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This Movie Review of Darren Aronofsky’s ‘The Fountain’ Gets It Right

Darren Aronofsky’s much maligned 2006 movie The Fountain is actually one of my favourites, as is the brilliant score by Clint Mansell. So when I saw this fun review of the movie, correcting some of the misconceptions about it and pointing out details of the wonderful work done by Aronofsky and Mansell, I had to share.

For those who still haven’t seen the movie, beware of spoilers – instead, just go watch the movie, then come back. Hell, let’s all just go watch it again…

  1. The Fountain within us
    Thanks Greg, just put on the wonderful soundtrack, Mansell scored some more great soundtracks, but this one is his best, clearly much inspired by the movie. He is afterall Aranofsky’s muse for music right from the start with PI. I’ve seen the Fountain several times and it never fails to touch me deeply, that a lot of people didn’t get it is unfortunately no surprise to me, Hollywood tends to produce Big Macs and The Fountain is a gourmet dinner. In the end everyone involved in the movie can be proud of what they produced and this movie will marvel people for decades to come.

  2. Another take.
    Great video.

    Although I disagree with his notion that the Future timeline is not a literal extension of the current timeline. Sorry. I think there a plenty of clues that point towards it being so. ↓↓↓

    After Izzi’s funeral Tommy tells Lillian that “Death is a disease like any other and that there’s a cure and that he will find it”. I think he does find it. I think the tree in his spaceship is the tree that has grown from the seed he planted on Izzi’s grave. There is a scene in the hospital when they’re about to euthanize Donovan the monkey and Tommy remembers a compound:

    I’ll prepare the pentobarbital.
    -No, wait.
    What is it?
    -Remember that compound we played around with?
    Which one?
    -From that tree. That one from Central America. That one. Natul tortuosa. 82-A46. From Guatemala. The old-growth tree.
    We had samples, but it was sterile. The graftings and clippings didn’t take. That’s it!
    -All right, what’s happening?
    Mix it with your compound. They got a similar structure. A mirror. Manny, find those samples.
    -I don’t see it.
    Picture them side by side. Fold them into each other like two lovers, woman on top. They have complementary domains. If we can get them to stick–
    -Is this it?

    [Donovan is cured]

    Well I think he succeeds in grafting the clippings with “Izzi’s tree”. That rare old-growth tree from Guatemala is Tomas Verde’s Tree of Life(?). I think that’s why he eats from the tree. To keep him alive during his journey.

    I think the tattoos that he has been giving himself on his arms are a narrative device to illustrate how much time has passed since giving himself the first tattoo on his ring finger in the “current timeline”. If you look closely you will see that he still uses the exact same fountain pen for these tattoos and that it has started to crumble and ware from the massive amount of time that has passed while travelling through space.

    I think the Tai Chi he practices in his spaceship is how he keeps his body healthy and there is a deleted scene on the Blu-Ray (Which you can watch on YouTube) called ‘Life on Ship’ in which Tommy grows and ingests psilocybin mushrooms before meditating. I think this is how he keeps his mind healthy. They’d also be a great tool for meditating on Izzi’s story. It’s a beautiful scene and it pains me greatly that he cut it from the final film.

    If Tommy is anything he is perseverant. To the point of literally travelling to Xibalba.

    There are more but I haven’t watched the film in a long time and this comment is getting very long.

    Anyway, would be cool if you let me know what you think.

  3. Adam and Eve
    Has anyone considered that they might be Adam and Eve? I think it’s fairly obvious. I mean, after all, the movie does center around a couple and the tree of life and it does begin with a quote from Genesis. The Mayan priest refers to Thomas as first man (the exact wording might be different) . Perhaps the most obvious hint is the very last shot in which Izzy hands Tommy one of those pine coneesque fruits from the tree. There is a lesser known Jewish tradition that the tree of life is somewhere in South/Central America. Aronfsky is versed in esoteric Judaism.

    As an aside,

    The couple’s surname is Creo: I think that in Spanish Creo is the present participle of believe (I think this form denotes the first person personal pronoun “I” = I believe. ) the etymology of the name Thomas is the Aramaic/Hebrew word teum “twin”. The suffix y denotes the first person possessive pronoun = “my twin”. Perhaps this hints at them being soul mates.

    1. Con’t
      I really think that Aronofsky’s intention was to tell the greatest story ever told in the greatest movie ever made. It didn’t work out, I mean the movie is probably incomplete (as in it didn’t capture his entire conception and he had to leave things out). The movie is so brilliant though and every frame is a thoughtful work of art. As brilliant as it is, I wonder if Darren could have reasonably figured that this movie would have commercial appeal in the 21st century. Maybe I’m being too hard on him though. I think the movie has something to offer everyone, even the lowest common denominator of movie goers. I mean.. The score alone makes it worth watching. I think you could watch it without understanding a thing and just enjoy the beautiful imagery. The movie had a profound impact on me when I first saw it theatres back in high school. The movie changed my life. I listen to the soundtrack fairly often and it almost always takes me to this transcendental/calm headspace. Adam and Eve brought mortality and suffering into this world. This movie takes me to what feels like a place that exists beyond this world and life as we know it.

      Is there any satisfaction in nearly making the greatest film ever made? I think the answer is yes. I hope that Darren will some day “finish it”. I think There is a certain stress/angst which accompanies creative genius. What ever drove him to embark on this project will someday drive him to try again. One way or another, I think he will some day make the greatest movie ever.

  4. I love this effing movie
    Once I tried to play this film to my family. Their reaction was so painfully vulgar it reminded me of how isolated I am inside the people closest to me 🙁

    I bought the music score on iTunes, too. It’s my favorite ‘writing’ music 😉

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