The Fountain

Actors: Hugh Jackman, Rachel Weisz, Ellen Burstyn
Format: Anamorphic, PAL
Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe.)
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Number of discs: 1
DVD Release Date: 28 May 2007

DVD Features:

  • Main Language: English
  • Available Audio Tracks: Dolby Digital 5.1



Director Darren (pi, Requiem for a Dream) Aronofsky's psychedelic love story bombed big time at the U.S. box office last year.

It is easy to see why: the movie is just too downright weird for mainstream tastes.

Yet The Fountain is probably one of the best films of 2006 - even though ours is a minority opinion.

A "difficult" science fiction/love story about a husband (Hugh Jackman) trying to find a cure for cancer in time to save his ailing wife, it is one of those either you get it or you don't affairs. However, the fact remains that you probably haven't seen anything quite like it yet.

THE DISC: Some directors like Woody Allen and Stanley Kubrick absolutely refuse that DVDs of their movies contain any extras like audio commentaries and making of featurettes believing that an artwork must stand on its own to be truly appreciated for what it truly is. The viewer must approach the movie in question without any star or director imposing his or her opinion upon the viewer, and bless their souls. No matter how much we here at love all those geeky extras on DVDs nowadays we think that they're probably right.

When a movie is so resolutely ambiguous and obscure as The Fountain do we really need the director or stars to take the viewers' hands and guide them through the movie and point out exactly what it is about? One final interview with Hugh Jackman (who probably gives the best performance of his entire career here) found on this disc does exactly that and it is probably best that one should skip this interview to be honest.

The rest of the making of featurettes found on the disc are however as willfully obscure as the movie itself. We are afforded some glimpses of the film in production. But there is no voice-over narration to explain what we are watching.

The film's troubled production history is only hinted at.

The Fountain was all set to be filmed as a huge $100 million plus epic starring Brad Pitt when Pitt pulled out citing that showbiz stock phrase of "creative differences" with director Aronofsky. With no megastar to warrant this sort of spending on what is undoubtedly an uncommercial project, Aronofsky found himself in the unenviable position of having to fly down to Australia where some sets have already been constructed to fire 200 crew members. (Actually it wasn't required of him to go in person, but the director apparently insisted on doing so himself.)

Back in the States Aronofsky was dejected but one evening decided to rewrite the film and approach it as the sort of low budget Indie film that he is used to making. With a new script in hand, the budget slashed in half and a new star in tow The Fountain began filming again, this time in Canada.

The making of featurette only hints at these events (the name Brad Pitt is not uttered once) and the rest of the featurettes go the same route. But this is a good thing: do we really need to know what exactly 2001: A Space Odyssey is all about? The same goes for The Fountain . . .

WORTH IT? Singular in its vision and simply beautiful to behold, The Fountain is one of those movies that will grow in stature as the years progress. One day people will go "why the heck did we give the best movie Oscar to The Departed instead of The Fountain back then?" pretty much the same way they go how could they have selected Oliver! as best movie of 1968 instead of 2001!"

RECOMMENDATION: The Fountain holds up well to repeat viewing and therefore makes for an excellent DVD purchase. Strangely enough with each viewing I found the pace to be less lethargic than on my initial viewing. Still, considering the film's divisive nature (one bulletin board poster likened it to Marmite, a British sandwich spread which you either love or hate) it might be a good idea to rent The Fountain first before deciding on a purchase.



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