“A great flood is coming. The waters of the heavens will meet the waters of earth. We build a vessel to survive the storm. We build an ark.”
— Noah, Noah (2014)
In the auteur Darren Aronofsky’s interpretation of the book Genesis from The Old Testament, there are stone golems prior to the Great Flood and Noah’s Ark. Apparently, it’s not the ordinary bible we always read; or could it be the same bible? Or is Aronofsky a real savant to picture every single detail of the chronicles accurately? His latest film and (probably) first blockbuster attempt, Noah, is so acutely thought-provoking it insists me to read the bible once more; and what I find is surprising.
Adapting the tale of Noah to screen is, obviously, a cliche; as we all know how it starts and how it ends. However, Aronofsky takes a completely different approach to narrate this biblical epic; instead of placing the great flood as a finale, he puts it in the middle of the film, causing the climax (seems to) come earlier and segmenting the film into three main acts: pre-flood, the flood, and post-flood storyline with distinct characteristics. And, instead of using natural approach like Mel Gibson in The Passion of the Christ or, say, the latest Son of God, Aronofsky uses a fantasy genre and CGI that makes Noah looks like The Hobbit (or his own work The Fountain?), with a more depressive tone.
A believer and a vegan, Noah (Russell Crowe), whose past is tragic, receives a revelation from The Creator (a direct reference to God) about a great flood that will sweep away the Earth and devastate everything lives inside as a reprisal to what the descendants of Cain has done to Earth. With his nuclear family plus his step-daughter, Ila (Emma Watson), and a band of fallen angels, Noah does the deeds. However, what else will come if the flood is not the finale? There will be more ‘flood’ coming.
Some say Noah deviates Aronofsky’s standard patterns of ‘mind-blowing’, yet, I don’t personally agree. Noah might be the first movie to insist me on checking the Bible—only to make sure whether Tubal-Cain or fallen angels exist, or whether Noah sleeps naked on the shore; when I know those things are true, I know Noah is mind-blowing. Aronofsky completes his magnum opus with mesmerizing visuals of the earth before technology (look at the sky—so bright we can see stars during the day)—save the grandeur imagery of The Creation and The First Killing through beautiful time-lapses.
With stunning visuals and audacious interpretation of Bible, Noah, indeed, has the shade of Aronofsky. Only the decision to put the flood in the middle makes the movie feel a little too draggy during the third act. Controversy… that’s Noah in Aronofsky’s pitch.
Drama, Fantasy Running Time: 138 mins Directed by: Darren Aronofsky Written by: Darren Aronofsky, Ari Handel Starred by: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Conelly, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, Douglas Booth, Anthony Hopkins, Ray Winstone Rated PG-13 for violence, disturbing images and brief suggestive content