i’m starting to become a fan of hugh jackman’s, but i can’t say the same for rachel weisz. aronofsky (pi, requiem for a dream) makes films that are, above all, about obsession – pi is about one man’s obsession with Truth (that’s with a capital “t”), requiem for a dream is about obsession as manifested in the addiction to drugs, and this is about a man’s obsession with (take your pick) his lover or avoiding death. i think it’s more the latter than the former. the thesis seems to be that one can’t enjoy life if he is always trying to avoid death. this isn’t necessarily a mutually exclusive philosophy to the one espoused in ghost dog. in that film the protagonist meditates on the inevitability of death every day, this enhances his life, where as jackman’s obsession with escaping death in the fountain, lessens his life.
there are three parallel storylines and you can choose to view them in a number of ways. in each storyline there is jackman who is on a quest to find the answer to immortality, for the sake of saving his terminal wife. that’s a simplification, but it’ll have to suffice. at any rate, one is set in 16th century spain, one in the future, and one in the present. in the present day version jackman’s wife (weisz) writes a book called the fountain, a book she wants him to finish for her. incidentally, the 12th chapter is the final chapter which he must write – a possible reference to the 12th step; again, addiction. when he reads the book we pick up the 16th century spain storyline and when he’s asleep we see the future storyline. one could view each as reality across time, or one could view the present day storyline as real and the others as symbolic representations of the real storyline. that’s how i viewed it. there’s a great deal of depth to the storyline, and indeed the entire film, so watching it more than once is necessary.
visually aronofsky creates another wondrous opus. he always has at least a couple really nice, original shots or setups. musically clint mansell always brings his best stuff when he works with aronofsky. he’s worked on other films, but nothing is ever as good as pi or requiem for a dream (which also included the kronos quartet). don’t go into the film if you’re in the mood for a light film. go with someone who enjoys talking about films afterwards and plan a long drive or walk afterwards so you can talk about the questions it raises and the philosophy behind the film. i don’t foresee this film making a whole lot of money and that’s probably a good thing. i wouldn’t want to see aronofsky get spoiled or tainted by the hollywood process. he’s good enough to garner big talent, but not successful enough to get the interest (and meddling that goes with it) of big name producers.Watched in theater