Title – Noah (2014)
Director – Darren Aronofsky (The Fountain)
Cast – Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson, Douglas Booth, Logan Lerman, Anthony Hopkins
Plot – It’s the biblical story of Noah (Crowe), Aronofsky style! Tasked by the Creator to build an ark that will withstand an impending flood sent to wipe out mankind, Noah and his family will have to deal with rock guardians, crazed tribal leaders, unplanned pregnancies and a grandfather that sure does like his berries.
“My father said that one day, if man continued in his ways, the Creator would annihilate this world”
Disclaimer: obviously this is not taken from anywhere and is completely made up, although for some reason I can’t help but shake the feeling I might not be far off the actual mark.
Joking aside and getting back on track in regards to the task at hand; Darren Aronofsky’s dream project of turning the few chapters long Biblical tale of Noah into a full length feature film has taken narrative license to an all new level, with a much longer seeming 2 hour epic that gives us Noah as we’ve never seen him before, rock monsters included!
Having the dubious honour of containing this year’s first stand out cringe-worthy scene in the form of a berry hunting Anthony Hopkins, Noah is also a film that makes the statement of “It’s not about the journey it’s about the destination” seem tailor made for it, for upon films end there is no denying what you have just witnessed is a film of much wrong doing yet a film of much virtue. In tailoring the simple story of Noah into something much larger, Aronofsky has clearly bitten off more than his talented teeth can chew and ends up with a film that is at times unbelievably lame and in the next moment jaw-droppingly awesome.
Always a keen eye for the beauty in films from his very first film PI, Noah allows Aronofsky’s dreams to run wild on screen with stark barren landscapes, animal infested waters, life springing forth from nothing and perfectly framed shots of Russell Crowe and his ever impressive facial fuzz just some of the highlights that make Noah a big screen must despite its many narrative missteps. All this beauty that Aronofsky captures is complemented by some fine all round performances, in particular from grizzled lead Crowe who delivers what could be his best performance since A Beautiful Mind and Jennifer Connolly who again proves to us that she’s one of the most powerful actresses in the business. Emma Watson is again solid as the new addition to the tale Ila with Logan Lerman, Anthony Hopkins and the misplaced cockney gangster that is Ray Winstone’s Tubal-cain letting the team down in the acting stakes.
With so much going on in this picture it’s hard to pinpoint what exactly makes it the conflicting type of movie that it is. The first 40 minutes of this film offered nothing to me as a viewer and it’s no wonder some may leave before the floods hit (as some kin of my co-blogger Jordan actually did, read his Noah take here) yet as mentioned earlier the end is what makes the journey worth it and the way in which Noah ties up its tale is without a doubt in my mind quietly powerful and relevantly thought provoking.
This is not the Bible Noah, but Aronofsky’s Noah, and only the years to follow will allow us to truly call Noah a success or a failure and the messing with the tale that at its core is relatively simple (seriously how quick was the ark built here and how long was the arks journey?!) works mainly against the film. I sit firmly on the fence with this well shot and acted film but would easily jump to its defence if someone were to try to demean a film that has many flaws yet more to say than countless other films these days and says them in a frequently eye-popping, stunning way.
3 spiked cups of tea out of 5