Film Review: The Fountain
Brave and beautiful, ‘The Fountain’ is one of the most striking and most wonderful films I have ever seen in my entire life. This experimental narrative impresses and indulges. It is such an organic opus for director Darren Aronofsky… and I really salute every single person involved in the making of this film.
I think this is the most personal film review I have ever made to date…
More than being an audio-visual masterpiece, ดูหนัง this open-ended, surreal, and lingering within human’s stream-of-consciousness film triggers a world of visionary artistry stimulating not just the eyes and ears – it goes down to a human being’s very senses until it reaches the core of the soul. A haunting and remarkable journey that takes a viewer to various places and levels of consciousness, ‘The Fountain’ addresses such a metaphysical, emotional, and spiritual topic by utilizing an instinctive human language of pure cinematic poetry. Indeed, it gives that mystical, astonishing, and evocative film experience.
I do know that this film won’t affect every person watching it the way it struck me, but surely, at one point, every person who gets to watch this film will get a knock on the door of his/her soul… with lingering questions about love, life, and death… Some of the people from behind me at the moviehouse have actually called it weird. Maybe it is… and maybe I just share the same wavelength with such a vision that’s why I have appreciated it so much… but with all conviction, I do believe that if a person opens his/her mind to the ‘weirdness’ that they call, this cinematic poem will surely tap the subconscious into some miraculous transcendence. It will make the viewer wonder, question, and evaluate the unanswered inquiries he/she has since his/her childhood days… The film will not impose a concrete answer – but the magic of it is that it makes the viewer think and absorb the experience to think and act for the more important things in the present life than getting the concrete answers to the questions left unanswered since time immemorial.
‘The Fountain’ is a meditative film. Some may find it a soothing and suiting meditation on love and life, on life and death, on struggling and accepting, on beginning and end. It works in many levels. And yet there is a perfect coherence in Aronofsky’s sense of imagery. With a careful and artistic hand, he paints complementing images and scenes that are meant to invoke feelings than making outright conclusions. It has an amazingly unified theme-driven story. Moreover, ‘The Fountain’ is an experimental narrative with such experimental film elements evoking the right emotions and triggering a validating stream of consciousness from its metaphysical aspects to convey its message and promote the film experience it aims. Indeed, this film about humanity’s mad struggle to find a cure for man’s transience is a powerfully engaging examination of mortality and loss wrapped up in a finely weaved sci-fi fantasy. And the film makes its own representation of addressing such an idea as: ‘Life is short, and so, we should make the most of it, and at the same time, live by the values we learn from it, and we shall finally find contentment with what forever has in stored for us…’
The splendid visual, sound and music elements, the enchanting storytelling, the taut acting, the powerful direction… together they make up this masterpiece. With each rhyming images and visual metaphors, every beat and unit of the actual film are carefully threaded together to give a tap to the soul and its lifetime of inquiries – its very idea may go beyond the scope of human understanding; but its emotional force really surfaces effectively to bequeath that mystical, soulful experience.
‘The Fountain’ is a risky and yet uncompromising cinematic work. Aronofsky tries to replace the prose of the already marked narrative storytelling by coming up with three distinct themes that gradually come together in a movement that is both powerful and beautiful. It’s a thought-provoking, emotionally honest drama that is steeped in love and loss. And with its time-spanning love story, it is inventive in using organic means to come up with much of its special effects; thus, creating a more organic and dynamic feel to it. Furthermore, the film pushes the audience’s flights of imagination into new facets and dimensions. Indeed, Aronofsky displays such an admirable film discipline. He proves that film is a really powerful medium, and even though the formula conquers the motion picture industry, a filmmaker can still live up with a unique language that is challenging and refreshing – and this is such an achievement.
Noticeably, in the film’s flash website under Warner and the write-ups/PRs directly coming from Warner, I would have to agree with Aronofsky advocating the idea that the people working for the film are all filmmakers. It is such an honor to share some similar insights with one admirable filmmaker as him. And one of these insights, I can not let pass not saying here… I have publicly said in one of my film reviews before (from my film review of the Filipino film entitled ‘Ilusyon’), that in any filmmaking endeavor, every person, whether working in front of the camera or behind the scene, is a filmmaker. I know this is fair enough to understand; while elaborating with this would probably need a new article/essay to write about.
The sterling performances from its actors and actresses are splendid. Even the minor characters not uttering much dialogues show distinctly effective roles with their few seconds of screen time. And of course, the two main characters wonderfully validate the film’s vision. This is a film anyone seeking a truly original experience at the cinema should partake in.
Personally, ‘The Fountain’ goes along with films like ‘Pi’ (Aronofsky’s first feature), ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ (from the late film genius Stanley Kubrick) and ‘Solaris’ (from insightful filmmaker Steven Soderbergh). Just like these classics, ‘The Fountain’ is hugely ambitious and visually commanding, misunderstood by many, and respectively underrated. It has a complex impact that defies mainstream’s overused receptivity.
With this profound work, Aronofsky speeds back and forth across centuries with such virtuosity. He is a visionary director. And he is one of the rare filmmakers offering up such a challenging vision to a mainstream audience without playing safe and making much pretentions. Also, it is interesting to note that no spoilers can mainly affect every single film experience one can get in this motion picture.