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“Noah” – Review (SO-SO POSITIVE)

March 29, 2014

Screen shot 2014-03-29 at 9.18.08 PMNever would I have thought that Darren Aronofsky, a God (ironically enough) to the independent film community would conform to a big studio biblical blockbuster epic. Let alone being the infamous tale of Noah and his Arc, based from the Book of Genesis. However, little did we know, the seed for this production dates back to 1982, where a young Darren scribed a poem, The Dove, for a 7th grade English class assignment.

The man, who brought us terrifyingly beautiful visions from films about drug addiction, mathematical anomalies, and ballet dancing, comes to the masses with his take on the story of Noah. Aronofsky himself has stated before that he’s not a critical religious man, but more so a spiritual seeker. His take is certainly, bold, his ideas are unique, and the visual aspect of the movie is quite transcendent. Be that as it may, it’s also a movie not without its faults.

Set in a time where man and the planet they reside on is still fresh and young, a man by the name of Noah (Russell Crowe), a descendent of Seth, is chosen by the almighty ‘Creator’ to undertake a momentous mission. Rescue the innocent creatures of the world, before an apocalyptic flood destroys everything. Man’s chance has come and gone, in the eyes of Noah, all that remains is to replenish the new world with the beasts that so rightfully deserve it.

The movie opens with an abridged version of the beginnings of the Book of Genesis, giving us a mild form of exposition. For religious enthusiasts, it’s mainly a refresher course (more or less), for others, it’s a portrait of the fantastical elements of the Bible. And that’s what Aronofsky embraces, he manages to paint a gorgeous visual palette, while maintaining that thin layer of dirty grit he’s best known for in his past films.

Russell Crowe caps the entire film off with a strong performance, not his greatest acting achievement, but a commanding one, which given the circumstance of the interpretation of this version of Noah, it’s called for. Emma Watson continues to prove that she has other acting abilities outside the Potter-verse, however I still believe her best non-Hermione performance remains in “The Perks of Being A Wallflower”, same can be said for “Perks…” star Logan Lerman, who plays the conflicted middle child in Noah’s nest.

The problem the movie faces…more or less, the runtime is a big problem, it didn’t need to be two and half hours long, there’s a condensed story in there, and its overlong runtime damaged the quality of the movie. The subplot between Logan Lerman’s Ham and the over-hammy performance of Ray Winstone’s Cain-Man was arbitrary. It leads to a resolution that’s practically one big eye roll, and ends up nowhere. Winstone’s character is without question the most brain-dead character of the entire film. Forget theology, aside from all that, from a cinematic perspective, his character doesn’t translate well from script to screen.

Screen shot 2014-03-29 at 9.18.24 PMI come back to the visual style the cinematography is immaculate. One of my favorite sequences in the entire film is Noah’s telling of the formation of this world, the seven days of creation. Within this visual presentation, we’re still given an evolutionary depiction of the seven days of said creation. Not sure how hard-core creationist will respond to that scene, but from a guy like myself, whose religious stature is more Agnostic than anything else, I truly appreciated the gravity of that scene.

There’s ambitious ideas, and impressive visual-style in “Noah”. [Russell] Crowe is in top form, and Darren Aronofsky certainly has fun with the apocalyptic nature of the film, I liked the Road Warrior-esq depiction of this world in particular. But the supporting character development lacks, and its runtime runs it down to an above decent stature in my eyes.

GRADE: B-

Aaron Shore, is a contributing blogger for the film sites of Hudak on Hollywood & Midnight Reviews.

You can follow Aaron on Twitter @DoubleAAProd

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One Comment leave one →
  1. April 2, 2014 5:34 pm

    Good review Aaron. It’s a very strange flick, but it’s one that I was constantly entertained by. Or at least intrigued by, that is.

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