Originally posted on April 29, '07 at slangards.multiply.com
My blood feeds the loam
My arms will scratch the heavens
The road to awe waits
So I finally got to watch Darren Aronofsky's The Fountain. It's one of the films I'd missed at the cinema and after seeing a half-assed film transfer on my dinky TV screen, I really wish I hadn't. Seeing the cg matte paintings of Xibabla from fourth row center would've been a kick. Hopefully, I can still find the graphic novel somewhere, and when that original DVD goes on sale... *crosses fingers*
The movie's a little warped gem of storytelling. Like a Tarantino film, it's got that demented kind of retrograde continuity that starts at the end of the middle, jumps back to the beginning of the start, and ends at the end of the end. It sounds confusing and it is.
It's one of those movies where you've sat through the first reel and you go, "what the fuck is going on?" But if you're patient and have an attention span longer than a five year old on Halloween, you should be able to pick up the plot without any problem. And it's only about an hour and a half, so you don't have that long to wait for a resolution.
Aronofsky constantly invites you to empathize with his characters, starting with close-ups of their faces, and pulling back so you see more and more of their world; it's a world of sad, majestic grace. His set pieces are gorgeously produced, from Queen Isabel's chamber, filled with light, to Tommy's home in the future, next to a dying star, to the blank white palate of Izzie's grave. Every image, every word, every sound, touches a chord that sticks in your gut.
But, It's the kind of movie where suspension of disbelief is key; like Shaymalan's The Village, you won't be able to appreciate the complexities if you're nitpicking about the small stuff. And if you're thinking that this is a happy movie, forget it. Go see the Tagalog romance showing next door. This is a movie about death and rebirth and eternal life. This is the kind of deliciously depressing movie I love, with just enough hope at the end to keep you from throwing yourself in front of a bus.
Still if tomorrow a bus does slam into me, I'll be okay with it. Just bury me in a field, plant a seed on my grave and let me reach for heaven. Eventually we're all headed to the stars on the road to awe.