Wednesday, April 2, 2014

[Review] Noah

It comes as no surprise that this film is very, very wet.

Director Darren Aronofsky makes a tentpole leap with the retelling of the biblical story of Noah's Ark. Compared to recent outings like The Wrestler and Black Swan, Noah is colossal in scope (and budget). But Aronofsky's touches are still fully apparent as he employs plenty of arthouse visuals (but now very expensive ones), while also provoking complex emotions. The film has a dark edge and a dystopian setting with a tone that is way closer to The Road than Evan Almighty.

After an impressionistic montage of the Garden of Eden (the first of many stroby time-lapse sequences), we meet Noah (Russel Crowe) and his family in surreal landscapes under strange skies. The family consists of his wife Naameh (Jennifer Connelly), three sons, and an adopted daughter Ila (Emma Watson). The performances are strong all around.

Noah has these nightmarish premonitions about the world catastrophically flooding and wiping away the sinful human race. With the major aid of his wise, magical grandfather (Anthony Hopkins) and The Watchers (fallen angels that transformed to beings of stone), he starts constructing the ark (this version of the massive boat is super rectangular) in order to save all the species on the planet. When the monumental migration comes, it's a very cool moment, but unfortunately the creatures don't take up much screentime. I wish the animals were shown more throughout the film, because animals.

Major conflict arises when King Tubal Cain (a grizzly Ray Winstone) shows up at the building site, which leads to an eventual battle. Absolute chaos ensues when the storm hits and the king's army charges the ship while The Watchers attempt to fend them off in Treebeard fashion. The entire sequence is tremendously impressive and is the most exciting part of the film, so in a way it feels like an early climax. However, the story turns over to a more contained family drama with enough dilemmas to keep matters complicated and tensions high, amidst the now grey and cloudy abyss of the world and an unsure future.

No matter what your expectations are going in, or what your fundamental beliefs are, there's no denying that Noah is an astonishing sight to behold.


1 comment:

  1. Nice review Zach. The film itself is executed relentlessly well. It's just that its morals get caught-up in a bit of a twist.