Noah, directed by Darren Aronofsky, is an imaginative retelling of the biblical story of a man chosen by God to build an ark that will save the animals and his family from a great flood that will wipe out the rest of humanity. The story of Noah is perhaps one of the most well-known in the Book of Genesis, alongside Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. However, this is a Darren Aronofsky film. Movie fans who are familiar with Aronofsky’s filmography can probably agree that his films’ subject matter can be quite intense and hard to swallow. In the case of this movie, the religious have a right to be skeptical because of how common it is for a director like Aronofsky to take artistic liberties when adapting from a sacred text.
Russell Crowe brought a terrific performance as Noah. There were many sides to his character – a man of faith, a husband and father, a bully, and even a warrior. Noah has constant nightmares of various images of the fall of man, and takes this as a sign from God, (known as “The Creator” in the movie) to build the ark. Throughout the movie, we see Noah as a loving father who protects his family, but also a devout man of faith whose actions sometimes conflict with his wife and sons.
Ray Winstone plays Tubal-cain, a descendant of Cain who proclaims himself as king and serves as a complex and menacing villain to Crowe’s Noah. Winstone was fantastic as the barbaric villain, and it was refreshing to see Aronofsky develop a character who wasn’t really emphasized in the biblical text. Other characters Aronofsky integrated into his story are fallen angels known as The Watchers who become fused with the earthly matter and thus look like hulking rock creatures. It’s hard not to draw comparisons with these figures to the tree-like Ents from The Lord of the Rings, as both offer bits of wisdom and ultimately fight for the good side. Anthony Hopkins is also worth noting as he plays Methuselah, the grandfather of Noah and a mystical figure who serves as a biblical version of Yoda.
A major asset to this film was the breathtaking CGI used to create the flood sequences, but also for the montage sequences of Noah’s nightmares and when he tells the story of creation to his family. Just like with other Aronofsky films, notably Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream, the cinematography and score were excellent.
It’s best recommended to see this film with an open mind, because all of the blended elements added into this story make it stand out from other Biblical epics. Ultimately though, Aronofsky does give audiences a rich story of good versus evil and there’s nothing wrong with that.