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In Movies & TV

Jackman, Weisz look for life in "The Fountain"


The fountain of youth, a sense of adventure for the ages. Sure, the conquistadors of years past lost their lives looking for it. And we are still looking for it -- the way to cheat death and live forever. "The Fountain" takes three stories, all featuring Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz, overlays them into one and the audience is left to deal with the parallels.

To even try to describe the movie is a difficult task. "The Fountain" has emotions at its center and a story moving out from it. Jackman plays Tommy Creo, a scientist trying to find a cure for brain tumors. Weisz plays his wife Izzie, a woman suffering from a brain tumor that has left her without fear of death and hot/cold sensations.

She's written a book called "The Fountain," about Tomas, a Spanish conquistador, sent by the Queen to find the fountain of life in the middle of the Amazon. Tommy sits down to read the book, but it's not finished. Izzie keeps telling him that he needs to finish it and he refuses to give in to her morbid wishes.

Hovering above all is Tom, an astronaut or a being from another world. He lives in a bubble with a living tree. He's haunted by the modern day Izzie and she keeps whispering "finish it" and he gets dragged back and forth between what seem to be a mixture of memories and hallucinations.

All the stories are tied together, but through the modern day story. The book and the memories belong to Tommy, and he's a tormented soul.

"The Fountain" begins its journey in the midst of all three stories, leaving the audience to figure out where each story begins and ends until the movie just comes right out and explains what is going on. There are scenes that repeat, unchanged at several points throughout, like a scene that has Izzie asking Tommy to go on a walk with her since it's the first snow of the winter and he says he's too busy.

Writer/director Darren Aronofsky's creation takes patience to watch, therefore those people expecting a movie only about the fountain of youth will be a little more than disappointed with how much time is spent in the 16th century.

Aronofsky's continual jumping between the stories will also take a certain level of stamina. He only lets on so much in a particular scene, it takes the whole movie before all the puzzle pieces are in place and that can be disheartening.

Jackman and Weisz play their many roles well, especially Jackman. However possible, Aronofsky has made Jackman look rather unlike himself. For his role as Tom, Jackman was made to go bald and for Tomas he became hairier than he's even been in a movie. Weisz also goes through a few transformations -- a short haircut for Izzie, prim and proper for the Queen and she's personified as a tree in the future.

"The Fountain" is nothing short of beautiful though. The cinematography uses close up shots of all the characters, so that they are the focal point of a particular scene. There's no where else to look on the screen except at the tight shots of Jackman or Weisz.

When the pulled back, the scenes are nothing short of beautiful, particularly in Tom's scenes. He's floating in space, in the middle of a nebulas, which is a gold color. Obviously these scenes are primarily computer generated, but the colors are outstanding.

But the overall message involves coping with life, death and living forever. Each of Jackman's characters needs to cope with the fact that they cannot save their love. Tommy's approach to death is stunning: "Death is a disease, and there's a cure. And I will find it." Of course, no one knows the cure, but the intensity Jackman injects into his scenes makes you believe he can.


OnMilwaukee.com Rating:



Talkbacks

hardgeminiguy | Nov. 20, 2006 at 8:33 p.m. (report)

i saw an advance screening of THE FOUNTAIN. easily, one of the worst movies of 2006--a year of many bad movies. the plot-if there is one is all put impossible to follow. my friend i agreed--1 star out of 4 at best and that for the visual aspect. as people were leaving the theatre ALL without exception found the movie a real waste of time, badly done, and not worth seeing. my friend and i agree--word of mouth will KILL this movie. please, do not waste your money or time. it is that bad.

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arks00 | Nov. 20, 2006 at 8:38 a.m. (report)

I am looking forward to seeing this movie. one correction though, You mention that the effects are obviously computer generated... they are not. Aronofsky didnt want CG in his film, they worked with some scientist who had done some microscopic experiments and went with those visuals. What you see in those scenes is not computer generated.

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happy_guy7 | Nov. 20, 2006 at 6:04 a.m. (report)

Excellent review. I'm glad you enjoyed because I cannot wait to see this movie on Wednesday. Just a word from the wise though, there was no CGI in this movie whatsoever. Everything is photographed, including all the future scenes. Now, doesn't this movie blow your mind even more?

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