The story of Noah has probably got to be one of the most retold Bible stories of all time. Generations upon generations have been raised on the whimsical tales of Noah and his animal ark, they came two by two. Yet its also one of the more disturbing stories in the bible, a story of a global disaster never seen again. It’s also a story that has captured director Darren Aronofsky for a very long time.
Aronofsky has been itching to remake this story, and with his name to both the directing and screenplay credits its no wonder this film takes on a very unique journey as he explores the very character of Noah.
Before I get too much further down this list one thing needs to be very clear, this is not the Bibles version of Noah…. No far from it, while the storyline is loosely based around the premises of the biblical Noah the distinction is made very early on in the film. In fact 10 seconds into the film.
Russell Crowe is cast as Noah, a man who lives simply off the land never taking more than he needs to live. His family live in solitude away from the excessive lifestyles of Man, those who are direct descendants of Cain. These men have grown in number around the world, and their excessive living and disregard for each other and the environment has caused great pain for the creator.
The leader of Men is Ray Winstone, one of my favourite actors, as Cabal-Cain. His character summarizes the nature of men, that they own the planet and should subdue it. His leadership has brought violence and vengeance across the globe, and misery to those underneath him.
So through a series of visions the Creator calls Noah to make an Ark to save the innocent from a devastating flood that will destroy all life, and ultimately refresh the planet.
Part of Aronofsky’s dark wasteland vision of Noah includes a couple of fallen angels who have become some form of disturbing rock base transformers. Yes I said transformers, its hard not to make the distinct link. These characters are called the Watchers and they too have been betrayed by man, so when the Creator shows favour to Noah they decide to support him in his work to build the Ark, and ultimately defend it from the hordes of men who try so desperately hard to get on board as the flood waters start to rise.
There is plenty going on here, the side stories and implications of decisions made by each character is played out, in some cases exhaustively. The story really feels like a number of concepts all tacked together. There is a heavy underlying commentary on the environment, which is very much evident in the pre-flood landscapes that Aronofsky paints, and a bounty of montages which challenges the never ending cycle of violence in society.
In fact one aspect I did like was Aronofsky’s interpretation of Creation.
However the movie annoyed me. I started to dislike it by halfway through, just wishing it would end. Special effects were both great and clunky. The story seemed to be disjointed and the ending felt like a long haul slog through a series of weird twists, turns and rapid resolutions.
I know potentially I’m fighting some long held beliefs of what the story of Noah could have been. After a days reflection I’ve come to the conclusion that disappointments on the authenticity aside the movie still has a number of flaws that frustrated me.