Noah tells a story of a righteous man whose mission is to annihilate Earth’s past and pioneer its future, and never has the fury of the Old Testament come across so unnervingly as it does in Darren Aronofsky’s ambitious adaptation of one of Bible’s most famous chapters. Predictability never gets to board the ship, and the script is anchored well on fresh perspectives, and Aronofsky shows tremendous respect to the original source material while he veins into it his own creative blood to ink these new revisions. You can literally feel the director’s passion flowing in the narrative as it tightropes between irrational and dead-pan seriousness, pushing the ‘formula’ a notch higher.
Staged very much like a superhero origin story, the film starts in the Beginning, where we get to catch up with Adam and Eve’s original sin, the rivalry between their sons Cain and Abel, and how this all catches up with child Noah who’s destined for great things in life. Enters a grown up Noah (Russel Crowe), who resides in Canaan with wife Naameh (Jennifer Connely) and three sons. He comes across a wounded young girl Ila who has lost her family to massacre, and takes her in. Recurring bad dreams of water trouble his senses, and after consultation with Methuselah (Anthony Hopkins in another brilliant role!), he understands that The Creator is going to obliterate all forms of life from Earth, and his task is to create an ark that could preserve humanity.
Aronofsky delves into character study once again after The Wrestler and Black Swan, exploring the duality in man’s nature – while Noah always comes across as a strong masculine figure, there comes a point in time where he’s confused in what exactly The Creator’s will is, it’s through Noah that the film channels its maximum emotional complexity. Russel Crowe projects Noah’s self-doubt in a very realistic and believable manner, and there’s a particular sequence in the film where he tells a pregnant Ila (Emma Watson) that if she bears a daughter, he shall kill the child. The manner in which he says it makes it one of the most important scenes in the film. Also, Noah’s decency to madness transformation is a testimony to the actor’s brilliance. Connely complements Crowe with her grounded performance.
Apart from the acting department, other goodness in the film was offered by the computer-generated animal kingdom showing up in the two-by-two. There’s this scene where the imagery created is breathtaking – the great floods just begin, and the camera plays its part well in making us visualize that the whole world enveloped in the storm. The let-downs in the film is probably the Transformers like warriors attacking Noah, but that can be spared.
Those who believe they’re Noah know-alls should check the film out, for their beliefs are bound to be shattered. A major chunk of Aronofsky’s Noah is so good that you will excuse the casual vernacular they’ve employed throughout the film. Their better efforts have gone on the technical fronts to glorify the marvel Noah is, and it shows.