The Fountain 

2006

Darren Aronofsky's "The Fountain" is one of those movies that predictably went nowhere upon initial release, yet whose rep only will strengthen over time. In jumping between three time periods and exuding a trippy, Zen vibe that makes "2001" look lucid by comparison, the film seems as if it were designed deliberately not to find an audience.

 

A never-better Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz star as husband-and-wife Tom and Izzi. She's terminally ill and he's trying his damndest to find a cure. In past and future stories that serve as parallel, he's also a 16th-century conquistador to her queen, and in the 26th century, he's bald and floating through space and fondling a tree.

 

It all makes more sense than one has room to explain here, but needless to say, it treads territory that baffles mainstream audiences. However, those with open minds "? the ones who appreciated Steven Soderbergh's "Solaris," for example "? will find something a near-masterpiece here.

 

From "Pi" to "Requiem for a Dream," Aronofsky has never played it safe, and the film is better off for it, with stunning visuals and radiating a lyrical warmth, boasting another unconventional but excellent Clint Mansell score. It's just a shame there's no director's commentary so Aronofsky could clue us in to his full intent.

 

"?Rod Lott

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