The Fountain (15)

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The ViewBirmingham Review

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Review byMatthew Turner24/01/2007

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 96 mins

Ambitious, beautifully shot and superbly acted, the all-out surrealness of The Fountain may be too much for some, but the rewards are there if you're prepared to surrender yourself to it.

What's it all about?
Directed by Darren Aronofsky (Requiem For A Dream), The Fountain stars Hugh Jackman as 21st century doctor Tommy Creo, who is desperately searching for a cancer cure, in order to save his terminally ill wife Izzy (Rachel Weisz).

However, the film also casts Jackman in two other time-lines: in the 16th Century he's Tomas, a Spanish conquistador, sent by Queen Isabel (Weisz again) to Guatemala to investigate the Fountain of Youth, whilst in the 26th Century, he's an astronaut travelling through space, in search of a distant nebula where he hopes to be reunited with his lost love (Weisz again).

The Good
The film flicks back and forth between the time-lines, cleverly layering in unifying themes and images that echo through the different stories. As a result, there's relatively little dialogue, but the film's examination of mortality, grief and obsession is nonetheless extremely powerful.

Jackman is terrific in the lead roles. As with The Prestige, he proves an excellent actor when it comes to portraying on-screen obsession. This is particularly notable in his eyes, which Aronofsky frequently highlights in the frame, to impressive effect.

The Great
Weisz is equally good and, to a certain extent, the film can be read as a love letter to her from Aronofsky, her real-life partner. It's also beautifully shot, courtesy of Matthew Libatique, who does some astonishing things with bright lighting.

In addition, there's good support from Ellen Burstyn as Tommy's present day colleague, as well as a superb, highly atmospheric score by Aronofsky collaborator, Clint Mansell.

Worth seeing?
Haunting, thought-provoking and ultimately moving, The Fountain is likely to divide both audiences and critics alike as it's wide open to accusations of pretentiousness, but it'll stay with you long after you've left the cinema. Recommended.

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The Fountain (15)
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Content updated: 17/12/2017 06:14

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