Darren Aronofsky brings us the familiar story of Noah Ark, but brings a new perspective of the biblical tale. Noah (Russell Crowe) is the decedent of Seth and devoted to the Creator. He remains environmentally friendly and strays from the savage ways of most humans. Through surreal visions during his sleep, Noah informs his wife Naameh (Jennifer Connelly) that the creator is going to wipe the earth clean by flooding the earth, but wants to protect the innocent which are the animals. Noah figures out the best way to accomplish the Creators wishes, is to build a giant Ark that can hold both genders of every animal, and within stand the flood. However this doesn’t bode well for the descendant of Cain, Tubal-Cain (Ray Winston), who wants a place on this Ark. Tubal-Cain questions the creators actions, but doesn’t receive an answer. Confusion and anger fuel his arrogance and he decides to fight his way onto the Ark. Thus pushing Noah’s devotion to its limits, causing his interpretation to conflict with the Creators message and ultimately placing his family in danger.
I may be one of the few to have really enjoyed this film. Aronofsky brings a different spin onto these biblical epics. Implementing numerous surreal imagery through dreams and solid special effects, and yes even decent CGI for all the animals. Aronofsky brings us a rather grim look at this tale by including things many would prefer not to think about, i.e hearing the screams of people outside the boat as they cling onto a rocky mountain; while massive waves crash into it. He informs us on things we may have always wondered, i.e How in the world did he keep the animals from eating each other? Which makes sense for the movies sake. He invites us into the mind of Noah; as we watch the man struggle with the burden of the world’s imminent destruction and him succumbing to his obsessions. Noah’s madness protrudes from his inner-self, even his physical appearence becomes a mess which is clearly shown by his hair. I’ve noticed that the third act is not favored by many but I thought it was a great addition and sort of a plot twist in relations to Ila (Emma Watson) which I won’t spoil for anyone. An aspect about this film which makes it enjoyable is that the flood is not the final climax but occurs halfway through the film. This is where the story reaches those darker tones and becomes evident that Aronofsky is behind the camera.
Forgive me for saying this but I’ve only seen Russell Crowe in 3:10 to Yuma and Man of Steel, so my expectations for him putting in a grand performance was not too high. Initially I thought that Anthony Hopkins should have played Noah. To my surprise, Crowe displayed emotions from tenderness spiraling downwards towards becoming deranged. Through having to be what we would see as cold-hearted; brought even more realism to the picture i.e Noah’s actions towards Na’el. Traditionally in these big budget films they have a certain ideology in tact, and we can already expect the outcome when certain things occur. In this case though, it boldly defies that dominant ideology to maintain the tone of the film and the character of Noah.
Jennifer Connelly gives a great performance alongside Crowe. She deals with emotions quite well which allows you to feel her pain. Emma Watson is solid here, as well as Douglas Booth. I enjoyed Ray Winstone in here, not so much because of his acting but I enjoyed his character’s philosophical and moral questions. Lastly Anthony Hopkins, sadly had nothing to offer, except having the audience want to give this poor man some red berries!
The problem with this film came in the final act. I should have realized that the the water would eventually settle and they would have to return to the land, however I felt it dragged on for a little too long. Unfortunately a lot of the messages of their return to the new Earth just came off as provided laughter. I don’t believe that was intended considering my friend and I were the only ones laughing at Noah’s initial ways of handling his new life. I’m sure this film comes as a problem for Creationist, perhaps they saw this movie as insulting. For me, I was not insulted or offended, but appreciative for seeing a different outlook on a well known source material and the entertainment that came along with it.
Darren Aronofsky’s Noah delivers through it’s great character study of Noah, explosive score, and a few stunning visuals. If the film’s script could have been revised a bit towards the end and shortened in length, the film could have been masterful. Surely it will anger some, and put others off, but no doubt Noah has the ability to entertain and offer a new insight to our perspective on the story of Noah.
My Rating: ★★★ ½/ ★★★★★
Dir. Darren Aronofsky
IMDb 6.5/10 – Rotten Tomatoes 77%
“My father said that one day, if man continued in his ways, the Creator would annihilate this world.”
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