Noah (2014)

“I have men at my back, and you stand alone and defy me?”

I have a confession to make. I have fallen a little bit in love with Darren Aronofsky’s opinion-splitting biblical story Noah. It is not like me either, as I try my best to be objective, and I know the film isn’t that great, as it has some questionable CGI considering the budget, a slightly laboured ending, and is clearly not at the same mind-bending level as Aronofsky’s previous work such as Black Swan, The Fountain and Requiem for a Dream. But despite this, I found the simple yet effective way that he has handled the topic to be endearing and intelligent, asking some very poignant questions regarding the story’s origins and humanity’s role on the earth along the way.

Perhaps my fondness originates from the way the film does not cover itself in religious adoration or advocation, which appealed to my cynical atheist side. Saying that, just because it avoided mentioning the G-word and instead referred to him as the “Creator”, does not mean it side-stepped any biblical connotations. If anything, the film very much focusses on the symbolism found in the original story and uses very human perspectives to create several interpretations of the Creators will. This makes, especially during the scenes in the ark, some really intense drama that I enjoyed immensely. Ray Winstone especially puts in a show-stealing performance as the descendant of Cain, with his adamant belief that the Creator’s will is for humans to have dominion over the Earth.

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I am not going to use this space to retell the plot of one of the most famous stories. But a word of warning: don’t assume that the film’s story and characters will all be recognisable to the average Joe with as much religious education as I have,  which boils down to a couple of weeks at Sunday school in 1985. For instance, Russell Crowe rubs shoulders with rock-creatures called The Watchers, fallen angels who have been cursed after trying to help humanity, which adds a great (if slightly resembling Bay’s transformers) fantasy edge to the film.

Finally, what I really liked about the movie, was that despite the symbolism, religious origins, and Noah’s belief that the Creator has tasked him with saving the innocent creatures, it is essentially only the decisions and actions of people who make the real difference. I feel this is the central point that the director attempts to portray, along with the way Aronofsky gels scientific progression with an archaic but important sense of perspective. An imperfect but impressionable movie, with a real sense of purpose, lending the viewer a fresh perspective on this famous tale.

Shapstik Verdict: I know there are a huge number that have not seen this yet for perhaps subjective reasons, and I don’t blame you. But the film uses some really inventive imagery and ideas, and if you simply treat it as a retelling of one of the most important stories ever written, then you can sit back and enjoy a dark and tense story that has, at its very heart, the fate of humanity. 7/10

 

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