Requiem for a Dream director Darren Aronofsky has mashed up various ideals & theories such as creationism, evolution and environmentalism in his latest $125,000,00 kinda biblical-kinda-pro-vegan epic, Noah.
Now y’all know the drill, Noah (that good fella from the Bible) is sent a message from ‘the creator’ that he intends to destroy the earth to rid it of sin, and Noah has been chosen to save the remaining good on the earth, aka his family and the animals. So naturally, Noah sets out to build an Ark, assisted by some rather ludicrous ‘fallen angel’ rock-monsters. Obviously. Throw in an army of angry men, some hybrid creatures, Anthony Hopkins starring as a ‘Grandfather’ who is a bit obsessed with berries and more water than 2012 and Titanic combined, and you’ve got yourself a sci-fi fantasy take on ‘the gospel truth’.
With such a large number of references to hand the movie struggles to bear the weight of its ideas during the 1st act, large amounts of screen time are spent watching the Noah family traipse through barren wastelands that look like they would not go amiss in District 9. As the children mature into young adults and the first tree sprouts the story begins to take shape and pick up pace, with Emma Watson ditching the Hogwarts cloak in favour of more mature pastures proving herself to be more than just the brightest witch of her age. Logan Lerman does not go amiss either as ‘Ham’, a charming and sweet-natured young man with a less than charming name. In fact, despite the ground-breaking CGI, this film is carried completely by the actors (all but Douglas Booth who does nothing but pout the entire 138 minutes), Russell Crowe commands the story with such force it’s often difficult to believe that he is the one playing a mortal. Taking Noah to extreme lengths, Crowe presents him as an utterly mad extremist, a man set on destroying the entirety of man-kind, as opposed to the peace keeping Noah people have come to know. It becomes difficult to side with a man so hellbent on destruction but the good nature of wife Naameh (Jennifer Connelly) reels in some of his unparalleled anger.
Long time collaborator Clint Mansell’s score is also of epic proportions, booming drums collide with haunting violins to mimic the chaos created by the combined forces of ‘the creator’ and man. Primarily complimenting the CGI heavy battle scenes to the highest degree this could be Mansell’s finest Aronofsky collaboration since Requiem For A Dream.
The relevance and timing of Noah couldn’t be more on schedule. As previously mentioned the desert barren lands would not look out of place in one of the many apocalyptic/dystopian films released the past few years and an under-lying eco warrior message is absolutely apparent. The events within the film could have happened in the past, it could be a fantasy world, or it could be about to happen (look closely into the landscapes, debris and ‘creation of life’ montage and see for yourself). This innovative, if not completely obvious to all, twist elevates the film from self-indulgent project to thought provoking and socially conscious.
Noah is definitely the most daring of stories to tell, so Aronofsky’s sheer determination and vision alone is worthy of merit. The path of the story does get lost amongst various colliding ideas at times but his cast manage to navigate through those tempestuous waters with the grace of a family who truly deserve to be saved.