The Fountain – A Remarkable Masterpiece

Aug 30, 2011 by     Comments Off on The Fountain – A Remarkable Masterpiece    Posted under: Screenplay

The Fountain (2006), written and directed by Darren Aronofsky (other renowned titles include Requiem for a Dream and the recent Black Swan) is the epic drama of Love, Loss and the great force of Death, the subject which has deranged and troubled many for years.

Death is the central theme of the movie, and the other recurrent themes are present for the movie’s general development. The movie, unlike popular beliefs, doesn’t however portray Death as a malignant force, but rather as an inevitable truth, one which has to be faced by all when they cease to exist. It also shows how Death acts as a catalyst to the process of loss, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because in death, one finds salvation. I know, it’s a bit difficult to grasp through words, but Aronofsky has done a brilliant job in making it all the more explicable to the audience, no matter how culturally or religiously diverse.

The movie centers on many characters (though they are usually played by the same pair, Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz), and their stories develop steadily and alternately to reveal the truth about Death. The alternate stories may be difficult to keep up with in the initial stages of the movie, but by the end, viewers are made sure of the subject of Death. And death in the movie is brought about methodically through Love, and Loss. Though some say the movie also touches deeply, the subject of religion, I’d like to make it clear to you that such claims are pure humbug, because the movie is only the director’s perspective of Death, and shouldn’t be taken as fact. That being said, there are some parts of the movie, which do seem quite acceptable within the spheres of religion, and the movie does quote a few biblical passages. But that doesn’t mean it should be watched from a religious point of view. Spirituality is also evidently portrayed in the movie.

The first time I was watching this movie, I couldn’t help but notice how much detail was put into it. From the soundtracks to the camera operations, from the dialogues to the emotions within every character, all were so delicately placed into one package. Yet, this movie didn’t attain the honorable position of a blockbuster hit (it seems as if none of such movies do nowadays). I watched the movie, having known a lot about it beforehand. Like the fact that it was directed by Aronosfky, whose Requiem for a Dream I loved more than any other drug related movie. Like the fact that the soundtracks were composed by Clint Mansell, the genius who gave us the Lux Aeterna (You know, the gloomy and ominous soundtrack that they play in documentaries relating to the End of Times). Like the fact that the reception for this movie was below satisfactory, and that only a few critics really appreciated it (It didn’t stop me from watching it though). Yet, I know now, that all such information is unnecessary, and anyone who watches it without such prior knowledge, will also love it to the same extent. But it’s true that they might also not. It’s kind of like Abstract Art. Either you love, or you hate it profusely.

But more, I think, should be said about Mr.Aronofsky, because after all, the movie is his original creation. He wrote the story and screenplay, and also directed the movie in its entirety. And for that, I should say, he must be applauded, because nowadays, originality is hard to find. Hollywood movies are now, either remakes of 20th Century hits (they usually end up as flops), adaptations of books, or those typical blockbuster hits with cars and buildings blowing up into oblivion, which are aided to success, only by advanced special effects. But this movie contains very diverse elements which I didn’t find in any movies before. Aronofsky is heretical, and doesn’t go by the book. And that’s the way it should be, because all those formulae directors tend to follow, make the movies monotonous, and seldom enjoyable. The cinematography of the movie is also worth praise. Aronofsky, despite being limited on funds, still managed to produce aesthetic shots, such as these:

The Fountain, unlike many movies of this generation, doesn’t base its success on an all-star cast. The central characters are played by Hugh Jackman and Oscar Winner Rachel Weisz, with Oscar Winner Ellen Burstyn making regular appearances. Hugh Jackman isn’t his usual, bad boy good boy heartthrob in this movie, and can be seen to have skillfully executed a very earnest role. Prior to watching the movie, a friend of mine amusingly called the movie a, ‘Wolverine Love Story’, but that is certainly not the case. Rachel Weisz didn’t disappoint either. Though her performance wasn’t Oscar worthy, it certainly wasn’t the type that would’ve ruined the movie. She was still able to put in all the emotions into her various characters, especially into her young-woman-dying-from-cancer role. All in all, the acting in the movie, was decent, and was the kind that you’d expect from an under-rated movie.

Put in a nutshell, the movie is quite enjoyable for all audiences. Though it contains some strong material, I think children should be allowed to watch it, just for the beauty of it, if not for the lessons that it gives (though some might be difficult for them to grasp). Some of you might think that the themes of this movie, like Love and Death, would be better off in a book format. I thought about it that way too, but that’s no reason to miss out on this masterpiece. It’s unique, and succeeds in what it aims to do. To make us realize Death as not a destroyer, but as a liberator.

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