Directed by Darren Aronofsky
Starring Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Hopkins, Ray Winstone, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman
Review by Jordan, to see Eddie’s take click here
When the director of such vivid, mind-warping treasures as The Fountain and Black Swan, and such powerful adult works as Requiem for a Dream and The Wrestler decides to tackle a chapter in Genesis of a good man Noah and his 3 sons building an Ark to escape an impending flood sent to wipe out man and his wickedness it’s reasonable to expect controversy and a liberal take on the material.
What I didn’t expect was that the invented scenarios would be so cliched and uninspired (except The Watchers, fallen Angels made of boulders), threatening to, nay-basically succeeding in, overshadowing everything the movie does right… which isn’t much.
What Noah presents well is imagery concerning creation and Adam’s downfall; presenting The Garden of Eden, followed by Cain’s murder of Abel and our learned desire to murder each-other in an interesting fashion, some moments quite reminiscent of the opening of Terrence Malick’s sublime Tree of Life; what it struggles with is the characters of Noah and his sons (Connelly is fine as his wife Naameh), whose motivations require a deviation from the scriptures and are so awkward its often hard to watch. Noah (Crowe), when speaking of his sons states at a particularly pivotal moment before the rain pours down that Shem is lustful and Ham is covetous, and that as a family they are no better than the hordes of Cain’s descendants fighting to be aboard the ark, and from this moment on we are subjected to an tale of revenge and betrayal as dark as a lunar eclipse featuring the extinction of 2 species because a stowaway is hungry and potential baby murdering. A braver film-maker would have denied taking the brooding, thematic approach and given us the hope of a rainbow.
This entire second half left me irritated and fidgety, saddened in the knowledge that the ending could in no way redeem all of this bad work; and I was right.
If the plan was always to make this exact picture, then I don’t see why it was even made. As an account it doesn’t work, as a drama it doesn’t work nor does it offer anything to the arthouse, thriller or blockbuster crowds. It is an often stale, always underwhelming example of hype overshadowing quality that will eventually sink into obscurity faster than you can say “Did you bring me any berries?”
Oh, the berries… at least you can’t say there was no comic relief.