cinematography that represents a never-ending game of colours and sounds. The movie is an absolute contemporary example of the beauty, elegancy and mastery of filmmaking.

The Fountain is a tragic but beautifully told story, an exploration of death, ‘death as an act of creation’.

No matter how high our ambitions might be and how daring our dreams, we are simply human beings. Therefore, we are made of limitations and despite our struggles, we cannot outrun our human nature. We can only learn to accept that we can achieve a great deal of things in the span of one lifetime but we cannot possibly do and be everything we set our minds upon. We simply cannot.

So no matter how abstract and futuristic The Fountain might seem, it is in reality a very simple story that aims to teach us valuable truths in a truly beautiful way. One of them being that acceptance is the key to defeat the stigma that surrounds death, making for a profound experience that reminds us that life and death are intertwined.

Published in Strathclyde Telegraph, 2015

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