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NOAH (review)

noahNOAH
Written by Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel
Directed by Darren Aronofsky
Starring Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly and Emma Watson
 
Ila: It’s the end of everything.

Noah: No, it’s the beginning, the beginning of everything.

It has been some time since I last read the bible, so much time really that when I did read it, it was imposed upon me as part of my curriculum as a young boy in a Catholic school. As long as it has been though, I cannot for the life of me remember fallen angels encrusted with rock structures coming to Noah’s aid to help build his ark. This is the first of many departures director, Darren Aronofsky takes with the biblical tale, and it doesn’t do anything to help the already unbelievable story seem any more realistic. In fact, NOAH, while epic in scope and the sheer vastness of its canvas, is perhaps most epic in the mounting absurdity that rises throughout the film, like the tides of the flood that God sends to eliminate all of humanity and all its wickedness along with it. NOAH isn’t so bad that it would incur the wrath of God but it did stir a fair amount of condemnation in this viewer.

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If I’m to buy into Aronofsky’s take on the years leading up to Noah’s ark being built, I would also have to cower about our own prospects. Aronofsky draws some none too subtle parallels between the descendants of Cain (whom God drowned) and those of us roaming the planet today. It would appear that the descendants of Cain abandoned The Creator when they felt he had abandoned them and then went on a global pillage, consuming the planet’s resources to further their own needs no matter what the cost. They are a selfish, greedy people who think themselves to be mightier than any of God’s other creations they share the Earth with. Sound like anyone you know? Essentially, I should abandon writing this review and get cracking on my ark immediately but I’m far too lazy for that, which is just another reason I deserve to be drowned with the rats. Of course, condemning 99.99% of humanity to a horrifying death was not exactly one of God’s holier moments but His word is being carried out here by Russell Crowe so you feel like the task is in capable (read as rugged and manly) hands. Crowe’s Noah – who gets a really cool crew cut half way through the film, not sure where mind you – never talks to God directly but he has some pretty vivid dreams involving a snake and a lot of water so naturally, an ark is in order.

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I understand that this story is meant to be a parable but I’m not sure how its execution here is supposed to satisfy any filmgoer. In an attempt to recapture the sacred violence of THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, which appealed directly to the bloodlust of Christians and heathens alike, much of NOAH focuses on the nastiness that must have taken place when people realized it wasn’t about to stop raining any time soon. Once Noah and his family, which includes his wife (Jennifer Connelly, reuniting with both her A BEAUTIFUL MIND co-star and her REQUIEM FOR A DREAM director), his two very handsome sons (Douglas Booth and Logan Lerman) and an orphan girl they picked up along the way (Emma Watson), set sail with two of every animal imaginable for an indeterminate amount of time, the film shifts gears. Noah goes a little cabin crazy and develops a bit of a God complex, not so surprisingly. He believes humanity is meant to end with this flood, including his family when they inevitably die out. Naturally, his family disagrees. Regardless of this impasse, they still sit together to recount the story of creation, which looked an awful lot to me like the story of evolution, but I must be wrong. Aronofsky wouldn’t dare imply that creation and evolution are essentially the same thing, would he? Not while he’s trying to woo the almighty Christian dollar to his film, of course.

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I think it’s safe to say I prefer my Aronofsky on a much smaller scale. When he gets intimate with a character, like the tormented ballerina in BLACK SWAN or the tired, defeated title character of THE WRESTLER, he soars. He sees the cracks and isn’t afraid to expose them, no matter how ugly. When he goes big, he never seems to know when to stop. Like Aronofsky’s previous miss, THE FOUNTAIN, NOAH is washed out the further away you get from the ark, or main storey arc for that matter. He fills that space with shoddy special effects and half fleshed out statements about humanity’s ugliness towards the environment and how similar science and religion really are. The fact that he passes these revelations off as monumental is what tells me that he will likely be drowning right alongside me when God floods the Earth yet again.

2 sheep

Your turn!

How many sheep would you give Noah?

One Comment

  1. Thank you

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