The Fountain (PG-13)

Drama 96 November 22, 2006
By J.hoberman
Solemn, flashy, and flabbergasting, The Fountain -- adapted by Darren Aronofsky from his own graphic novel -- should really be called "The Shpritz." The premise is lachrymose, the sets are clammy, and the metaphysics is all wet. The screen is awash in spiraling nebulae and misty points of light, with the soundtrack supplying appropriately moist ooh and aahs. Not nearly as pleasurably tacky as a description might make it sound, Aronofsky's historical phantasmagoria jumps between three time zones. There's the 15th-century derring-do in which Rachel Weisz's glamorous Queen Isabella sends Hugh Jackman's conquistador to find the Tree of Life and bring back the Sap of Immortality. There's a present-day melodrama in which Weisz appears as the free-spirited Izze, dying of brain cancer while her renegade medical-researcher spouse, Tom (Jackman), races against time to create a cure. Adding to the mystery, Izze is writing a novel titled The Fountain, which is actually the conquistador story. Finally and least explicably, there's Tom's 26th-century bald astronaut. Izze who? Are you what? What The Fountain lacks in coherence it makes up in ambition. Aronofsky has aspired to make not only the most strenuously far-out movie of the 21st century, but the greatest love story ever told.
Darren Aronofsky Hugh Jackman, Rachel Weisz, Sean Gullette, Ellen Burstyn, Sean Patrick Thomas, Donna Murphy, Mark Margolis, Jamie Isaac Conde, Alexander Bisping, Cliff Curtis Darren Aronofsky, Ari Handel Darren Aronofsky, Eric Watson, Iain Smith Warner Bros. Pictures

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