Movie Review: Noah


Noah sets out to build an ark with his family after God gives him a vision about a flood that will wipe humanity off the face of the Earth.

Darren Aronofsky, 2014

When Noah (Russell Crowe) starts experiencing strange phenomena, like seeing a flower grow from nothing before his eyes and having vivid dreams of, like, EVERYBODY EVER drowning and the mountain where his grandfather lives, he takes his family on a trek to see dear old granddad. On the way they adopt a little girl and encounter the evil people who kill and eat animals and who have developed industry with the help of fallen angels, which are now stone monsters. One of the stone monsters helps them get to the mountain where granddad Methusalah (Anthony Hopkins) lives. He helps Noah realise that he’s meant to build an ark for all the animals, who are still pure, having not committed the Original Sin and all that jazz. Ten years later the ark is almost complete and Noah’s kids are teenagers. After being threatened by the king of the country (Ray Winstone, what are you doing here?) Noah decides that there’s no place for humanity in the new world, which rubs his wife (Jennifer Connelly) and kids the wrong way.


I am not religious. I didn’t want to see this movie. I am not generally a huge Aronofsky fan – I appreciate that he wants to tackle the big issues, but I find the movies I’ve seen of him to be too serious and more interested in being meditations than movies. I think Noah was trying to be a blockbuster, a spectacle, but all it’s really done is made a spectacle of itself. Noah is not a good movie on almost any level. For having been directed with someone like Aronofsky, it doesn’t seem to have a particularly clear vision. There’s a lot of jumbled messages – Veganism, Old Testament religion, environmentalism, morality, the nature of man (and believe me, it’s really just about Man) – but they’re convoluted and mixed and none of them really comes across strongly. Noah is a distinctly unlikeable hero for a significant portion of the film’s running time, being the Man Who Knows Best for, apparently, the entire human race, but significantly women and children. The film is SO incredibly, deeply sexist, stating that women are essentially just baby machines, and serve no useful function except to have kids. Once Noah’s plan threatens said children, the women try desperately to protect them, and bring up some of the more interesting points in the movie – but only in relation to being mothers. It’s offensive on so many levels, down to the point of threatening to kill baby girls for not being boys. How did the writers think this storyline was OK??

The cast is mostly pretty average – I think Emma Watson as Noah’s adoptive daughter Ila is the strongest part of the film, putting in the most effort to some very taxing scenes, but she’s not strong enough to save the movie from itself. Ray Winstone feels like he’s been transposed into the film from a London gangland flick, which made me giggle every time I saw him. Jennifer Connelly was mostly in hysterics. I like Russell Crowe less in every movie I see him in, and poor Logan Lerman gets the fuzzy end of the lollipop as Noah’s “bad” son Ham, who gets continually screwed over for the terrible sins of critical thinking and curiosity. There’s clearly an element to the film that I’m missing as a non-religious person, as well. The central morality of the film seems to be between blind faith and personal choice, which isn’t even a question in my world. There’s a lot of references to biblical stories – Adam and Eve and all their descendants, fallen angel rock monsters, fire glow cubes, magic tricks, and an interesting scene where the creation myth is presented as evolution. Some of the scenes look great – the growth of a river is a personal favourite – but some of the CG is surprisingly terrible, particularly of the animals and the weird freaky babies. The story is overlong and frequently dull, especially for long, dark periods on the Ark. I just don’t see the appeal of this movie on almost any level.

Noah on IMDb


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