Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Fountain

The Fountain (director Darren Aronofsky's sixth movie) is, as far as I am concerned, his magnum opus. It is as hauntingly beautiful as it is emotionally involving; as bewitching and enchanting as it is tender and moving. From the orange and black tones of the futuristic story to the dark greens and blues of the older story, Aronofsky has perfected the use of elemental colors with stunning backgrounds.

Hugh Jackman (Tommy) and Rachel Weisz (Izzi) share a unique chemistry as husband and wife. Tommy is a kind and loving man who has sworn himself to finding a cure for the cancer that is slowly, although fairly painlessly, taking Izzi's life. Izzi is a writer, trying to finish a historical novel about a Spaniard named Tomas (also played by Jackman) who tries for the sake of his Queen, Isabel (also played by Weisz), to discover the Mayan secret of eternal life. The third part of this intricately woven and nuanced story is of Tom (again, Jackman) as he journeys with a giant tree to Xibalba, the Mayan underworld, represented by a dying star.

The entirety of the movie is a study of death and its proper place in the circle of life. Izzi is at peace with the idea, Tommy is not. Isabel desires immortality, Tomas risks his life to give it to her. Tom seems to have found immortality, only to question its worth.

Equally worth mentioning is the score. At parts the movie is completely silent. The sound mixing is exquisite, making the voices the perfect volume and intensity for the subject, amplifying and softening at the perfect moments. Clint Mansell's score is truly brilliant, and splendidly performed by the Kronos quartet and Mogwai, a new favorite group of mine. Full of sweeping strings and suspended minors, it buries itself into the viewer's subconscious to mirror the line of a Mayan from Izzi's story: "Death is the road to awe."

I see myself in Tommy. Not myself, but some yet-to-be version of myself. I long for a woman to love with every fiber of my being; to wrap my arms around with no desire to release; to care for even unto my dying breath; to know more intimately than any other; to please as an end, not as a means to a further end.

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