One love story is told across three wildly different time periods as Tom (Hugh Jackman) tries to cure his wife Izzy (Rachel Weisz) of her life threatening disease. Told in the modern day, Elizabethan era and a space-set future time, the film is beautifully shot and lit, effects created using different liquids dispersing into one another to create timeless yet phenomenal scenes. The story strands flow into one another, as the modern day surgeon struggles for a cure, a historic conquistador seeks to discover the fountain of youth and the slap-headed space traveller floats inside a giant bubble talking to – and occasionally eating – a tree. If this all sounds a little too much for you, you’re not alone, as this is a polarising film that many dismissed for being just too odd. The modern day segments are the easiest to follow, with a straightforward narrative, relatable characters and situations requiring minimal explanation. Director Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, The Wrestler) alas does not have much of an eye for combat, with some of the past tense skirmishes coming across muddled and confusing, but otherwise this is a creative and visually stunning depiction of an otherwise done to death story.
In the not too distant future, the Sun is dying and a team of American and Japanese scientists and astronauts are dragging a bomb with a mass equivalent to Manhattan Island through space in an attempt to reignite it. The crew aboard the Icarus II, comprising of a “Hey, it’s that guy” cast including Cillian Murphy, Chris Evans, Rose Byrne, Michelle Yeoh and Mark Strong, predictably encounter setbacks on their mission to save the Earth, but everything is handles with a keen eye and a steady hand by director Danny Boyle, for the first two thirds at least, as tempers fray, fists sly and lives are lost for the sake of the mission. Alas, the final reel, when the film switches from interesting, character driven sci-fi to frenetic horror slasher, is where the charm is lost. If only Boyle and screenwriter Alex Garland had paid more attention to a fitting finale than to designing space suits that are trying far too hard to be iconic.