Friday, March 28, 2014


A deep tale of humanity, bolstered by the mind of a truly visionary director. Made for people who enjoy profound thought-provoking experiences in their blockbusters.

Rated PG-13 for violence, disturbing images and brief suggestive content.


Darren Aronofsky’s Noah is a wondrous melding of stunning visuals and intricate humanism. His interpretation of the Biblical tale of Noah is something that people the world over are going to struggle with, even though it makes absolutely no claims of truth. The story of Noah and his family is simply used as a skeleton. The meat is layered on by a masterful storyteller.

Noah is one of the most audacious films I’ve seen in a long time. An ambitious undertaking of big-budget visuals, but with a decidedly art-house feel. A strange film that has more in common with Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones than it does with the known Bible. It’s a story of an old world, full of magic and wickedness. A time where The Creator spoke to men on the Earth, but has, for whatever reason, grown silent. It’s a story about the human struggle to understand that which they can’t fathom. A story of family, bravery and faith.

Aronofsky is a brilliant director, using computer-generated images as a means to tell the story, not just as an end. The vision of Noah is both grandiose and understated. He uses CGI judiciously. Always blending it with more traditional filming methods. There are some beautiful time-lapse sequences that are astounding to watch. It’s in these moments that you realize Aronofsky has released a big-budget blockbuster with a heartbeat that resembles Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life. The entire film is the result of Aronofsky’s intriguing vision. It’s a wholly engrossing experience.

Russell Crowe plays a great tortured loner with a mission, and that’s what he does here with Noah. A stoic man of faith, but someone who’s also racked with the torment of how wicked the Earth has become. He doesn’t see himself as a prophet per se. Instead he sees himself as a man who will unquestioningly carry out The Creator’s work to the bitter end.

Naameh (Jennifer Connelly) is his wife who stands by him, even when their tasks seem impossible to bear. Shem (Douglas Booth) is the eldest son, always ready to help his father with whatever needs to be done. Ham (Logan Lerman) is the middle son, who feels as if he has nothing. He resents his father’s vision. Ila (Emma Watson) is an orphan girl the family picks up along their journey. Her town was destroyed by marauders. She becomes Shem’s wife.

Noah isn’t without his enemies, though. Not counting his family, Noah’s enemies include the entirety of humanity, and specifically, a wicked, rotting bunch led by Tubal-cain (Ray Winstone), a descendent of Cain. Tubal-cain is a wonderfully complex villain, something which is sorely lacking in many movies nowadays.

I don’t want to give too much away about certain things that take place. I truly believe that Noah is a movie that you should go into with as little knowledge about it as possible. The basic story of Noah is there. The Creator asks him to build an ark, so he does. The rest of the story is completely open to various interpretations. Aronofsky’s vision is an intimate spectacle, a beautiful meshing of big-budget constructs and art-house ideals. It’s brave and unapologetic; a film of great ambition and excitement.

Yes, Noah is sure to catch endless ire from those who think it’s somehow perverting the Biblical account. That’s their prerogative. Though this story doesn’t purport to be the truth. Instead it’s one man’s vision, an artistic impression of a beloved story. And, oh what a grand vision it is.

4 1/2 out of 5

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