(Rating: PG-13 – Runtime – 2 hrs 18 mins. – Genre: Action/Adventure/Drama – Director: Darren Aronofsky – Writers: Darren Aronofsky & Ari Handel – Stars: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Hopkins, Emma Watson)
(Editor’s note: I started tinkering with the idea of film criticism in January of 2014. It took me until nearly the end of March of the same year to produce something. “Noah” caught my attention as a viewer. It felt meaty enough to attempt to deconstruct. This is my incredibly crude first attempt at analyzing a movie. It would be another 21 months before I launched “Super No Bueno.”)
In anticipation of the arrival of an Earth-cleansing flood, Noah builds a giant ship to save his family and the animals of the world from the forthcoming destruction.
I caught Darren Aronofsky’s Noah tonight with a friend. It’s a captivating movie. One has to come to terms fairly quickly with the fact that it is not a straightforward retelling of the Biblical version of the story of the Flood. Arguments can be made as to the time frame, location, and even universe in which the film is set. Once the viewer accepts the conventions of the premise, they are presented a story that examines the concepts of the greater notions of right and wrong, family, and commitment.
Upon leaving the theater, it occurred to me that the notions of “presumption” and “expectations” are key elements to the narrative.
Much of the plot is driven by Noah’s presumption of what the “Creator” wants of him. Since there is never a conversation between the two to direct his actions, Noah interprets what his quest is to the most extreme inevitability.
Additionally, I’ve read reviews that deride the film for essentially not meeting the expectations of the reviewer. It’s not a traditional recounting of the Flood myth. However, by the time the closing credits roll, the viewer can’t help but question how far is “too far” in Noah’s quest to appease the Creator.
The pursuit of “Good” is often depicted in an excruciating manner on a number of different levels. In that sense, it provokes the audience to think and assess, which is ultimately the purpose of the original Bible tale.
Not to spoil anything, but there is an element of the movie heavily influenced by the late, great visual effects master Ray Harryhausen. Biblical purists have mocked the addition of a group of characters called “The Watchers” but I found them to be pretty rad. I know that Mr. Harryhausen is up there somewhere, smiling down approvingly.
Noah is inventive and thought-provoking. I certainly recommend it.