A beautiful mess of a movie, mixing time travel, conquistadors and metaphysics to look at the nature of life, love and death. Heady stuff, it’s a tale told in three time periods – 1500, 2000, and 2500 A.D. Aronofsy’s ambition is to tie the past and future together with a tale of medical ambition that tries to cheat death, relating it to the search for the fountain of youth by the Spanish fleet and a trippy, bald dude astro-boy from the future who sucks on tree bark for sustenance.
The visuals (shot as microphotography of organic and chemical substances rather than CGI) make for a visually compelling trip, but it all tends to play as a little to bleak, a little to trite. The audience was certainly mixed, and it’s unclear to see how this will capture the zeitgeist like his equally ambitious Requiem. This is the type of American art film that a lot of people hate, distributed by Warner’s as a major studio release. For that alone it’s worth checking out, and it will no doubt find itself aging quite well, appreciated long after its (inevitably short) theatrical run.