I must confess, I came to this movie purely on the basis of hoping to see another magnificent performance from Rachel Weisz, one such as I had seen her give in, TheConstant Gardener (2005.) Not only was I satisfied in that respect, but the superb script, direction and “parallelism”, all created at the hands of Darren Aronofsky amazed and gratified me even more. The Fountain, made one year following, The Constant Gardener, cast Weisz in an eerily similar role, one so much so, the play upon coincidence and its almost fatalist inevitabilities, so integral to parallelism, impacted an effect of its own.
Partly occult belief, partly romantic fantasy, parallelism in respect to multiple story lines fastens the fate of two people devoted to each other in epic recreations of the tragedy and pathos of loss, whole new contexts where characters and settings may extend and decline but mirror each other to capture the same essence of that devotion betrayed to tragedy. Almost as if the Gods were jealous of such love.
The separate story lines may differ in scale but not intensity, the viewer will not tread water waiting for his favorite to return. So integral to each other, the enhancement shows a creative genius in Aronofsky one may have not found before in his work. His addition of a journal kept by “Izzie” (Weisz,) connecting one story line to the next (Queen Isabel, again, Weisz) is inspired. As is the use of close-up camera work on the actress’s face at dramatically climaxing times where the innate beauty she casts adds incredible intensity to the developing pathos upon which all great tragedians have traded.
Playing opposite Weisz is the gifted Hugh Jackman, a role that allows him the opportunity to display his art and ability as no other role has. His performance never falters,something difficult to obtain when his role demands an almost constant state of anxiety. The viewer comes away unable to imagine anyone else playing these two roles, so commanding are the performances.
In the appreciation of mythic symbolism, one legend laces through the structures of the movie establishing its whole, The Tree of Life. Approached from Kabbalist, Christian and Buddhist reference points, a universal unity comes about with the proximity of its location to a Mayan temple at the time of the Conquest. The culmination of all threads to resolution in a prediction held in many ways common to all these beliefs is the point where the whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts.
And there this review finds appropriate end…unless you’ll allow its reviewer to share his one rather odd experience with it, hopefully to add further to your own sense of this incredible movie’s “magic”.
The day before I saw this movie, untouched even by any information of it other than Rachel Weisz had graced it, I wrote this poem. After you see the movie you’ll know what led me into an almost virtual state of shock.
The new crusades have called you
a Franciscan or Jesuit by your side.
Men that have met the taste of steel and blood
coursed through and through to wonder
What side of death this day will wrought.
Magnificent arab mounts spirited to prance
men upon them Indians cannot reckon
A touch of gait quickly stilled to steady
cold starkness confining all to intent
The view of temple met with smell
day’s heat, its cuprous play upon streaming
Life Force flowing in stone channels from above
The younger cannot catch their breath
the sight betrays clinging still to innocense
The arms and legs bundled like wood
while vampire priests peddle them to market vendors.
Havoc follows, a priest cursing Latin, heads hitting
the stones marbling with blood, not tidy like troughs
flowing to the ground staining it crimson for a while.
Nightfall envelops blessing horror with indistinctness
Bernal Diaz writes in blood the ink is lacking
His capitan braves the darkness leaving him alone
Cortez in mystery his priest cannot console
did he come from where flesh was rendered
(to free the soul)
To find where death alone was awe?