Poster-The-FountainI remember when The Fountain was released back in 2006 and it seemed that almost everyone thought that it was a bit of a mess. I suppose in some respects they were right, but having seen some bits of the film on TV when flicking through the movie channels I thought it looked intriguing and got the Book God to buy it for me one Christmas (but a year or so ago) and have now (finally) got around to watching it.

There is a bit of a story behind my watching this film. The BG and I tend to go to the cinema on Sundays, and I don’t really get much of a chance to watch those films that are on my list but not his during the week (pressure of work is my excuse, fixation with crime and sci-fi/fantasy shows on TV is the real reason), so I have started watching such films by myself on my lovely retina-display MacBook late on Saturday afternoons.

This weekend I decide to watch a rental of The Fall by Tarsem (as recommended to me by Carl of Stainless Steel Droppings fame in a comment  here) and settled down to do so. Sadly, the disc sent to me by LOVEfilm (other rental outlets are available) skipped dreadfully and I gave up, but was now in film-watching mood and unable to settle to anything else. I decided to go hunting for a copy of The Fall on the internet, ordered the DVD and noticed one of those “people who bought this also bought this” listings which I generally ignore but lo and behold there was The Fountain. Seemed like karma so off I went.

The first thing to say is that this is visually gorgeous. It also boasts two great lead performances from Rachel Weisz, who is simply luminous throughout, and Hugh Jackman. The music is sufficiently wonderful that I downloaded the soundtrack album immediately afterwards. It’s a tale of love and mortality and the search for eternal life and, for me most of all, the impact of grief. The film flits back and forth between three strands with the relationship of Tom and Izzie at the centre. So we see Conquistador Hugh searching for the Tree of Life in Guatemala for the Queen of Spain, Scientist Hugh searching for a cure for his wife’s brain tumour, and Bald Future Hugh taking a dying tree in a bubble to Xibalba, the nebula that represents the Mayan underworld.

Then it all goes a bit weird (in a lovely bonkers way).

The Fountain reminded me of two other films: Cloud Atlas (which I saw recently) in terms of some of the themes covered, and 2001 in terms of the what on earth is going on at the end.

It is sad, beautiful and strange. I felt overwhelmed when I finished watching it and will definitely make time to watch it again. Recommended.