Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Ultra-Madness: The Movie 

It exists. Oh man, does it exist. You may know it as the box office bomb, The Fountain. The first twenty minutes plays like some sort of fever dream, amazing to look at while completely bewildering. Eventually, the movie lands somewhat on it's feet and offers some semblance of a story, but it does such a... job at detatching you from anything resembling a care or a whim that by the time you actually begin to become invested in the two main characters, the movie is over.

Unless you've seen it (and virtually no one did), the rest of the post will be confusing as hell to you. Bare that in mind...

The mish-mash is pretty easy to make sense of by the time we're halfway into the film. Everything set in the "past" is fictional, everything in the "present" is real, and everything set in the "future" is for you to decide whether or not this is Hugh Jackman's finishing of the book or actual reality. At first, I just assumed that the closing sequence had to be a bookend to all the Inquisition Era Spain storyline -- as fictional as the book Weisz had written. But it could just as easily be seen as reality given the medical breakthrough Jackman discovered while operating on his baboons (yup...). Yet my first instinct was to assume that it was the former and I think the reason why is because I interpreted this film not as an ode to love, but as a way for dealing with loss. In that context, the ending simply has to be fictional.

At any rate, Aronofsky (whether you like it or not) has an almost pretanatural ability for creating the most depressing, dark, souless atmosphere in his films. The Fountain is no exception, even if it falls well short of being a satisfying viewing experience. I mean, nothing actually happens when it's all said and done. It is, in so many words, a long grieving period -- an exercise in loss. And to that end, you probably could do without it. Not bad, but not compelling either.

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