“Noah” is the latest from one of my all-time filmmakers, Darren Aronofsky (“Black Swan”, “The Fountain”, “The Wrestler”).
It stars Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Hopkins and Emma Watson. The premise is of course the classic biblical tale of Noah (Crowe) one of the last “good men of clean heart” type guys left on Earth, as Tubal-Cain (Winstone) has left mankind in a condition of aberration and chaos. Noah receives a message from The Creator that soon Earth and its inhabitants will be wiped out through a massive flood. He immediately uproots his family and migrates toward the mountain of residence of his grandfather, Methuselah. There he seeks advice and further clarification of his message and finds that he must build an arc to save all animals of earth from the upcoming flood that will ultimately end all life.
With the help of the big man upstairs, he plants a seed that spawns an entire forest from which he can build his arc. Along the way fallen angels assist in the construction of the arc and Noah finds much needed moral support from his wife, Naameh (Connelly), who most certainly could have bounced at the first sign of crazy, but stuck by him regardless.
Most everyone knows the story, so I’ll leave the rest of the story for the film to tell. Now, here’s the deal: I am not a religious person, nor do I claim to be or try to be. I went into this flick knowing the basics. I feel like so often films are criticized so heavily due to lack of accuracy or alignment with source (the Bible in this case) and it drives some people nuts. Me, not so much. I went to this expecting a movie from Hollywood and that’s exactly what I got.
Russell Crowe played Russell Crowe like he does in every other movie, but I love it and he entertains the heck out of me when he does it. I felt like the way Aronofsky built the landscape of the film was perfect, a good balance of what seems to be non-fiction balanced well with fantasy. It had good movement from the build of the characters and plot to delivery of action and the inevitable flood. I thought the special effects were tiptop, minus the animals. Darren certainly earned brownie points with PETA for not using real animals, but it’s obvious. The CGI at times was a bit disappointing.
The climax of the movie was intense and had me nervous for everyone involved. I’ve read a lot of critical reviews of this piece specifically of how Noah is portrayed. I guess I just don’t get it because if God told me that he was going to destroy the world and I had to build a boat, sail in it with my wife, kids, and all the animals of the world, I would be a little more than upset. It’s like an overly epic road trip across the country for 40 days with no escape. That’s rough no matter how good you got it at home.
The only gripes I had with the picture are as follows. Typically, Jennifer Connelly can do me no wrong, however at times she really forced her character and her lines, which I am going to blame on the script. But, admittedly she did over-act for bits and pieces. The score was also very minimal, especially for Clint Mansell who just happens to be amazing and he really didn’t give this one his all.
Overall, I can understand some criticism, but personally, I had fun, a lot of fun and thoroughly enjoyed the story telling and cinematography. If you’re expecting “Passion of the Christ”, you won’t find it here. If you’re looking for a Hollywood blockbuster with Russell Crowe kickin’ butt during the bible times, look no further.
South Lake Tahoe resident Jeremy Miller has more movie reviews online.