Review: Noah

Making a biblical story movie is never an easy task, and when Black Swan’s director is involved, we know that we can’t expect to see a christian channels version of Noah. The director Darren Aronofsky has taken a tremendous risk to modernize the prophet, open our eyes to a very creative magic power of god, and show the fallen angels in a very odd and organic shape of rocks. And no matter how accurate this movie is compared to every other version of Genesis, the message of the story is the same – evil will not survive.


Darren Aronofsky debuted his directing career with a very refreshing ‘Pi (π)’ in 1998, and just like all of his other movies, ‘Requiem for a Dream’, ‘The Fountain’ and ‘Black Swan’ etc. Mr. Aronofsky always gives a depth of the dark shade of his characters, and there is no exception for the world savior Noah, who is the first wine maker, drinker and the first drunkard by his guilt of letting people drown cruelly by god’s instruction, for whom Aronofsky has been fascinated since he was thirteen and urge to put it into a film project since 2007.


The movie opens in a very peculiar style, a prologue of the creation of world, a malicious giant snake is crawling towards the audience (if you watch the 3D version), Adam and Eve in Eden next to an apple tree, and the story progressively narrated to the time when their descendents are trying hard to survive on an uncultivated land where the lines of people grew apart and became rivals to each other.


Noah (Russell Crowe) is a righteous man, who together with Naameh (Jennifer Connelly) are the parents of three boys Shem (Douglas Booth), Ham (Logan Lerman) and Japheth. The goodhearted Noah prevents a wounded animal to be eaten by the savage hunters and gives a proper burial to the animal when it failed to survive. Noah’s family has found and adopted a little girl, Ila, who survived a holocaust later becomes Shem’s wife (Emma Watson). When the rival Tubal-cain comes for revenge, Noah and his family escape to a cursed land guarded by rock shaped, thunder voice, 6 armed fallen angels.


Noah sees a sign of miracle on the uncultivated land, he sees countless people are drowning by a massive flood in his premonition, and while he visits his grandfather Methuselah (Anthony Hopkins), Noah receives god’s instruction to build an ark to save his family and a sample of animals from the flood which will destroy the evil, greedy and violent people. Despite the thoughtful research and creative work with the animal speices, we barely see them  and it  is a missed opportunity for a wow-moment on the screen. Mr. Aronofsky has clearly shown the contrast between the Noah family’s kindness vis à vis Tubal-cain’s violent and brutal behavior, to the point where the rainbow – the promise from God has been overwhelmed by the strong vegetarian idea which might stay in each audience mind for a good period of time.


Besides the studio shots inside the ark was shot in New York. The rest of the scenes were shot in southern Iceland, the only perfect place on earth today where the beginning of the world can be seen. Mr. Aronofsky’s long time Philippine origin Director of Photography Matthew Libatique has done a very beautiful job along side a very particular visual effects work, and of course the music score from Clint Mansell – one of the most genius and sensitive composer of our time, grandiousely and heavily bringing the audience mood from the emptiness, strength, wickedness all the way to a very fearful and sorrow judgement day while the righteous ones have to survive passively by neglecting the evil’s unmerciful death.

– Shumaï Chou