Noah (Darren Aronofsky, 2014)
Darren Aronofsky’s latest film Noah is based on the biblical story of how Noah built the ark. Religious fundamentalists have criticised the film for not staying close enough to the story as presented in the bible. I am not personally aware of how much the film’s depiction differs, although Noah was portrayed as a bit of a dick, determined to murder his future grandchildren because he believed this is what God wanted him to do (wipe out the human race so only the innocent animals will prevail). In fact I think the film incorporated a great message about religion, that is, rather than blindly performing hateful deeds because you think it is God’s will, maybe you would be better off interpreting things in a way that makes you act more like a human being, and less of a douche (not looking at anyone in particular, WESTBORO BAPTIST CHURCH). I don’t think the film came off as anti-religion at all (it wouldn’t have been a movie in the first place if that were the case), but rather just anti-religious idiocy, and so good on it for that. As I said, I’m not very familiar with the bible story so maybe there are inconsistencies I’m not aware of, though it is a pretty ludicrous premise to start with – 10 million animals all fit on the one boat?
Aronofsky is known for making some pretty weird films, with his most recent being the brilliant Black Swan (2010). Unfortunately, this was a much inferior film. It was still a bit weird, but in a slightly boring way. The imagery was interesting, particularly in the retelling of certain Biblical passages, and was somewhat reminiscent of Aronofsky’s The Fountain (2006). However, ‘The Watchers’ – fallen angels who have become rock-like figures – looked like something out of a Michael Bay movie i.e. crap. The visual effects were decent, but not awe-inspiring. The idea of man saving the animals so that Earth can go back to being a paradise that isn’t ruined by the evils of man is an interesting one, as well as Noah’s conflict between his duty to God and his family. But seriously, killing babies is clearly the wrong option, dickhead.
Russell Crowe wasn’t bad – he isn’t hard to believe as a character who is a bit of a nob. I read afterwards that Christian Bale was initially offered the role of Noah and I can’t help but think he would have been a major improvement – that dude is killer awesome. Jennifer Connelly didn’t get much to do, but made the most of her screen time. Emma Watson as Ila was the shining light – it took a moment to separate her from Hermione Granger, but she demonstrated that she has greater scope past the role she is known for, and was a delight to watch as a young, fragile, yet strong mother. Ray Winstone and Anthony Hopkins were well cast as the villainous Tubal-cain, and old, slightly crazy Methuselah, respectively. Douglas Booth from the recent Romeo and Juliet (Carlo Carlei, 2013) got his pout and raging hormones on again as Shem, and Logan Lerman rounded out the cast as conflicted, brooding teen, Ham. So many hormones with nowhere to go… It’s gotta be tough being the only family left on Earth.
There wasn’t necessarily much wrong with Noah, but it just wasn’t as exciting as watching a ballet dancer have a psychotic break and make out with Mila Kunis. In Noah, there is barely anyone even left to make out with, outside of your own family. I don’t know what’s scarier – the underlying theme of future incest being necessary to continue the human race, or watching Natalie Portman peel off her entire fingernail. But I know which one I’d prefer to watch*.
*Actually I had to look away at that part in Black Swan. Nevertheless, it’s a much better film.