I was on the fence about seeing NOAH to begin with because I’m not particularly religious and I’ve always found the premise of the story rather unlikely. But given that its Directed by Darren Aronofsky who even when he stumbles, never fails to be interesting and/or entertaining, I figured I give it a chance.
NOAH ultimately is a mixed bag. I found it engaging, though unnecessarily bogged down by a message that was (forgive me) watered down and confusing at times.
I trust that you are all familiar with the biblical story of Noah: The Creator is upset with mankind for they have destroyed his world, so he decides to wipe the slate clean with a giant worldwide flood. He tasks Noah with building an ark to preserve all the animal life while the future of mankind itself hangs in the balance.
Portrayed by Russell Crowe, Noah is a righteous man but not above killing to protect his family and also his faith, which at times are at odds with one another. Crowe gives a great if slightly unhinged performance, which works well with the “cult leader” portrayal of the character. Equally great is Jennifer Connelly as his put upon wife Naameh. To call her performance intense is an understatement. There’s a scene later in the film where she finally confronts Noah on his faith in humanity and God that is one of the most emotionally raw scenes I’ve seen in years and almost worth the price of admission.
I should probably mention the Rock Monsters.
“Rock Monsters?” you say. This was a little bizarre but to be honest, I loved this gonzo aspect to the movie because it almost made NOAH feel like a science fiction or fantasy film instead of a biblical epic. I know that’s a weird comment but when the movie settles in at the beginning you could imagine the world they inhabit as a post apocalyptic land on another planet. NOAH could seriously be a prequel to WATERWORLD!
Okay, back to reality. My only real complaint is the extent that Noah goes to prove his faith begins to strain credibility at times. Given that there’s an ability to read many things in the signs from The Creator, he seems convinced to know definitive answers. This makes him highly unlikeable to the point where he becomes the villain of the piece when there is already a villain to contend with. I don’t mind the shades of grey but such a drastic shift in point of view muddles the story.
I will give NOAH credit for some clever story solutions in regards to the animals and even slipping in a workable creationism vs. evolution explanation that should be acceptable to both sides of the debate.
All in all, I liked the film much more than I expected. It’s a handsome looking film and Aronofsky gives it a visual flair that I wasn’t expecting. Regardless of your faith (or lack of it), the movie has its merits and is worth seeing on the big screen.