There are some movies that sticks with you for a long long time, twisting and turning your perspectives of the real life, even resorting to them for the unanswered questions life throws at you. For now, two movies adheres to me, David Fincher’s Fight Club and Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain. Two of the most influential and inspiring movies of our times, panned by the critics upon release and shot to cultdom post home-video release. Of the lot Fight Club would appeal to a more casual audience, thanks to Brad Pitt’s chiseled looks and its rebellious narrative, Fight Club does wonders to a semi-insurgent. But The Fountain is a whole different ball game and you can read more of it here. I wouldn’t call it an easy watch and definitely not Darren Aronofsky’s masterpiece, its glimmer only appeals to the ones that truly seek them.
From a Director who has constantly bestowed upon us, a slew of AAA movies like Pi, Requiem For a Dream, The Fountain, The Wrestler and the Black Swan comes Noah. For Aronofsky newbies, Noah could be considered to be one of his most accessible movies. Then again as it revolves around the Genesis of Noah’s Ark and The Great Flood, it might prove to be more offensive to them than his unconventional offish movies. Its not exactly a retelling of the Biblical Noah that we are all familiar wih. Instead he has taken his creative freedom and inspiration in taking characters from Bible. So a bearded saint like Noah that you’d pictured is a brawny badass here, remorselessly killing anybody who comes in his way, the path he himself interprets from signs, he believes are, from The Creator. As obvious as it is, it is a sensitive topic and would undoubtedly hurt alot. But take note here, Noah is not in any ways a religious movie and to consider it just as a fantasy movie inspired from characters from barely 3 pages of the Bible would be wise. Blending magic and myth aint new in Hollywood.
Aronofsky definitely steps out of his comfort zone here, and that’s exactly why it feels lazy. While his previous movies had original characters, Noah borrows and beefs up characters from the Bible and its bound to be true to its roots at least a bit. Creative freedom cannot do so much change as to rewrite a Biblical persona. So, yes this also becomes Aronofsky’s weakest movies in terms of narrative. But being weak doesn’t mean its not entertaining, it makes for a brilliant fantasy movie with enough drama and action. Its often people’s obstinance to overlook that these are Biblical and holy that makes it look dull. Consider it a plain Disaster movie or Fantasy and it fits perfectly the niche. Not the best, but entertaining nonetheless.
Russel Crowe plays the titular Noah and he’s as badass as any Biblical figure can get. He breaks the usual stereotypes of bearded, calm figures and becomes a true badass and a force to reckon with. He also convincingly portrays the vulnerabilities of a mere mortal who is self-assigned to protect mankind along with all the creatures, albeit dealing with his own family’s well being. Jennifer Connelly playing Noah’s wife Naameh, doesn’t get to shine until the second act and I’d say she was well cast. Emma Watson plays Ila, a character written extensively for the movie and does justice to her role but wasnt that a bit too much screentime for her? Ray Winstone as Tubal-cain was sheer intimidating, an adversary truly worthy of mention despite his petty screentime and the way he manipulates Noah’s son, sheer evil. Sir Anthony Hopkins plays Methuselah, Noah’s grandfather who displays a good performance winning over the short time he’s allotted to. The cast also includes Logan Lerman as Ham and Douglas Booth as Shem who were meh.
It wouldn’t be an Aronofsky movie if not for his style and visuals. While the CG animals and Ark was passable, it was some of the timelapse shots that truly had me dumbfound. This particular sequence which followed evolution also had me in awe. There were ofcourse the Guardians that resembled Golems that made for a pleasant fantasy addition as well. Noah is definitely dark and considering how its source material had its own dark shades at times, it is only justifiable. Clint Mansell’s composition, although not as striking as Requiem or Fountain, does have its edge. Performed by Kronos Quartet, while some tracks were truly haunting, many a times I noticed that it shared a string or two with The Fountain‘s score.
Noah is by no means, Aronofsky’s best. But for what its worth, he’s made a compelling quasi-fantasy drama with source material barely spanning 3 chapters. I wouldn’t call it Biblical or the least bit religious and I find no reason to detest anything I have seen. Its not because I am analogically neutral; In what I saw, among its flaws I was able to find the best and I loved it. Still want to talk faith? Aeons from now, I wouldn’t be surprised if Durdenism becomes a valid religion with its own testaments, idols and whatnot neither will I be surprised if my own kin are devotees.