"In the beginning, there was nothing." So starts this version of the story centered on Noah (Russell Crowe), the man entrusted by God to save the innocent animals of Earth as the rising floodwaters cleansed the planet of mankind's evil. As the telling continues, we learn how Adam and Eve's sins have passed down through generations through their sons Cain and Abel, and how the descendants of their righteous sibling Seth were entrusted with defending creation. One day, while foraging in the country, a descendant of Seth, Noah, sees his father slain by a descendant of Cain. In the process, Noah's birthright is stolen from him. Decades later, as a father of three, Noah experiences a vision foretelling the great flood that will wash over the Earth, destroying every living thing that stands on the soil. That vision leads Noah to seek out his grandfather, Methuselah (Sir Anthony Hopkins), in order to understand his mission. When a second vision reveals that Noah is to construct a massive ark...
Peter Jackson Meets Peter Watkins Meets James Lovelock
I was really looking forward to this for one reason and one reason only . The director Darren Aronofsky is just about the most interesting director working today . He doesn't always hit the bullseye but he did direct REQUIEM FOR A DREAM one of the very few films I would describe as a masterpiece and he really upset an uninformed audience who went in to BLACK SWAN thinking it was going to be a high brow film featuring ballet as its theme . Indeed the only time I've seen audience members walk out in obvious disgust was during a screening of BLACK SWAN . With a title like NOAH one wondered Aronofsky might have the same effect on Christians . This is a film that promised to be controversial and as soon as preview audiences saw it there was a very sharp divide between love and hate . Interesting that it had an average rating of 8.8 then quickly started falling as people on this site gave it bad reviews . One can't help thinking there's a campaign by religious believers who seem angry at this film because it deviates from scripture . As an anti-theist my only reservations before seeing it were that the trailers looked like it was inspired by Peter Jackson's version of Tolkien
The bad news is that we've got Peter Jackson meets Peter Watkins meets Professor James Lovelock . NOAH is a heavily religious film as you might expect but not in the way you're expecting . From the outset we're told that the tribe of Cain have built " industrial cities " and it's this that has brought " the wrath of the creator " . It's not the religion of the Abrahamic cult but the cult of environmentalism and Gaia theory . The subtext is so obvious that it doesn't qualify as subtext because it's far too blatant . Noah and his family are all vegetarians who don't eat meat while the villain Tubal-Cain does because .... well he's the bad guy . Actually this is the major failing of the film . There's no one to root for because the screenplay is an absolute mess . Tubal Cain shows signs of Darwinian practicalities by eating animals in order to survive but there's no real in depth psychological analysis to the character . He wants the Ark because the story needs a villain and is so overdone you're surprised why the other characters can't see through him . . Noah isn't any better because he's an animal loving psychotic misanthrope . Can you think of any obvious society full of nature loving animal loving psychotic misanthropes ? I'll give you a clue . It was a Central European country built on Neo-Pagan ideals that used an ancient Sanskrit symbol and lasted from 1933 to 1945 . People should stop to consider who they should adopt as role models and when people treat environmentalism as a religion bad things will surely happen but we're ordered to take the side of environmentalism and not to question it
In the hands of a lesser director NOAH would have sunk at the box office but thankfully we are talking about Aronofsky . And the good news he's reigned in some the excesses that made me hate THE FOUNTAIN . Yes it owes a lot to Peter Jackson but Aronofsky recognises the strengths of Jackson when he made the LOTR trilogy . We see beautiful locations that captures the bleak brutal beauty of nature throughout the film and some of the cinematography is genuinely stunning . The cast are rather uneven which is hardly surprising considering the screenplay and an audience will find their performances divisive , none more so in Crowe . Connelly is rather bland , Winstone is rather one note and is ...well Ray Winstone .love him or loathe him . By far the best performance is by ,Emma Watson as Ila who might have been a mere cypher or plot device and yet manages to flesh out her role without being showy in any way .
In summary NOAH might just fall in to a" flawed masterpiece /interesting failure " camp . It's an extraordinarily beautiful looking film that I'll buy on DVD and one hopes it'll be up for Best Director , cinematography and score when the Oscars come around but since it's been released in the Spring the studio don't seem to have much ( Pardon the pun ) faith in it and it'll be quickly forgotten . While the visuals deliver it does have a very sententious , sombre confusing screenplay that feels the need to both shout at and talk down to the audience . Whatever the flaws of this film it still showcases the talents of Aronofsky and here's to the future and whatever it brings
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