Noah – Movie Review
Noah – PG-13
Release Date: Fri 28 Mar 2014
Director Darren Aronofsky is fairly well known for his last film. 2010’s Black Swan. The budget and the ambition for Noah is a staggeringly leap ahead, and it’s to Aronofsky’s credit that the movie feels fully realized and as visionary rather than out of control. The visuals are gorgeous and many of the themes from the story you know are expanded upon and explored in more depth than the biblical account.
Russell Crowe is Noah, a descendant of Seth who lives with his wife (Jennifer Connelly) hidden away from the descendants of Adam’s other son Cain who are marked by the sin of the first murder. They live as foragers and keepers of a relic passed down from Eden. Noah finds out in a dream that The Creator intends to destroy everything to wash away the sinners and start new. Noah’s grandfather Methuselah (Anthony Hopkins) helps him see in a vision how to build the ark and save the rest of creation innocent of the descendants of Cain.
There are bold choices taken by this movie that are unwavering in their depiction. God is not a speaking character – Noah gets his information from dreams and a hallucinogen-induced vision. The Watchers, fallen angels that have been rendered into giant rock monsters try to help Noah as they once tried to help Adam. Ray Winstone plays the king of Cain’s descendants and manages to add enough conflict to keep the movie a little more action-oriented longer than expected.
Whether you like this version of Noah will generally have a lot to do with whether you accept this as treating the source material as a base mythology rather than a literal adaptation. Noah has character flaws and conflict. There are supernatural elements to the movie, yet neither the voice or appearance of God is to be found. The creatures never quite look believable, but they also have an air of being a bit disconnected from “modern” animals as well. It’s as if animals had better art direction back then.
I found the movie much more interesting than I thought a simple big-budget retelling of the Noah story would be. There are sure to be people who won’t like it’s additional material or the inferred message that Noah interpreted dreams rather than spoke directly to The Creator, but this wasn’t a problem for me. It also wasn’t wrong to call this movie Noah – it’s very much that story – with artistic answers to many of the questions brought about by discussing that tale. The fact that I left thinking about how the movie answered those questions vs. how well its animators brought the animals to like is a credit in its favor.
Cal, Nate and I saw it in the theater had a discussion in the car:
Nate also did a written review on his blog.