If anything can be said about Darren Aronofsky it’s that he chooses the projects he wants and anyone be damned that doesn’t agree with his choices. From the drug induced Requiem for a Dream to the highly dark, twisted and surprisingly entertaining Black Swan, Aronofsky doesn’t really make a quiet movie; that being a film that just hits theaters and goes away without incident or even a little controversy. With Noah this, shall we call it tradition, continues due to the inaccuracies when compared to the Bible. Before this even premiered its first trailer, anyone that heard of its existence already started to judge it and in some cases chastise it for what they “knew” was going to happen. And yes, those who believed it would be inaccurate (when compared to the Bible) were correct, but Aronofsky made no secret of the fact that this was his interpretation. Liberties were taken and story elements were added or taken away in order to create a fantastical but entertaining film. It doesn’t harm or take away from the original, as some would say, “true” story that originated in the Bible. If you can accept that this is merely a film to entertain and maybe even act as a commentary on the behavior of society as a whole, I would recommend giving Noah a watch. Please accept that I will review this film from a movie standpoint, not a religious one, and will not be comparing it to the Bible version; I will judge it on its merits as a film, nothing more.
Having said all that, I thoroughly enjoyed this new Aronofsky adventure as yet another jaunt down controversy lane. The visuals are beautiful and grandiose, as one might expect from such a massive story like the end of nearly all life on planet Earth might be. The acting, specifically Russell Crowe as the titular lead, is wonderful and engaging. Many have stated that about the first thirty minutes or so don’t seem to have a grasp on what direction the film was going to take. I can agree with this but once Noah realizes his purpose the story really starts to take off. The film also features wonderful performances from the supporting cast: Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Emma Watson and Logan Lerman. The story, while familiar, still manages to be exciting and even a bit thought provoking as it runs its course.
Noah has heard the word of The Creator who has warned of an impending catastrophic event that will rid the world of all evil and allow for the pure to begin anew. Despite surrounding doubt, and obstacle after obstacle, Noah perseveres with family and friends to construct an ark that will save beasts of all kind, whether it is a snake or an elephant or a wolf, they have a place to shelter from the Earth altering storm. As the last in his family line, Noah must combat the evil that ensnarls Tubal-Cain (Winstone) who is a descendant of Cain. In a way of almost honoring Cain who committed the first murder ever, Tubal-Cain lays waste to any defiant or disloyal people as he considers himself The King. When it becomes evident that Noah is correct, a battle ensues for the only safe haven left on the planet, the ark.
One of my favorite aspects to this version of the story is the arch that the Noah character goes through. In the beginning he is simply a believer and by the end, he takes on a sort of villainous role as he adheres in the most strict sense to The Creator’s word. Even if that means killing those closest to him; if it is His command, Noah will abide by it. Another interesting facet has to do with this decision of obeying The Creator and whether Noah understands exactly what it is he’s supposed to do. Is there a direct set of things he must do or has the decision been given to Noah to decide? As he faces his loved ones and he sees their expressions of horror as they look in his eyes, is his will strong enough and will he decide what is right or follow without question? It is a fascinating and thoughtful angle to this story and it made this into something more.
Noah is another highly engaging adventure/drama from Aronofsky that only proves he still knows how to press all the right buttons, even if that means angering a lot of people. Bravery in Hollywood is something I highly respect and look for mainly due to its rarity. Playing it safe is boring, bring on the controversy! Bring on the brave!
Rated PG-13 For: violence, disturbing images and brief suggestive content
Run Time: 138 minutes
After Credits Scene: None
Starring: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, Anthony Hopkins
Directed By: Darren Aronofsky
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 4/ Acting: 4/ Directing: 4/ Visuals: 4.5
OVERALL: 4 Nerdskulls
Check out the trailer below:
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