The Review: Displeased at the way mankind has treated the Earth and itself, the Creator (i.e. God)decides to wipe out humanity by covering the world in a huge flood. However, not wanting to punish the innocent, He tasks Noah (Russell Crowe) with saving the animals by building a gigantic Ark to escape the oncoming deluge. Meanwhile, the evil King Tubal-Cain (Ray Winstone) is plotting to kill Noah and hijack the Ark for himself and his armies.
Directed by Darren Aronofski (Black Swan), and co starring Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Hopkins and Emma Watson, Noah is a very odd beast indeed. I say odd mainly due to the fact that it seems to be many different movies all rolled into one, being by turns part religious epic, part drama and part action adventure. Indeed, by rights this film shouldn’t work at all – it features glowing swords, weird landscapes, six limbed stone angels and tackles a genre that has been hitherto untapped since the days of Cecil B DeMille. Plus lets not forget that the last big budget disaster film featuring an oceanic apocalypse was Water World (1995) and look what happened to that!
However in the hands of the highly talented Aronofski, Noah does work extremely well and proves to be a highly enjoyable and superbly made film.
Beautifully photographed, with outstanding visual effects, Aronofski skilfully creates a desolate old testament world, filled with death, sin and the ravages of humanity. When it comes, the flood itself is a wonder to behold and is unflinching in its devastation – one particular standout scene has Noah and his family safely ensconced in the Ark, whilst forced to hear the dying screams of the thousands caught in Gods watery punishment.
In addition its very action packed, and especially fascinating in its depiction of creation and the fall of man to original sin.
All the main cast are universally excellent. Crowe gives his best performance since Cinderella Man, depicting Noah as a solid man of action, plagued by doubts but willing to sacrifice everything – even his family –to carry out the Creators plan. Jennifer Connelly is equally good as Noah’s wife Naameh, Anthony Hopkins brings gravitas to proceedings as Methuselah, Ray Winstone is his usual superb self as Tubal-Cain and Emma Watson is an absolute standout in the role of Ila –Noah’s adopted daughter.
Without doubt though this would have all been for naught without the talents of Darren Aronofski. Any other director would have messed this film up but with Aronofski’s steady hand and intelligent visual flair, what could have been a critical and commercial flop of biblical proportions turns out to be the total and complete opposite.
An absolutely cracking film that in years to come may well be regarded as a modern classic. Highly recommended.
Reviewed By: Will Strong
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