Monday, 30 May 2011

The Fountain

"Death is the road to awe". The problem is that this film about death and how we handle it is anything but awesome! Any film that chooses to explore death and how we might prepare for it and embrace it is courageous. However, this film delivers three interlocking stories that spread over a millennium but which drown in a sea of the slushiest sentimentality.

Death remains the great barrier which we all fear. The hope is that we live on in some way - I'm not at all sure that I buy into the the mishmash of Eastern-Buddhist Nirvana driven reincarnation pantheism. No, I am sure - I don't.

If you want a film that plays mind games with your darkest fears and holds a hope of pie-in-the-sky lotus position transcendant experiences then this is something for you. This film is short on philosophy and short on a coherent way to string a story together.

I could continue trying to write intelligibly about this film but there is a much more erudite review from the archives of BFI's Sight and Sound here.

As much as I like Darren Aronofsky's films (Black Swan, The Wrestler, Requiem for a Dream and Pi) I can only say he's getting better and better. I'll give this 4/10.


chrisrow said...

Sorry Duncan - have to say that this is one of my top ten films and whilst I don't bey the Nevadan reincarnation thing - I don't think the film does either. Think that it says something about the inevitability of death but it is the memories that persist and more about how we die that is important(?) How do we go off into our death - by chose or by design or just because we reach the end of life. I saw this as a romantic film - in that love seems to be the thread that hold the three timelines together - that it is love that is the eternal and not the living - each time line seems to be a re description of the relationship the two have and it is when one actually opts out of the cycle that true death that is freedom is able to come in.
Like you I like all the other films as well although Pi is a bit odd.
Have you seen Tree of Life yet?

Johnny Mendoza said...

life of pi may seem a little odd, but i think you missed the meaning of the movie and in order to get to the meaning you need to be able to answer its main question. witch story do you believe is true? the story that pi tells the Canadian man or the one he told to the two Japanese men in the hospital.
assuming you watched the whole movie you'll see that Pi's original story was beautiful and filled with color, and yet on the other hand what he told the Japanese men was dark and disturbing. i'm sure you noticed that pi picked up a few religions during his journey, and the reason the movie does this is because they want to make a connection to the question that your left with.

different religions can be beautiful and they seem like crazy fantasy and propose abstract and seemingly impossible ideas, but what we experience in daily life can be full of sorrow and loss. that is what some would call our reality.

ultimately, it boils down to whichever story you believe in. and that's why life of pi is a beautiful movie.

Duncan Strathie said...

Did you mean to leave this here under the review of Life of Pi?

I did so get the film but didn't want to spoil it for those who hadn't seen it - I try not to give too much of the plot away. Reviewing is not always easy.

Pi's syncretistic approach (which i don't buy into) is poetically masterful and much more palatable than the story he told the Japanese man. I'm more interested from a psychological viewpoint rather than a religions one - was this Pi simply making it more palatable for others or for himself?

Thanks for commenting

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