A Matter of Life and Death
The Fountain
Review by Ross Anthony

Somewhat of a cinematic poem, "The Fountain" scrapes at the scabs over those old thoughts of life and death we so easily let slip from our minds during the day to day. With a careful, artistic hand, it paints images, scenes, more meant to invoke a feeling that feels right to the theme than to make absolute sense. Now, I'm not saying the film doesn't make sense. It does, but what it does better -- is make feeling.

It's really very beautiful on many levels. First, the imagery for such an ambitious undertaking is sweetly sincere. It feels large -- as life -- and honest as well. And the acting echoes that sincerity. The cinematography is careful, looking for textures, patterns, intimately close, while hosting all of this in a candlelit atmosphere that almost falls into sepia.

The pace remains disciplined, slow, but not languishing. And it works, although, just at about 10 minutes toward climax, that slow pace starts to distract. A few edits or at least a pick up in that pace would have helped, just in that small window of film.

It's a very visual experience with a beautiful love at its center -- one that Jackman and Weisz make real, make chemically, emotionally believable, enviable. But, it's also got a secret that unfolds as a puzzle and will keep you thinking even after the film. (Best seen on the big screen.)

Warning: Stop reading here -- I may spoil. But, I simply must say this. I think the film should have ended with that gorgeous scene in which Tommy falls to the ground and flowers sprout from him. That makes the whole film work on a thematic level. IE -- you can't fight death -- and once you accept death, life will come to you, but not necessarily in the way you thought you wanted. But it will definitely come in a wonderful and joyous way. That's as much as my mind can make tight the film. As for the supernova recreating from death, that also works. And if you look at the ring as "being bound" to the cycle of life and death -- then further endings make more sense. Especially considering the name of the wife: Izzy Creo -- Iz (a hint at the word "is") and Creo (Latin, for "creation").

Lastly, watching the film for me was made even more eerie as I've just published my second novel in a series that dances along in some of these same themes -- using the tree as the returning motif as well. If you're curious see www.RossAnthony.com/books. (It's called "Something Happens" in the "Rodney Appleseed" series.)

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  • The Fountain. Copyright © 2006.
  • Starring Hugh Jackman, Rachel Weisz, Ellen Burst.
  • Directed by Darren Aronofsky.
  • Screenplay by Darren Aronofsky, story by Darren Aronofsky & Ari Mandel.
  • Produced by Mark Eric Watson, Arnon Milchan, Iain Smith at WB/Regency.

Grade..........................A- (3/4)

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Copyright © 1998-2022 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at HollywoodReportCard.com, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: www.RossAnthony.com or call 1-800-767-7186. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

Last Modified: Friday, 15-Dec-2006 15:57:27 PST