Somewhere in the mess of Noah there’s an interesting take on the Biblical tale of the great flood and the man God called upon to save the remnants of the world while the world drowned. Unfortunately Aronofsky tries to skew too much towards the fantasy epic and winds up making a film that somehow manages to be insanely fascinating and remarkably boring in equal parts.
The film follows Noah (Russell Crowe), who’s been tasked by his “Creator” to build an arc. Why? The “Creator,” Aronofsky’s word for “God,” is going to flood the Earth and drown humanity. Humanity has become wicked, as the descendants of Cain have trampled the Earth and abused it. Noah and his family are to be saved, of course, along with two of every animal out there. The film follows Noah in his task, aided by fallen angels cursed into rock form called “The Watchers,” and must deal with the leader of humanity (Ray Winstone) as he tries to save himself and his people from the impending doom.
There’s an interesting tale being built in this film. And it centers on Crowe, Aronofsky and their interpretation of Noah. In most tales Noah is a pious man called upon by God and he’s a good man, the last descendant of Adam & Eve’s third son Seth, who preaches a very environmentally friendly message to his three sons. They live off the land and are vegan types, staying away from a civilization that is destroying the Earth for no good reason, when Noah is given a vision. Humanity will be drowned and he will build an arc to save his family and the animals.
This Noah, though, is much different than what’s been traditionally told as he’s a man who agrees with God. He feels Mankind’s turn is over and that his family’s status as the last humans on Earth is one they carry with a solemn nature. He’s a true believer with a family following him nearly blindly. It’s a bold move to cast Noah as a zealot, of course, and Aronofsky gets a perfectly capable performance out of Crowe. Crowe’s been better in a lot of other projects but he gets a perfectly acceptable performance out of the actor.
This is genre level work, nothing more, and Crowe brings out an interesting aspect to the character and the story. Noah isn’t just a man called upon to do his duty; he’s someone who has seen the darkness that lies in the hearts of men and wants nothing to do with his species anymore. He views the “Creator” destroying the world as a chance for something new to rise in its place; it’s an interesting take and Crowe brings a veteran hand to the role. Noah is weary of his kind and has a zeal to him about his mission that borders on the asinine at times. Noah’s a good man … but there are moments when his quest borders on insanity and Noah the good man becomes Noah the good man who does bad things because he thinks they are for the greater good.
The problem is that this story alone, of Noah the man who could be labeled psychotic, is interesting enough that you really don’t need to make this a pseudoLord of the Rings type film. There are tons of fantasy elements in the film and they’re incredibly boring. We’ve seen them in the past 12 months, and seen them better, and there’s nothing in Noah that’s interesting in that regard. This is fantasy elements for the sake of and they don’t add anything back into the film.
There’s a better tale about Noah in this vein that’s already been made. It was called Evan Almighty and is worth a Netflix viewing before this film.
Director: Darren Aronofsky Writer: Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel based off the Genesis book of the Bible Notable Cast: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, Douglas Booth, Leo McHugh Carroll