<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Darren Aronofsky. Starring Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Emma Watson, Anthony Hopkins, Logan Lerman, Kevin Durand, Douglas Booth
I didn’t expect much from this film before I saw it but Noah both surprised me and delighted me with an offbeat tone of voice, visual diction and ethos that I’ve not seen in a film perhaps ever.
I watched Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Sabotage before this film and hated it. Thankfully Noah salvaged my day and saved me from the flood that was Arnie and a group of meat-headed buffoons blowing each other up.
We all know what the story of Noah is, well vaguely at least. Old chap gets a vision about a flood that will ‘cleanse’ the Earth of horrible humans. He wants to save the poor, innocent animals that are often victims to the cruelty of mankind so he builds an Ark that will carry two of each species of animal to safety when the tides sweep in. Noah’s Ark. Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, The Wrestler, Requiem for a Dream) has taken this tale from the Old Testament and spun a very interesting and visually riveting film.
As a person who is sensitive to the suffering of animals and a dog lover, I sort of got the message Noah would convey from the very first few scenes. More than a tale of how the world was, Noah is just a way to show us how the world is right now, probably a lot worse than depicted even. Our atrocities on nature and animals, our savage ways, the complete lack of compassion we have for each other as humans are all depicted in Noah. Our ‘creator’ must not be pleased.
And so Noah (Russell Crowe) receives visions that he interprets as a great flood and proceeds to get his family and fallen angels (that look like Rock Lords) to help him build an Ark to save their pure souls and the animals as well. But the descendants of Cain (the evil son of Adam and Eve) want sanctuary and will kill to get their sorry selves on the Ark. Their leader Tubal-Cain (Ray Winstone) will stop at nothing.
There’s a grandeur and epic-ness about Noah. The juxtaposition of visual elements, the seriousness of these rock-encrusted fallen angels, the gravity of the situation is all awe inspiring. Sure it has some slightly silly moments but that’s probably just the studio’s insistence that it be ‘commercial’. Noah tackles some serious issues and asks some pertinent questions. It’s not always politically correct but it’s true to the ethos that it depicts.
Crowe and Jennifer Connelly as Noah’s wife are perfectly paired (they were so good in A Beautiful Mind) and Emma Watson’s Ila, Noah’s adopted daughter (and daughter-in-law) is surprisingly good.
Crowe’s sensitivity coupled with his ferocity shows us that he’s an actor par excellence. Of course when he sings you’re reminded of Les Misérables and you just want him to shut up!
I couldn’t help feeling that Noah still had the potential to be a 5-star film but something stopped it. Maybe you’ll know what it is, and I hope you can tell me.
Noah is one of those rare films that have something epic about them; you can see glimpses of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey in the visuals and spirit.
PS: No animals were harmed in the filming of this movie. They are all, in fact, CGI and sleep through most of the film!