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I have been a fan of Darren Aronofsky ever since I saw his strange exploration of obsessive numerology in the cult sleeper 'Pi'. I also enjoyed his ode to addiction, 'Requiem for a Dream', which was no less alluring and disturbing, and put the scope of what you can get away with in drug-influenced movies way over the top. And now there is 'The Fountain' (now available on DVD) a visually stunning movie that jumps back in forth between the Spanish conquest of the new world, modern day bio-chem research, and what can only be described as a floating bubble in space near the end of time. At the center of this disjointed epic is the fabled "Tree of Life", also known as the fountain of youth, that mythological gateway to immortality.
Although 'The Fountain' is a little slow and in some parts downright boring (do we really need to see the same segments shown over and over? Do we really care about the timeless romance between Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weiss? No.), the imagery that comes out of this film is some of the most psychedelic I have seen in a long time. But it is not psychedelic in the way that 'Renegade' or 'Fear and Loathing' is, with scenes of gratuitous trippiness layered on freak-outs and hallucinatory glee. Instead, 'The Fountain' is psychedelic in the sense that it captures the essence of that most personal of psychedelic trips: The Spirit Journey through time and space.
Although I cannot claim to fully understand what is going on in the movie, it revolves around the tree of life, a distant dying star, Mayan mythology, and a complex macro-molecule that cures the 'disease of death'. Hugh Jackman's character is bound through time to this 'fountain' of eternal life in various forms, and his trippiest incarnation is as an eternal Bodhisattva traveling with the Tree of Life in that timeless space bubble I mentioned earlier. Although the clip below (mixed to Sigor Ros) gives away the ending of the movie, since the movie doesn't make a whole lot of sense to begin with it shouldn't matter too much. Enjoy the trippy visuals, they are one of a kind.