Shrewsbury, Massachusetts-Darren Aronofsky is a bizarre filmmaker that you either really like or really hate. He’s created strong character pieces like Requiem for a Dream or The Wrestler, but also these weird, cerebral works like Black Swan or Pi that frustrate more than they titillate. So when Aronofsky decided to embark on a quest to make a film about Noah and the ark, no one was quite sure what to think. It could either be a surprise masterwork or an utter failure.
Noah, one of the last descendants of Seth, is troubled by nightmares. Every night he is plagued with prophetic visions of the planet’s destruction. Searching for answers he embarks out with his family to his grandfather, Methuselah. Methuselah gives Noah one of the last seeds of Eden to plant in the Earth. Noah plants the seed and a forest begins to grow around them and Noah knows what he must do: build an ark to survive the flood that is coming to wipe out the worst of humanity.
Noah is a strange brew. On one hand it is a revisionist tale where on the other it is a classic bible epic calling back to the days of The Ten Commandments and Ben-Hur. It appears Aronofsky wanted to create a modern day epic, but with the gritty Old Testament justice that Cecil B. Demille left out. It’s an interesting take on what happened in one of the most famous stories of all time by providing not only the flood, but the tempestuous 40 day/night journey inside of it.
The actors take their Biblical source material and run with it. Russel Crowe acts unsurprisingly pious yet just as Noah. Jennifer Connelly is perfectly maternal as Noah’s wife. Logan Lerman presents the hope for mankind as Noah’s innocent, yet easily swayed son Ham. Ray Winstone shows up as the villain of the piece and puts into justification the reasons for the flood.
Noah is a fascinating concoction from Darren Aronofsky because it’s hard to determine if it’s any good or not. There are moments of complete lunacy with rock monsters and heavy CGI, but they are swept under the darker, contemplative side of this classic story. Aronofsky has presented a film right in the middle of his work being both a campy epic, but also a compelling musing on the state of humanity.
Noah is available to rent via Redbox and to stream on Amazon, Vube, and other on demand sites.