|Image from: http://www.entertainment.time.com|
I don’t think I need to go into too much detail concerning the plot of Noah but for all those unfamiliar with this well-known Bible story; Noah, descendant of Seth, is called upon by God to build an ark which will carry and protect two of each animal as the world is cleansed of mankind with an apocalyptic flood.
With rumours of a nervous studio re-cutting the film to make it more Christian friendly, cancelled and then re-scheduled, meetings with the Pope, and general outcry from religious groups, there’s been a lot of controversy surrounding Noah.
I can certainly see why as Noah isn’t a straight up adaptation of the biblical story but a re-imagining of it, with director Darren Aronofsky calling it “the least biblical biblical film ever made”.
Personally I have no problem with this, and think the Bible lends itself completely to different interpretations which should be explored in different mediums. Whilst I think it will divide audiences, I found Noah to be one of the most fascinating and compelling films I’ve seen in a while.
The marketing for this as some kind of Roland Emmerich disaster movie hasn’t done it any favours; of course there are the big special effects moments and action-y bits that you’ve seen in the trailers, but there’s a lot more to Noah than that.
If we are to judge film as an art-form, then this is a masterpiece of sheer beauty, and Aronofsky along with his cinematographer Matthew Libatique have made a stunning piece of work. It reeks with style and a visual flair that not only cements Aronofsky as one of the most interesting film makers working today, but it makes the viewing experience a lot more worthwhile.
Stars glisten in the daylight, angels become encased in rock as they fall to earth, and the re-telling of Genesis are some examples of the more interesting visuals that are offered.
Forgetting the look of the film, it manages to hold its own in its quieter moments too, with an excellent character study in regards to Noah, who as the film progresses almost descends into madness, and makes us consider whether he is doing God’s bidding or his own.
This gives Russell Crowe plenty to do and he gives a storming performance (forgive the pun) which has nuance, intensity, and basically holds the film together despite his considerably weak supporting cast.
Ray Winstone for example is completely mis-cast, and his cockney accent immediately took me out of the film. Emma Watson hits the same one-note performance she gave as Hermione.
The only person who comes close to Crowe is Sir Anthony Hopkins who adds an almost Shakesperean quality to proceedings.
Noah isn’t a film without fault, and its weak supporting cast and long run time does hinder it to a degree. However for all of its controversy and poor marketing, I found it to be considerably better than I expected.
It’s a bold and inventive piece of film-making with an excellent leading performance from Russell Crowe. With the superhero and sequel-filled summer movie season upon us, Noah is an excellent change of pace, which at the very least should interest you and cause debate.