The Fountain (2006)

<strong class="MovieTitle">The Fountain</strong> (2006)

(In theaters, November 2006) Brilliant or pretentious? Fabulous or dull? Too-simple or cryptic? There’s no easy answer with Darren Aronofsky’s latest film, which steps boldly into experimental film territory with all the predictable consequences: Lush visuals, skilled direction and a disregard for anything approaching narrative coherence. Thematically, it’s a big blender of Important Themes: Death, Love, Life, Monkeys, etc. That it’s brilliant is undeniable. That it’s a mess that cares more about its director than the audience can be argued. Those who know they love these films can already go and get the damn DVD: everyone else looking for more conventionally entertaining material can go stare at swirling paint for an hour and a half. Martin Scorsese could have directed this as a short film and still have time to put in a Mafia subplot: Here, we’re stuck along with the important music, important visuals, important camera angles and important themes. Every year sees its own “you must be this masochistic to see this film” entry, and The Fountain is it. Genius, yes, important, maybe, but that doesn’t necessarily translate in anything like satisfaction or even lasting reputation: Who remembers Soderbergh’s Solaris even four years later?

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