The Fountain

Review by Matt Bochenski @MattLWLies

Directed by

Darren Aronofsky

Starring

Ellen Burstyn Hugh Jackman Rachel Weisz

Anticipation.

The most highly anticipated film of this magazine’s life.

Enjoyment.

An emotional powerhouse that sucks you in and rips you apart layer by layer. An unparalleled experience.

In Retrospect.

A cinematic Ground Zero. The best film of Aronofsky’s career.

An emotional powerhouse that sucks you in and rips you apart layer by layer. An unparalleled experience.

So much love: The Mayans tell the story of an old man. When he died, his son planted a seed on his grave. The seed became a tree, the tree grew into a forest and bloomed, and the old man’s spirit flew with the birds. Tom Creo tells a different story. It’s written across his body, etched in the lines of his face. It’s a story of pain and grief. A story he’s struggled with for a thousand years.

Darren Aronofsky tells a story in The Fountain. A story of love and loss that ripples over space and time, from the ancient temples of Spanish South America, to the cosmic dust clouds of the far future. A story that dazzles, bewilders and utterly beguiles.

What are we to make of The Fountain? How do you respond to a film of such reckless self-belief that it reaches for the power of spiritual revelation? The answer, as it happens, is simple: if you’re prepared to walk that thin line with The Fountain, if you’re prepared to let it under your skin, it will break your heart.

However you react to the film intellectually, The Fountain is an utterly believable journey into one man’s pain, anchored by an incredible performance from Hugh Jackman as Tom Creo. While Aronofsky surrounds him with complexity, Tom is rooted in the simple, endless grief of lost love, as he watches his wife, Izzi (Rachel Weisz), slip through his fingers. His pain is recognisable, agonising, and, supported by Clint Mansell’s riveting score, it will leave you gasping for breath.

The film has the intricacy of a poem: it’s elusive and it can be unforgiving, but it’s carried by those pure waves of emotional energy. It’s a divisive, difficult film that practically invites ridicule, but you get the feeling, triumphantly, that

Aronofsky doesn’t care. He’s resetting the parameters of science fiction. He’s made a film that isn’t about genre or precedent. It’s about vision, belief and ambition. If anything it echoes Kubrick’s 2001, but The Fountain is no spaced-out odyssey.

Like Kubrick, Aronofsky has created a new cinematic vocabulary, and he’s moved beyond the expectations of his fan base. He’s putting this out there to change the shape of the landscape for good. Maybe it’ll die on its feet. But then death is the road to awe.

Published 25 Jan 2007

Tags: Darren Aronofsky

Anticipation.

The most highly anticipated film of this magazine’s life.

Enjoyment.

An emotional powerhouse that sucks you in and rips you apart layer by layer. An unparalleled experience.

In Retrospect.

A cinematic Ground Zero. The best film of Aronofsky’s career.

Read More

Black Swan

By Matt Bochenski

If Black Swan is Darren Aronofsky’s claim to creative genius, it’s one that is undermined by the film’s own dual nature.

review

Darren Aronofsky: ‘I try not to hold on to past successes and past failures’

By Matt Bochenski

The Black Swan director reflects on the art of filmmaking, the trials of building a legacy and having a dark side.

The Wrestler

By Matt Bochenski

A stunning career comeback from Mickey Rourke underpins Darren Aronofsky’s tragic sports drama.

review LWLies Recommends

What are you looking for?

Little White Lies Logo

About Little White Lies

Little White Lies was established in 2005 as a bi-monthly print magazine committed to championing great movies and the talented people who make them. Combining cutting-edge design, illustration and journalism, LWLies has been described as being “at the vanguard of the independent publishing movement.” Our reviews feature a unique tripartite ranking system that captures the different aspects of the movie-going experience. We believe in Truth & Movies.

Editorial

Design