“You’re reckless, and you’re losing perspective,” bellows Dr. Lillian Guzetti (Ellen Burstyn) to obstinate Tommy Creo (Hugh Jackman), a medical researcher hell-bent on discovering a way to eradicate the brain tumor that is killing Izzi (Rachel Weisz, making death look glamorous), his beloved wife. The same might be said of writer/director Darren Aronofsky (Pi, Requiem for a Dream), who took a big risk in proceeding with this project after original leads Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett left the film. The budget was more than halved, but like this story’s Tree of Life, a mythical key to the fountain of youth with possible ties to the Garden of Eden and Genesis itself, the roots of Aronofsky’s ambition reached deep enough that his dogged determination could not be snuffed. Jackman strains to sell a role that spans a millennium, from conquistador to new-age spaceman, but he evokes no less than David Carradine’s Caine from Kung Fu, meditating his way through a metaphysical muddle.
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