Old MCN Blogs
David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Three Coins in 'The Fountain': Venice Crowd Can't Make Heads or Tails of Aronofsky's Latest

A while back, when sources indicated to me that The Fountain was a front-runner for selection to this year’s New York Film Festival, they made it clear that their news was second-hand–they had not actually seen the film. Judging by the reaction to Darren Aronofsky’s latest thus far from Venice, I wonder if perhaps I should have taken that more seriously:

Rachel Weisz’s latest film was booed when it received its premiere at the Venice film festival [Monday].

The Fountain was jeered and derided during last night’s screening. One reviewer later called it a “flatulent dissertation on the benefits of dying.”

In one of the season’s storied festival traditions, Venice critics hand The Fountain director Darren Aronofsky to their colleagues from Toronto (Photo: Warner Bros.)

That could sound worse. Maybe. For Variety critic Leslie Felperin’s money, the “hippy trippy space odyssey-meets-contempo-weepy-meets-conquistador caper” is dull, repetitious and flatulent:

It’s hard to muster much engagement with characters who are so sketchily drawn. Izzi, for instance, is little more than a beatifically smiling presence. Weisz admittedly looks cute and pixie-like with a short-cropped hairdo, but Aronofsky hasn’t given his now real-life partner much of a role. Charismatic [Hugh] Jackman (and his chiseled cheekbones) does his best to carry the film through its many lulls, but it feels like a lot of time is spent watching him cry or trashing offices in frustration.

No doubt the filmmakers’ intention was to celebrate a love that transcends centuries, hence repeated use of lines, scenes and motifs. In the end, however, the effect is just monotonous, especially given overuse of Clint Mansell’s mournful orchestral score, slathered over scenes as if in hopes it will paper over the plot’s cracks.

There is plenty more where that came from, and surely plenty more on the way. Meanwhile, in a heartfelt defense over at CHUD, Devin Faraci just doesn’t get the outrage at all: “Who were the morons in attendance who booed this amazing work?” Good question, Devin, but I am sure you’ll meet them soon enough; The Fountain will be in Toronto next week for its North American premiere.

One Response to “Three Coins in 'The Fountain': Venice Crowd Can't Make Heads or Tails of Aronofsky's Latest”

  1. The Reeler says:

    Aronofsky Goes on the Fountain Offensive in SoHo

    A few hundred people — many waiting well over an hour — packed the SoHo…

Quote Unquotesee all »

“The thought is interrupted by an odd interlude. We are speaking in the side room of Casita, a swish and fairly busy Italian bistro in Aoyama – a district of Tokyo usually so replete with celebrities that they spark minimal fuss. Kojima’s fame, however, exceeds normal limits and adoring staff have worked out who their guest is. He stops mid-sentence and points up towards the speakers, delighted. The soft jazz that had been playing discreetly across the restaurant’s dark, hardwood interior has suddenly been replaced with the theme music from some of Kojima’s hit games. Harry Gregson-Williams’ music is sublime in its context but ‘Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots’ is not, Kojima acknowledges, terribly restauranty. He pauses, adjusting a pair of large, blue-framed glasses of his own design, and returns to the way in which games have not only influenced films, but have also changed the way in which people watch them. “There are stories being told [in cinema] that my generation may find surprising but which the gamer generation doesn’t find weird at all,” he says.
~ Hideo Kojima

“They’re still talking about the ‘cathedral of cinema,’ the ‘communal experience,’ blah blah. The experiences I’ve had recently in the theatre have not been good. There’s commercials, noise, cellphones. I was watching Colette at the Varsity, and halfway through red flashes came up at the bottom of the frame. A woman came out and said, ‘We’re going to have to reboot, so take fifteen minutes and come back.’ Then they rebooted it from the beginning, and she had to ask the audience to tell her how far to go. You tell me, is that a great experience? I generally don’t watch movies in a cinema at all. Netflix is the future. It’s the present. But the whole paradigm of a series, binge-watching, it’s quite different. My first reaction is that it’s more novelistic, because if you have an eight-hour season, you can get into complex, intricate things. You can let it breathe and the audience expectations are such that they will let you, where before they wouldn’t have the patience. I think only the surface has been touched with experimenting with that.”
~ David Cronenberg