Darren Aronofsky's Noah Starring Russell Crowe

“Noah” Movie Review

In Darren Aronofsky’s biblical epic, “Noah” a man is chosen by God to save himself, his family, and all animal species before an apocalyptic flood destroys the earth. Noah is portrayed by Academy Award winning actor Russell Crowe and co-stars Jennifer Connelly as his wife, Emma Watson as Ila, a strayed girl they saved as a child and raise as their own daughter, Logan Lerman as Ham, and Douglas Booth as Shem. Anthony Hopkins also makes some brief appearances as Noah’s grandfather Methuselah and Ray Winstone plays the leader of the warring tribe, Tubal-cain.

The film starts with some text that explains where we are in time and how we got there before the action actually starts so that those not familiar with the bible or aren’t familiar with the Noah story can get caught up. So if you feel like all of those people that were mentioned earlier are overwhelming, don’t worry because you will get caught up and ready to start the story after the first few frames.

I went into the story not knowing too much as I don’t consider myself a religious person and am certainly not a religious scholar. Therefore, I couldn’t tell you if what was portrayed on screen was more Christian Noah or Jewish Noah or a Noah that was made for entertainment purposes. I assume all of those are combined to make this nearly 150 minute epic. There are rocks that come alive and help the family hike across the vastness of land that we see, there is a tribe that is bent on killing everyone in their path, and there is plenty of Old Testament type violence that could shock audiences.

Unfortunately, the film doesn’t feel quite complete or really go anywhere particularly interesting. I’m sure there is a good story somewhere in the editing room, there have been reports that several different cuts of the film were tested for audiences, Aronofsky chose to release one or was forced to release one that feels bland and quite boring at times. It has Hollywood’s finger prints all over it with massive shots of animals making their way to the ark, fight scenes as the flood begins and an ending sequence that leaves the audience wondering how good a person Noah actually is. That last part, by the way, is actually an interesting path that the film should have gone down more than it does. We get glimpses that Noah is just a man on a mission and will do whatever it takes to get his job done. It could have been left open ended and leave people with that question still floating around, however the film goes the safe route and tells us why he makes the choice he did in the end.

One thing that sets this film apart from other Noah stories is that this one really seems to harp on the idea of family and who these characters are. It doesn’t show too much of the flood and the ark, nor does it focus on getting animals onto the massive ship. Instead, the characters are fleshed out a bit more and the film wants to make us feel that what they are going through is difficult in different ways for each person.

Technically, “Noah” is terrifically shot and well performed, which is no surprise in a Darren Aronofsky film. Everything from the score, to the sound of the ark creaking and crashing upon the waves makes the sound of the movie intense. There are some beautiful images that blur the line between real and CGI, which is no small feat. The performances are all good enough. Crowe and Watson are the standouts and poor Jennifer Connelly chews up scenery with very little dialogue.

“Noah” feels like an incomplete film, there are nuggets of interesting ideas here and there with little follow up. I feel like there was much left on the cutting room floor and that an interesting film that explores this story as if it was an original idea as opposed to a religious tale is hidden somewhere. I would’ve liked to have seen that movie instead of the one released in theaters. However, to be fair, the film that was released does it’s job in the end. It has an epic feel and is a well made film but has a limited story to tell.

 

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