Noah – Review

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Barren landscapes mined to exhaustion, metropolises suffering from overpopulation, species wiped out and a society that believes in taking what it wants with no concern for the consequences.  Sound familiar?  This is the story of Noah, the latest film from Darren Aronofsky that uses the Old Testament text to hold a mirror up to our culture of consumerism and wanton apathy.

Russel Crowe stars as Noah, the descendant of Seth (son of Adam) who struggles in this world to do what is right and just.  His family respect life, he raises his sons and keeps his wife safe from the corrupt societies of the descendants of Cain, the first murderer.  Noah is sent a vision by the Creator, a great flood is to cleanse the world of all those who abused the gift of it.  Noah is to build an ark, rescuing the innocent creatures from the deluge and reseeding the world in the aftermath.  He must struggle against the attacks of the Descendants of Cain (led by the charismatic Ray Winston as Tubel-Cain), the challenges of being a father and the demands of his divine task with ever more uncertain consequences.

A lot of people will know the story of Noah from The Bible; the animals going in two-by-two, the dove with the branch, etc.  What Aronofsky has done is taken the bones from the original chapters of Genesis and woven a story that comments on issues of environment and belief but tells it in the epic and grandiose canvas the Old Testament deserves.  There is no ambiguity here; there is a Creator, there are angels made of rock (imagine igneous Ents), magical minerals that create fire when struck, towers of water erupting from the ground and more.  It tells an epic tale with an equally epic scope, a prehistoric action film from a mythical time.

The worst thing you could do is go in with your preconceptions about religion.  Leave those at the door and instead open up to a film more akin to a legend than a story.  Yes, it does have its flaws.  It struggles like all movie adaptions with taking its own journey whilst juggling the restrictions of the course text, and that sometimes pulls you out of the flow.  But if you keep an open mind I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Noah is released across the UK on April 4th 2014.

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