Thursday, April 17, 2008

Impressions of The Fountain

I just finished watching The Fountain on a recent cross-country flight. Watching it on a laptop screen was probably sacrilege, given the mind-blowing and groundbreaking visuals that were achieved by using micro-photography in lieu of CGI. However, I had this fim home from Netflix for weeks and hadn't found the opportunity to watch it, so... I was quite impressed by Director Darron Aronofsky's previous works, Pi and Requiem for a Dream, so I was excited to see this film.

The story travels in time but is not about time travel per se. Rather, it follows three parallel couples (played by Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz) in the past, present, and future. I found that even on the pathetic laptop screen, it did live up to the hype as far as the visuals were concerned, and not just on the 'future' segments that included the micro-photography. The set design, lighting, and cinematography all combined to create vivid moods and a complex cinematic painting. Like in Aronofsky's previous works, the film is not necessarily a coherent narrative, but is rather a exploration of themes of love, death and immortality, and spirituality. I highly recommend the film, but don't go expecting to see a nice neat story wrapped in a bow or satisfying character arcs with a sense of closure. Weisz and Jackman gave good performances, but their characters were more or less just brush strokes on the larger visual canvas of the film. Fans of either actor will not likely rank these performances among their best. I wouldn't call it the fault of the actors themselves, they did what was asked of them expertly, it is just that not much was asked of them (though Jackman did shave his head and chest for the future segments).

The award winning score by Clint Mansell, (performed by the Kronos Quartet and Mogwai was also notable.

In all, I highly recommend the film, especially if you can watch it on a nice TV with a good sound system.

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