Monday, February 19, 2007

The Fountain

Go see "The Fountain" before it's too late.

At exactly 50% on rottentomatoes, it's the kind of movie that you either love or hate. Haters, of course, are further subdivided into those who didn't get it and those who get it but are savvy enough to understand what the filmmaker is trying to do and how he could've done it better. Sadly there'll be more of the former and too few of the latter. I fall into the happy medium where I love it for what it is wrinkles and all.

And a whole lot of wrinkles there are. Cinematographer Matthew Libatique (also of "Pi" and Requiem...") went wild with textures and extreme close ups of skin and bark, hitting us over the head repeatedly with repetitive visual themes (the stars, the candles, and the lab workstation lights, for example). Not that I'm complaining. Tom (the kung-fu astronaut) breathing on the bark and Dr. Tommy breathing on Izzy's skin is more telling than her story about the Mayan man and his father.

It helps to ignore the narrative. Don't watch with a "Terminator" or "Back to the Future" frame of mind. Trying to make chronological sense of it is futile, unless you consider the past and future as parts of the manuscript, figments of their imagination. Which, in my opinion, weakens the film. There's nothing more astig than the idea (and image) of a guy in a spherical spaceship carrying his wife as a tree speeding languidly towards a nebula while experiencing his personal Buddhist hell.

And if that isn't enough to make you want to watch, then it probably isn't for you.

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