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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Perpetually blissful pandemonium

The golden globe nominations are here. There seems to be a hush-hush about the whole episode, totally contradictory to last year’s scenario when the whole film fraternity seemed to be up in arms against Avatar, the big budget extravaganza by James Cameron as every critic in town backed the lesser known Hurt locker. This year, Christopher Nolan’s Inception seems to be the big favourite though a section may tip Social Network for its effervescent theme and solid storyline laced with taut screenplay. Black Swan though, seems to be the dark horse this time around. Darren Aronofsky’s consistency in delivering movies of the highest grade is well known and though I haven’t seen the movie, my instinct says this may be the one movie that may spell doom for the popular Inception. My instinct though is not irrational. My inherent voice received a vote of confidence after I saw “The fountain” today.
Well if you’re one of the many people who were totally awestruck at the circuitous thought processes behind the making of Inception, one of the many who thought this level of thinking has not been and cannot be paralleled, then its time for you to think again. No one recommended the movie “The fountain” for me and I stumbled upon it just like I stumbled upon the director’s “Requiem for a dream” which explains the barbarous potential of drugs to inject seeds of total devastation in a person’s life.
“The fountain” is a classic that spreads its humongous wings encapsulating a timeline stretching over centuries on either sides of the present. In the process, we are introduced to three parallel stories that occasionally run into one another. The tortuous nature of the screenplay is further intensified as the director locks horns with topics of obscurity and controversy viz. death, rebirth etc… The movie is a dedication to every passionate viewer in the sense that, at no point does the director take the intelligence of the viewer for granted. The director expects us to devote ourselves to the movie completely. He expects you to treat the movie seriously at every point of time and a laidback attitude for the shortest interval of time can result in total incomprehensibility.
The plot: Tommy Creo is a totally committed scientist madly in love with his ailing wife. Tommy supposedly makes a breakthrough in his research which may unlock doors to the realms of immortality. Meanwhile, his wife contracts a terminal illness, a tumor and Tommy believes his breakthrough may help him snatch his wife’s life from the jaws of death. But fate has other plans and Tommy is unable to apply his discovery on his wife; his wife goes too far away to be brought back. The preceding scenes tell us about the book Tommy’s wife had been writing and her premonitions and her total intrepidity regarding the same. A visibly worried Tommy (Hugh Jackman) is also instructed to finish the final chapter of the book following her death.
The book is about the escapades of a conquistador in search of the legendary tree of life. The same is shown onscreen with Hugh Jackman playing the heavily bearded conquistador in love with the queen of Spain (Rachel weisz) and in pursuit of restoring Spain in the rightful hands of the queen by gaining access to the tree of life; and thus granting access to the dominions of eternity to the nation. The third story is that of a bald man (Hugh Jackman again!) on a space trip inside a bubble with an unlikely old tree for a companion. He is shown to be conversing with the tree and eating slices of its bark regularly. He is regularly haunted by memories of the queen and Tommy’s wife. The wife haunts him by repeatedly uttering the phrase “finish it!” time and again. The climax is an expeditious culmination of the three storylines complete with explanation of the fates of the three central characters in the movie.
The climax is an explosion: literally and symbolically, thus entrapping us in the ensuing sea of chaos. I firmly believe that the director has left a lot of things in the movie to viewer’s interpretation. The following is my interpretation of the movie: I believe that the characters supposedly occurring in the past and the future are purely fictitious. The fact that the conquistador character can be extrapolated to be the past life of the scientist can be suppressed by one single argument: the whole episode is a depiction of what Tommy reads out from his wife’s manuscript, though there is a remote possibility of Jackman’s wife being in possession of extra-sensory powers wherein she can gain access to people’s past lives- the Mayan guide’s father’s episode that she narrates is a supporting case in point! The baldman’s episode seems unreal just because he has hallucinations about both the queen and Tommy’s wife; the supernatural spaceship can’t be assumed to be futuristic, thanks to its structure. So my wild guess is that the baldman episode is the finale of the book, written by Tommy himself. Its styling provides a veracious insight. The narration of the final episode is totally incongruent to the preceding chapters of the book, thus indicating that it’s been written by another person. The final episode seems to be more of an obituary column written by a loving husband, simultaneously fulfilling the last wish of his wife. The final scene where the baldman is liberated from the bubble seems to be a symbolic representation of his realization of the harsh reality of permanent separation from his wife; the bubble seems to be a representation of pseudo-hope of achieving eternal life and the emancipation from the same seems to be the realization that death and rebirth are a part of a bigger and importantly, a more important cycle. The end of the other protagonist, the conquistador, seems to be an explanation of a result of greediness and breach of trust. Thus I conclude that, the past and the future episodes are representations of projections of Tommy’s mind, which are translated as the last chapter of the book.
On a critical note, I would like to add that the aforementioned descriptions are my interpretation of the movie and the director might have intended something else. The director could have also intended each viewer to have his own interpretation of the script. Nevertheless, the movie is not to be missed because of the fact that the soul of the movie is unique and the backup in the form of technical support inclusive of music, editing, cinematography is purely magical. Acting is top notch and this movie, according to me, is a terrible underachiever in terms of magnitude of success and reach. I’m waiting to hear alternate interpretations and insights about the movie!


  1. Machi no use in typing the whole plot! For the hype which you gave, i guess everyone would just skip that part cos *hard-core* inception fans like me, would most certainly want to see a movie which can detonate inception's concept...! But i ve heard about requiem for a dream as well as fountain (hugh jackman's role was actually given to brad pitt initially but he later walked away which caused a HUGE loss(read tat in deccan few years b4)) The wresler, one of his other movie, got nominated in 2009 oscars, but unfortunately, the movie got eclipsed by an undeserving movie called *the slum-dog millionaire*!! now when i wikied his name, i happened to notice that he was the director of the movie *pi*! that movie has jaw-dropping math concepts and numbers which can decode stock values which remain cryptic! ( better than 21 and good-will hunting when it comes to math)!! All i can say is.. a director, with such a potential, is still under the shade! Unfair!!!

  2. Good one..just cut down on the comparisons...Fountain is a very different movie from inception...and Darren Aronofsky is very popular except in our dear India...So no misconceptions of him being under shade..and quality of a movie is not decided by the judges at Kodak theaters

  3. @deeraj:dai i have explained the plot cery briefly. most of it is how i have interpreted the movie. i don know, ppl may come up with different interpretations. watch the movie and find out.
    @andy: it'd be unfair to compare these two movies but then the question of a comparison arises only because these two movies have one thing in common: a complex screenplay! and i haven't questioned his popularity, its the person who has commented above! and ya, he was probably referring to aronofsky's popularity in india. and its a shame that we indians are not exposed to such brilliant film making.

  4. I finished watching 'The Fountain' just now (had it in my collection for a long time...ur recommendation made me watch it...& I am glad I did !)... The movie was leading to nowhere in the first 20 minutes....then the parallel lines bout the tree of life,research on Donovan & the cosmos made it really intriguing... especially the Spanish conquistador's storyline... and finally it was clear that it was all bout how 'Death' was dealt with, correlating all the three POVs....I am yet to sink in about the movie's climax.. Loved the screenplay... Hugh Jackman's performance...& the soundtrack... Hope Darren Aronofsky makes it even bigger with 'Black Swan'