Friday, February 02, 2007

The Fountain with Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz

An Art-House Movie at a Dollar Price

I heard Jerry Herman, who composed Hello Dolly, say that the best day of his life was when Louis Armstrong agreed to sing the title track. It made a hit of the song and the play.

Likewise for Nick Wechsler, the executive producer of The Fountain, the best day producing the movie had to be when Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz agreed to star in this would-be art-house film. Otherwise this headscratcher of a movie would not have been made by Warner Brothers.

Jackman and Weisz bring not only star power but real acting chops to The Fountain. They play star-crossed lovers in three different timeframes; Spain at the time of a Torquemada-like Grand Inquisitor; in the present day; and another time in space (literally).

The non-linear editing whipsaws between each timeframe so fluidly that I don’t think I ever caught up. Normally you would call this kind of time shifting science fiction. But it reminded me of Jacques Offenbach’s opera The Tales of Hoffman, too.

Opera or science fiction, I sympathized with the woman who left at the same time I did asking aloud, “Do we get an explanation now?” People smarter than me have taken The Fountain as a romantic poem on themes of mortality. (Like I need to spend any more time thinking about the shortness of life!)

The movie isn’t unwatchable... by any stretch... but I found it unfathomable rather than “deep.” By all means go see it if you like the stars or if you fancy yourself a patron of enigmas. That said, there are some very bloody sequences and the PG-13 rating is well-earned. The Fountain’s not for kids.

The Fountain is rated PG-13 for some intense sequences of violent action, some sensuality and language.

DMR grades The Fountain a C+.

The Dollar Movie Review Grading System: The Dollar Movie Review grades on a curve. Movies that make choices to be course or vulgar are downgraded a full to a half grade or more. Likewise, movies that don’t gross out or offend too much can be upgraded as a ‘thanks for trying’ attaboy. The Fountain was downgraded a half-grade because it was bloody.

1 comment:

Ippysmom said...

I suppose for some people, probably not that many, the film conveyed deep messages. I was just confused. I felt jerked from person to person and place to place and many times these jerkings overlapped. I didn't feel like the movie drew me in. I felt like it didn't want to draw the viewer in. You either got it or you didn't and I deffinately did not get it.