There is one thing Darren Aronofsky’s Noah is, and that is bold. The Black Swan director has taken one of the most famous biblical tales and given it one heck of a mystical twist. Already banned in certain Middle Eastern countries, the film screams big budget blockbuster, but it has a creative streak to it that is so often lacking in many modern day equivalents. The directors daring portrayal, which at times sits finely balanced between fantasy and the bemusing, is if not anything else an intriguing, thought-provoking watch.
We all know the story: Noah is told by “The Creator” [The word ‘God’ is never used] to build an ark to rid the world of the unworthy. The animals come, two by two, the rest of the people get pissy and off Noah and company go, floating away until land is found.
Russell Crowe plays the man himself in typical Crowe-like fashion: long stares, impassioned speeches and wielding an impressively heavy weapon like a man possessed. Supported by Jennifer Connelly as his wife, Naameh, Emma Watson (as his adapted daughter, lla), and Ray Winstone as a cockney gangster, I mean, Tubal-cain, a self proclaimed king and the villain of the piece, the Oscar winning director has put together an impressive cast to deliver on his edgy interruption of the classic story.
It is difficult not to get a bit of a kick out of Noah. Not to everyone’s taste, it has, and will, offend some people, but it is just so different that it is hard not to crack a smile over Aronofsky’s daring portrayal. The first hour of the film felt like you were back with Frodo heading to Mordor, with what were essentially a rock version of Ent’s (“fallen angels”) roaming over the mirky, bolder-filled lands, whilst Noah’s Grandfather, Meuthuselah (Anthony Hopkins), who did not look too dissimilar to a certain popular Tolkein character, was hiding out in caves scavenging for food. Sounds familiar, right? Nevermind the amount of sexual pheromone’s that were flying around, as Noah’s eldest kids, Ham (Logan Lerman) and Shem (Douglas Booth), were desperately making plans to repopulate the new world.
Forgetting it felt like a The Lord of the Rings spin-off with lots of environmental undertones, the film does ask a lot of questions about God and his relationship with man, of which may not sit comfortably with everyone, as well as an interesting examination of the family dynamic of Noah and his clan. Crowe was his usual imposing self, whilst Emma Watson impressively demonstrated once more that her Harry Potter days are firmly behind her. Mixing the biblical with the mythical, Noah is a bold, outlandish, but down-right interesting spectacle that should earn, if not anything else, Aronofsky a firm pat on the back for his creativeness.