johnlink ranks NOAH (2014)

I certainly didn’t set out to watch two movies about faith in back to back nights. THE ZERO THEOREM turned out to be a movie – unexpectedly – about faith. NOAH, a little more obviously, is about faith. Interestingly, though, this biblical epic is made by a renowned atheist Darren Aronofsky. That promises, at the least, an interesting experience… right?


I watched NOAH (2014) on 5.14.15. It was my first viewing of the film.

Darren Aronofksy did not go into NOAH to make a safe movie. He decided to use a biblical character to tell a story of heroism, choosing to use the Biblical stories as a springboard to tell a more complex story. As a viewer without any attachment whatsoever to the original myth, the choice to do so didn’t effect my enjoyment one way or the other. But some of the choices made were bold, even if they all didn’t seem to work.

NOAH is a movie which tries to be bigger than it is. The special effects are not always superb, with many of the animals coming onto the arc being unconvincing in their travels. While the arc itself isn’t too bad, the overall feeling is that of a movie which has its world painted in. Nothing feels like it is grounded or pre-existing, it all feels very greenscreeny.. That is not to say that Aronofsky doesn’t create some stunning visuals. Some of the single-frame stills look fabulous. Unfortunately, they don’t add up to a movie which feels real.

Perhaps, it could be said, that is a bit of the point. By attacking the film as pure magical myth rather than story-of-truth, Aronofsky is liberating himself from the need to be true to anyone’s preconceived notions of Noah. In fact, this Noah (played by a grumpy Russell Crowe) is a deeply flawed man who will kill for his Creator at a moment’s notice, even if it means offing his own family and ending mankind. This is Noah as brooding action-star rather than wise-old-man. That makes for some interesting bits in the first act and a half of the film, but the last act becomes something a bit absurd, something a bit off-track, as Noah turns his eye to his own family on the arc.


The family is well played on the female side. Jennifer Connelly gives proper weight to his wife, Naameh. And Emma Watson’s Ila has the most poignant moments of the film, as in when Methselah (Anthony Hopkins) magically fixes her infertility and she biomes – shall we say – immediately excited. The male side is a little less convincing. Noah’s sons, played by Logan Lerman and Douglas Booth, are both far too chiseled and made-up to feel like real men. Perhaps that is a double-standard. Perhaps Watson and Connelly are just as put-on. But the female performances don’t make you notice, where the male actors do.

There are angels trapped in stone, and these creatures are interesting. They move with a soggy grace, first capturing Noah’s family and then helping them build the arc, explaining the age old question – How did Noah build that thing? – why, with magic angel stone men of course! These beings work for the film, and the movie loses much of its magic when they go.

Ultimately, though, NOAH feels like a lightweight movie in the guise of an epic. The scope of the film is actually quite small, but it seems like the movie never even realizes it. Instead, we are constantly treated to grand dramatic moments which often feel more hollow than powerful. Crowe, for his part, is not bad as Noah. The errors seem to be more in character creation from the script rather than in the performance. But, regardless, this turns out to be a truly minor film.




FINAL SCORE: 5 out of 10

~ by johnlink00 on May 14, 2015.

One Response to “johnlink ranks NOAH (2014)”

  1. Good review John. Every bit as weird as I’d expect from Aronofsky. But man, I hardly ever lost interest.

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