Sink or Swim with “Noah”

It feels good to be back.  I was pretty much on vacation last week, and I told myself I’d take a moment to do some writing.  It never quite came to that.  However, I’m back and I think I have a good one movie for you guys. For today were gonna take a look at the “Epic” Noah.  This adaptation by Darren Aronofsky of the household tale of Noah and the Arc.  Staring Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly.  This tale of Noah is very much a mix bag of tricks.  You cant take religion out of a movie like this, but you can inject drama, science and mischief.

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So does Noah “faithfully” tell the tale in a way that resonates with modern audiences?  On surface value the answer is yes, with a 70+% rating on rotten tomatoes and grossing almost 400 million at the box office.  Let’s swim alittle deeper though, shall we?

Off the bat, the first thing you’ll likely notice is the movie never uses the term “GOD”.  They instead use the term “The Creator”.  Much of the staff made comments to how the story of Noah is shared between many relgious text.  This may be an attempt to reach “common ground”, it could also be a deliberate anti-Christian movie.  Make no mistake, there are alot of overtones to make this story not about christianity/Catholicism.

On surface value, the one thing you can take away from this film, is that it’s beautiful.  A big round of applause to the special effects and Art teams for making such a beautiful world.    They have a very firm grasp on the use of colors and given further leverage with some set pieces.  Scenes that they get to virtually flex their muscles.  Like the scene illustrated below.  Its a beautiful sequence, probably the best scene of the film.  Its a video about “Genesis”.  It is nothing short of excellent, A 7 day creation sequence, it was a gentle combination of the thought of genesis with religion and science, take a look yourself.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwSWRdbSQK0&w=560&h=315]

The film starts off refreshing. Again supplied in part by the artistic direction of the movie. Noah’s character just wants to live righteously. When presented with visions from the creator. He seeks the appropriate counsel to help him understand its meaning. There is a very obvious sense of hopefulness. His task may be difficult, but it is an honor and a privilege to do it. He has the full support of his family and some help from an unlikely source (Don’t want to spoil it). However, as the fate of all things “Gritty”. The movie takes on darker overtones as the film goes on. While the first act of the movie is about hope and rebirth. The rest of the film literally flips on its head when it becomes more about hopelessness and death. To be honest, I cant tell if I respect the movie more for this. While I am not a fan of the legion of movies with gritty overtones, the film presents the struggle as not being pretty.

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The performances were pretty good. Russell Crowe is born for roles like this. The entire film is a pedestal for him to stand on, and just look great doing it. He even goes through quite a range of emotions and motivations. Which is a little refreshing because you figured that part would be set in stone. Jennifer Conley does well as his wife, this is the second time the two have paired as husband and wife (A beautiful Mind). I guess if the first marriage works, do the second. After that, Hermione…. ahhh, I mean Emma Watson takes a pretty big part. Noah’s sons either tend to be not apart of the real equation or whiney to a fault. Anthony Hopkins has some screen time as well, doing what he does best, seemingly be the smartest person in the room.

The movie is a bit long. It almost feels like they added an entire extra act just for the sake of doing it. The dialogue is also not amazing, the script for this movie in no way warrants it running time. They literally just dont talk too much. I actually found the main nemesis of the movie, Tubal Cain portrayed by Ray Winstone, has the better dialogue of the film. Considering Russell Crowe and Anthony Hopkins is in this movie. I shouldn’t even be able to consider that as a valid thing. This movie is an “epic” so you shouldn’t be watching it for the dialogue anyway. It’s just there to get us from set piece to set piece, and in that regard it does just fine.

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You could easily label this movie as religious. It’s the story of Noah, the great flood. However, this movie does feel a little anti religious and a little anti science at the same time. Its a blend of both. Darren Aronofsky is known for a darker step .. Requiem for a Dream and Black Swan are his two more famous pieces of work. This movie isn’t about faith, its not here to make you a believer, its not here to make you doubt. Its a story about a family, a family with a burden and that burdens are hard. The path can and to an extent will be difficult. The liberties taken just to pay attention to the story are many, and may irritate the seriously religious.

So would you like this movie, yeah I think so. As I said, those of serious religious convictions are going to have some qualms about the movie. I certainly won’t say they dont have the right too. Religious based movies are usually just more personal. It’s not just material people are familiar with, its material that people based their beliefs off of. Can you blame someone who cant “turn off” there beliefs, I dont.

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