Darren Aronofsky is a great film director. He has this way of taking a story and making it completely his own, and most of the time, his take is totally genius. His newest venture, Noah (out today) is sort of a risk for him, in that he had to adapt his unique perspective to a biblical story without pissing off too many people. I think he succeeded.
If you’re unfamiliar with the story, it’s pretty simple: Noah (Russell Crowe) is a descendant of Adam, the first man. After some humans kind of go crazy and become evil, “the Creator” (a reference to God) punishes mankind by flooding the entire earth. Noah, his wife Naameh (Jennifer Connolly), their children Ham (Logan Lerman), Shem (Douglas Booth), and their adopted daughter Ila (Emma Watson) build an ark, pair up all the species in the world, and prepare to bunker down until the world rebuilds itself. Of course, Noah’s good intentions are challenged by a power-hungry army, led by his brother Tubal-Cain (Ray Winstone), and chaos (complete with lots of cringe-worthy violence) ensues.
Like all of Darren Aronofsky’s films, Noah is dark, moody, and downright uncomfortable to watch at times (remember that toe-cracking scene in Black Swan? I still shudder). But his artistic ability as a director shines in this film, which includes plenty of time-lapse photography, surreal special effects, and gritty, raw action.
The actors’ performances are pretty spot-on, too. I imagine it would be difficult to play a role in a film whose story is literally the cornerstone of like, half of the world’s lives, but they do it justice. Crowe stands out as an immensely flexible and believable actor, and Watson’s character development flows seamlessly.
I wouldn’t go to this movie expecting a true-to-form religious tale; Aronofsky takes some major artistic liberties his portrayal of the story, and that’s what makes the film interesting. Not many directors could pull this one off, but he does with grace. Bottom line: the story is good, the acting is great, but the genius cinematography is what makes this film worth seeing. (So, go!)Noah opens nationwide today, March 28.