Writers: Darren Aronofsky, Ari Handel
Plot: A man is chosen by his world’s creator to undertake a momentous mission to rescue the innocent before an apocalyptic flood cleanses the wicked from the world.
Cast: Russell Crowe as Noah
Jennifer Connelly as Naameh
Ray Winstone as Tubal-cain
Anthony Hopkins as Methuselah
‘Noah’ is definitely one of the strangest movies that came out this year. Not only is it controversial (the movie is banned in several countries and it spawned countless internet arguments between Christians and atheists), but it also feels like a weird step in the, otherwise very successful, career of Darren Aronofsky. Apparently, Aronofsky, in spite of being an atheist, has had a fascination with the biblical character of Noah since childhood and really wanted to do this movie. Ironically, his dream project turned out to be his weakest movie yet, and overall a very uneven experience.
When Adam and Eve were cast out of Eden, they had three sons – Cain, Abel and Seth. One day Cain slew his brother Abel and fled from his parents and God (who is referred only as The Creator) to some land where he started having children and being the father of people. However, unlike the people who were born in the line of Seth, people who were born in the line of Cain were mostly evil and corrupt. Noah (Russell Crowe) is one of the descendants of Seth and he starts having visions of a great flood that will purify the Earth. He soon realizes he is receiving messaged from the Creator that tell him to construct a giant ark in which he’ll put two of every animal species in the world and sail until the flood withdraws, so he could start the human civilization anew.
‘Noah’s’ story has many aspects to it; aspects that seem quite disconnected from each other and should be analyzed separately. First, there is the biblical aspect of the story, which was done alright – it was nice to see this biblical tale on a big budget, grand scale, accompanied by an A-list cast (of which Jennifer Connelly stands out the most as Noah’s wife Naameh, and, absurdly, Russell Crowe stands out the least as the titular character – throughout the whole movie he had the same facial expression) and a clearly talented director (the movie is absolutely beautiful, with wonderful shots and interesting visuals).
Then there is the ‘realistic’ aspect of the story, which was the most interesting one. The character of Noah is portrayed as a troubled figure, who is disturbed by the choices he has to make. His family is no different – all of the members have their own separate problems they have to deal with. This realistic/dramatic/human aspect somewhat differs from the biblical tale, but was nonetheless the most fascinating thing about the movie. This aspect was pleasantly utilized through the movie’s more or less talented cast – the exceptions were Russell Crowe, whom I mentioned before, and Douglas Booth, who was quite forgettable as Noah’s son Shem.
And the last aspect of ‘Noah’ that should be commented was its ‘fantasy’ aspect, which was horrible and almost destroyed the whole movie. Inputting completely made up elements in the movie, like stone giants (yes, stone giants) and magic stones not only underwhelms the movie’s ‘dramatic’ aspect, but also wrecks its source material. Add to that the ridiculous comic-book style rivalry between Noah and the movie’s villain Tubal-cain (Ray Winstone) and the occasionally clingy CGI, and ‘Noah’ doesn’t rise much above the flood of generic action, big budget movies.