STARS: HUGH JACKMAN, RACHEL WEISZ, ELLEN BURSTYN, MARK MARGOLIS, ETHAN SUPLEE, SEAN PATRICK THOMAS, AND STEPHEN McHATTIE.
DIRECTED BY: DARREN ARONOFSKY.
RUN TIME: 96min.
Wow, The Fountain is one of those films that takes an open mind and maybe even a repeat viewing to fully grasp and enjoy. The film was kinda marketed as a time travel sci-fi film, however I interpreted it to be a complex tale of the Cosmic Creation of Life, and how it relates to the metaphysical Genesis of the Garden of Eden. (If that makes any sense then you might enjoy the movie!)
The story begins under a dark starry night. (pay close attention to the constellation in the night sky) Three Spanish Conquistidor’s are about to enter a hidden Pyramid that is guarded by Mayan warriors. Captain Tomas (Jackman), leads the charge as he fights his way past the Mayan hordes. He then realises that the warriors are actually carrying him to the base of the structure. As he reaches the top of the Pyramid, he encounters a Mayan Holy Warrior that quickly kills him, or does he?
Cut to, Outer space, as we see a clean shaven Thomas, apparently living on some kind of bubble spaceship with a huge tree in the center. He’s not alone, as visions of his love Izzi (Weisz) continue to haunt him. He appears to have a deep bond with the tree, as he uses it for nourishment. As he consumes small portions of the tree bark, the visions of Izzi become more intense.
Time and space shift, as the visions of Izzi, turn into reality. She asks Thomas to join her for a walk. Thomas explains that their waiting for him in the lab. Reality changes into present day as Thomas is working in a medical research lab. Izzi, walks out as he reluctantly chases after her, but he’s stopped in the hallway as they really are waiting for him in the lab. Dr Thomas Creo, is a cutting edge tumor research specialist. His current patent Donovan (a chimpanzee) is dying from a brain tumor. During a risky last chance procedure, Thomas uses a highly experimental rare tree bark as an exotic cure to save Donovan. The tree bark shows promising signs of healing, as it works in developing certain higher pathways in the brain, however it has little effect on the tumor.
Thomas reluctantly returns home where he finds Izzi outside in the snow looking through a telescope. She’s fixated on a particular star cluster, a golden nebula that seems to be growing. He brings her inside as she’s not wearing any shoes. We then realise that Izzi has a serious medical condition. She can’t feel anything in her extremities. We soon discover shes loosing a battle with a systemic brain tumor. Its at this point we realise that Thomas is frantically trying (at all costs) to find a cure to save her. Meanwhile, Izzi is almost finished with a book manuscript she’s writing called “The Fountain.” The manuscript is almost complete as she only has one more chapter to write.
The following day upon returning to the lab, Thomas finds out that further testing has revealed that the exotic tree bark is causing rapid healing. The other doctors are ecstatic as the tree bark seems to have amazing medical breakthrough properties. To his colleagues surprise, Thomas doesn’t care about that he only wants to eradicate the tumor. As Thomas returns home that night he finds Izzi is already asleep. The gravity of situation begins to take its toll, as he breaks down, and begins to realise that there isn’t enough time to save her. He picks up the manuscript and begins to read “The Fountain.” The writings turn into a vision that takes us back to the 16th Century, during the time of the Spanish Inquisitions.
Captain Tomas, is the faithful servant of her majesty, Queen Isabel of Spain. (Also played by Weisz) The Queen fears that the Inquisitor will soon overthrow her rule. In an effort to prevent this, she tasks Tomas with the mission to find the mythical Tree of Life, written in the book of Genesis. Her informers have discovered the location of the tree in a hidden pyramid deep in Mayan territory. The Queen makes a bond with Tomas, as she explains that once he returns with the sap from the Tree of Life, they will both rule Spain together forever. Before he departs she gives him a ring to seal their fate.
We then cut back to the Sphere ship as Thomas is once again eating from the tree. The spirit of Izzi asks Thomas why he hasn’t finished it yet? Frustrated, he tells her he doesn’t know how?”
Reality shifts back to present day as Izzi is now being treated in a hospital. Thomas is beside her now, and gives her the manuscript to work on while she’s recovering. Isabel implores Thomas to finish it, as they both begin to except that tragically Izzi is dying and won’t be able to complete the book. Distraut and angry, Thomas makes his way back to the research lab and begins to frantically attempt to find a cure. Its a futile effort, as his staff compel him to go back to Izzi and be with her. He returns, as Izzi dies in his arms. Then a powerful vision takes us back to the sphere ship as Izzi’s spirit instructs Thomas to finish it. This time his answer is, “Ok!”
We then cut back to the research lab as the staff are congratulating Thomas on his amazing discovery. The rare tree bark has produced the amazing side effect of immortality. Its a bittersweet moment at this point for Thomas.
Back for the last time, on the sphere ship Thomas has a vision where instead of going into surgery he runs past his staff and chases Izzi as they both enjoy the walk she offered in the past. As he makes peace with her death we realise that Thomas has been living on this Sphere ship for hundreds maybe thousands of years. He has taken the Tree of Life into space and is heading for the Mayan star cluster. (If your keeping up, that was the golden nebula that Izzi was looking at in the past…)
I found this movie to be very compelling once you get used to all the shifting time lines. The acting was brilliant, as I was blown away by Hugh Jackman’s performance. The film and its overall meaning didn’t hit me, until after I thought about it for awhile. An amazing story concept, very well scripted and very moving.
<HUGE SPOILER AHEAD>
This is my overall opinion of the real meaning of The Fountain.
Reincarnation is God’s punishment or will, over Adam’s fall from grace. (As its labeled as banishment) Genesis 3:24. This entire story is the odyssey of Adam and Eve, as their souls reincarnate through time. Their love for mankind transcends time as does Gods plan for creation.
I left out the very/very end as I hope others check this out and form their own conclusion.
The dvd offers even more insight into what’s going on as we go back and forth through time, in six cool featurettes called, “Inside (The Fountain), death and rebirth.