Movie Review: Noah

Noah (2014)
138 minutes
Rated PG-13
Directed by Darren Aronofsky
Starring: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Hopkins, Emma Watson

noah-poster

Grade: B-

Aronofsky is best known for his works on small, creative films such as The Wrestler and Black Swan, but the question that exists with Noah is, what kind of movie would he create with a budget over $100 million? He tackles the Biblical story of Noah to a general success, despite its flaws. The biggest problem that Noah has is finding out what kind of audience the film is made for. Its budget and grand special effects suggest it’s a blockbuster, but the religious tale combined with the dark, emotional impact is as far away from a blockbuster as possible. Unfortunately, this cut of Noah is as confused as we are.

The story of Noah has somehow turned into a recognizable children’s tale, but let it be warned that it would be a mistake for any parent thinking about bringing their children to see this movie. Aronofsky’s adaptation is a grim and violent movie, one that children would not enjoy.

After a very sluggish beginning, the film picks up when Noah gains the trust of the Watchers to help him build the ark for the upcoming disaster. Mixed in are themes of family, war, and how God must punish mankind for his sins, with Noah as the sole person that God has entrusted to carry out his wishes. Noah is an epic and it sure feels like one, part because there are two major story-lines that take place before and after the storm. The before story-line is well-known, with the enormous ark that stores hundreds of animals to protect the innocent while God wipes out all living creatures on Earth. But after the storm things are just as tense.

The acting is spot on throughout the film, led by Russell Crowe who has the build and conviction to be convincing as Noah. Anthony Hopkins has a small role as Noah’s father, but makes the most out of it by providing the film with its only source of comic relief. Jennifer Connolly plays the role of Noah’s wife quite nicely, a strong and caring woman who is desperate to keep the family together despite Noah’s requests. And rounding out the cast is Logan Lerman, the tormented son of Noah, and Emma Watson, an orphan that the family saves.

There are great visuals throughout, specifically the visions and dreams that Noah has. In addition, the colors in the film are as bright and clear in this naturally dark and cloudy environment, something Aronofsky is always so meticulous about. While the films suffers from being too preachy at times, overall it’s a movie full of symbolism and faith, not only in God but for the good in humanity. After all, we all make decisions every day that are just stepping stones to a greater outcome, but there are also those who will continue to sin. Nonetheless, we all have one thing to cling onto during the worst of times, and that’s hope.

 

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