Director: Darren Aronofsky
Starring: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Emma Watson, Anthony Hopkins, Logan Lerman
Rated: PG-13 (violence, disturbing images and brief suggestive content)
A man is chosen by his world’s creator to undertake a momentous mission before an apocalyptic flood cleanses the world.
By Matt Greene
Noah mostly succeeds as a film, as an exciting Shakespearean melodramatic adventure tale. It barely touches on the animals and the “Arky-Arky” we all remember from Sunday school, instead focusing on the distinct characters. It follows Noah from birth all the way to days after the flood, with Aronofsky and Crowe nailing the disintegration of a man who has been given more than his fair share of responsibility. This is done with more auteur flair than we normally see a movie this size. The visions and dream sequences are notably gorgeous and even the action scenes have a great feel in coloring and camera work. As well, the sound and score are through the roof great, overloading your senses in this world. Other than some dubious CGI, the scope and majesty of the story is well-represented.
Noah is an epic fantasy adventure, NOT a Biblical reenactment. To be enjoyed, one may need to set aside their Sunday school teachings, because this isn’t the cute story you’ll remember. It touches on the moral complexities inherent in a Creator God choosing to destroy His creation. It doesn’t shy away from the horror of what this would bring. Really, where the controversy surrounding this big budget disaster exists is confounding. Sure there are some fleshing out of details and artistic licenses taken. However, self-sacrifice, unnerving faith, humanities faults, love and mercy conquering all, all of which people in Judeo-Christianity hold dear, are represented in spades. So while it’s far from tight filmmaking, it is consistently unpredictable and much better than the controversy surrounding it.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.
By Cole Schneider
There isn’t a soul reading this review who hasn’t known the story of Noah for as long as they can remember. The story has plenty of dramatic angles to explore, any of which could translate into the core of a good movie, but most fascinating about the film “Noah” is its unpredictability. For a story so ingrained in each of its viewers to be so consistently unpredictable is a truly impressive feat. Unless someone has told you about the film beforehand you will be surprised at some of the story elements–and it doesn’t come across gimmicky or cheap.
The story is a melding of the familiar Genesis flood account from the Bible and an overlapping story from the apocryphal Book of Enoch. The marriage of the two stories forms something singularly unique and interesting. In form, the film seems at odds with itself. Sometimes it’s an expositional melodrama that drags, but sometimes it’s an artful, visual expression of recreation that mere text simply does not create.
This is the essence and purpose of translating literature into film. “Noah” takes the truth and dramatic weight of the famous narrative and reinvigorates it with life that is so often lost in an anecdote heard so many times before. What was once sterile is given new life. Though it has its problems, “Noah” fundamentally achieves that goal.
At its worst “Noah” is an overlong self-serious tale about a family’s struggles that paints by the numbers with ineffective CGI. At its best, “Noah” is an imaginative transportation into another world that evokes truth and embraces questions about justice and morality. Though it never makes up its mind, for me the good clearly outweighed the bad.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.