Darren Aronofsky has created an incredibly modern interpretation of the old testament with Noah, does it live up? In short absolutely, with a very compelling story, outstanding visuals and good acting this film is defiantly worth the price of admission. Lets first get this straight; there is no absolute literal way of reading the Bible, everyone interprets it differently, so all of the religious controversy surrounding Noah is just the predictable cinema banter.
The storyline of the film is very unique, although, you can see the influences of modern cinema throughout. This is not a bad thing at all, if Aronofsky hadn’t tweaked the story the way that he had we would be sitting through 2 hours of religious preaching. The start of the film felt like the spark notes version of the Bible, getting the audience up to date with the events that had transpired. Then you meet the main characters of the film in a setting that felt like a scene out of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road; dark, depressing and isolated. The landscapes in this film are breathtaking, CGI or not, they are created so realistically that at times you forget that you are watching a film at all. Russell Crowe leads the cast, with the likes of; Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Hopkins and Emma Watson. Crowe does a sound job, but there wasn’t any time in the film that I found him outstanding. The acting in the movie as a whole was quite disappointing, in my opinion, I would have thought going into a film staring Russell Crowe that there were going to be some amazing emotional scenes, don’t get me wrong there were plenty of good ones, but none of them stand out. Aronofsky portrays the evil in humanity in such a disturbing way that there were times in which I had to look away. This is quite a brilliant thing to pull of in modern cinema, with such violence and crude language a modern film viewer would not shy away from many things, but to make an audience physically turn away from the scene is an artistically beautiful thing to pull off. This is why the film as a whole was so good, as Aronofsky tells his own interpretation of the story, sure there are some elements which don’t fit into the Bible (giant rock monsters I’m looking at you), but the core symbolism is all the same.
The cinematography of this film needs to be commended, as this was by far the best part of the movie. From the silhouetted montage of Cain and Able, to the stop motion journey of the animals to the arc, it is all beautiful and extremely rewarding to watch. The special effects, in particular the main flood, were mind bending, with such realism this film is a sure fire stand out of the year. The structure of the story, being in three clear segments, works for the majority of the time, unfortunately Aronofsky overloads the final act, so much so, that there is just too many things going on that it is incredibly hard to concentrate on one thing and feel an emotional attachment to it. It felt like there were two different story lines that the writers tried to just push them together and force them to blend, but it didn’t work. This did tarnish the film as a whole, mainly because it was the first thing that I was thinking about after I finished watching the film, probably because it was the last thing that was shown. Although in saying this, the different story lines are very well done, but I did find myself thinking; ‘they had been on that boat for over 10 months and they still didn’t realise that’. The majority of the problems that I had with the film were in the last act, which to the film’s credit, is not an incredibly bad thing, with the first two acts done so well, the film itself is still excellent. The middle act forces the audience to be confronted with the true evil source of human nature as Noah visits the local ‘town’, a place where men rule, a place where people are killed without a bat of an eye and a place where women and children are traded for meat. This is incredibly dark and disturbing, but utterly brilliant. The downward angle shot of Noah standing on higher ground, looking down at the carnage below him is nothing short of masterful. This is why I liked this film so much, sure the ending was overloaded, not bad, just too much content stuffed in twenty minutes, but the story as a whole is unique and the visuals are stunning, proving this film to be definitely worth your money.
Noah is an incredibly vivid reimagining of the Old Testament story, it’s beautiful scenery and unique storyline will not leave you empty handed. Aronofsky has put his own modern twist on the old story, revealing the Flood to be a punishment against humanity for the way that they treat the environment, so in this retrospect Aronofsky has not offended any Atheists with this film, but climate-change sceptics way feel some transgression.
I give this film 8/10