Friday, March 28, 2014

Movie review: Noah

What to make of Darren Aronofsky's Noah? Perhaps that's the wrong question. Indeed, what NOT to make of Noah? Because it is so many things. Aronofsk's movie to me was an amazing movie, full of many undertones in the storytelling and on subject matter that one can relate to todays modern world, as many of the flaws Humanity has in this movie are very much still present in our world and society today.

It is, of course, a biblical blockbuster, a 21st-century answer to Cecil B. DeMille. It's also a disaster movie — the original disaster, you might say. It's an intense family drama. Part sci-fi film. An action flick? Definitely, along the lines of The Lord of the Rings.

But there's one thing Noah is not, for a moment: dull. So, what to make of Noah? It's a movie that, with all its occasional excess, is utterly worth your time — 138 minutes of it.

We meet Noah (Crowe) as a child witnessing his father being killed by Cain’s descendants, and next in a desolate desert as one of the last defenders of the “Creator’s land”. Noah, wife Naameh (Connelly), and his sons Shem (Booth), Ham (Lerman) and newly born Japheth lead a tough life, made tougher by men who are scavengers, looting and living off other people. And then there are Noah’s nightmares, rendered in vivid colours, which he interprets as the end of the world being near. On way to consult his grandfather, the wise old Methuselah (played with relish by Hopkins), Noah and family rescue a badly injured girl Ila (Watson) and take her with them.
Methuselah confirms Noah’s fears, and gives him a seed from the Garden of Eden to start a new world. Noah proceeds to build the ark, concluding that there will be a deluge that will destroy mankind because of what it had become, and that God wanted him to save the animals to start afresh. Why only animals? Because they alone continue to live the life they led in Eden.
Aronofsky doesn’t spare the details, with the ark built almost exactly as described in the Bible even though it looks like an unlikely floating structure. The film also visualises the angels exiled to earth, or the Watchers, as robots rendered in stone. They are disconcertingly Transformers-like at first, but in the pitying randomness of their structures — they fell from heaven, and took new forms from mud and rocks — they grow on you.
But for sheer cinematic beauty, it's hard to beat the dreamlike sequence in which Aronofsky illustrates the story of creation, as recounted by Noah. At this moment, you may well forgive any excesses in the film. Like his flawed hero, Aronofsky has a vision — a cinematic one — and the results, if not perfect, are pretty darned compelling.
Please note the flood is very very impressive and stunning visuals to behold.
This is a fun, action-packed, Biblical epic that manages to uphold the important pillars of the Genesis tale. Highly recommended.

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