Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Review: The Fountain (DVD)

General Info:
Year: 2006
Director: Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream)
Writer: Darren Aronofsky & Ari Handel
Main Cast: Hugh Jackman, Rachel Weisz
Synopsis: Spanning 1000 years (in a sense of the word) with three parallel stories in which the main characters play different roles, this film gives a fascinating take of eternal life and what lengths people go to for love. (probably not the greatest explanation by IMDb is your friend)

A very beautiful Sci-Fi film with excellent music, an intriguing storyline and some good acting to boot 9/10 (not quite reaching the coveted 10/10)

Good Points:
Set Design. Although shot on a relatively small budget ($35 million, instead of the $75 million of the previous attempt) and after having to shut down production for 2 years then completely restart, the sets are very nicely designed. They all have a feeling of confinement and a running theme of going down a dark tunnel into the light, but still maintain the atmosphere despite their size.

Music. Clint Mansell was again used to create the score, which sits nicely in the background without drawing your attention to it too much, yet manages to add to the atmosphere when needed, particularly when in the ship.

Acting. There isn't a lot of talking in this film and a lot is conveyed through the actors emotions and actions. Hugh Jackman did a good job of this, really making you feel the pain he is going through. He manages to leave his wolverine aggression at the door, whipping it out for a few bits but it makes sense. Rachel Weisz doesn't have a great deal to do really but she gets on with it and delivers a good performance when she has something to do.

Plot. It being a Darren Aronofsky film there is an inherent confusion running throughout the film and things not quite being explained, but the main theme of the search for eternal life is interesting and also gives some interesting views on this subject, merging a number of ideas together to come up with an interesting take on things. The moving between time periods and stories is handled well by utilising a kind of flashback method which helps to keep things in some form of context.

Effects. Aronofsky's desire to use as little CG as possible seems to have paid off nicely, the space scenes where done using macro photography and chemical reactions in a Petri dish with fabulous results. Other effects where done using dummies and models with good effect, the move towards using CG for everything is one that could do with re-evaluation seeing what can be achieved with a little inventiveness and a good art department.

DVD Extras. A number of behind the scenes features, giving a further insight into the making of the film and at points the story and an extended look at life on the ship are all welcome features on the DVD.

Bad Points.
Plot. As I read on IMDb and agree with to a point, the ending is a little over the top and leaves you still confused about some aspects of the film. My housemate had trouble understanding the film, which is a problem if you want a film with a definitive story, but still enjoyed it by appreciating it's beauty.

This is a really good film, but it is by no means perfect. Unfortunately it's not exactly something quantifiable, it just seems to be missing something, other than a explanation of how he got into space. Regardless of this the beauty of the film is great and I look forward to more of Aronofsky's work.

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