Sat 10 Dec 2016
I have a hard time placing this film. On one side it’s so typically hollywoodish – it’s a super-production with Bible-related content that would make it probably to many Christian films festivals. It’s very conventional in its ecological message and the morality tale that it tells is quite conventional, and of course, we know the end of the story, either because we have read the bible, or because we have seen enough films from Hollywood or for both reasons. On the other side it’s a film by Darren Aronofsky, so there is a dose of madness in its characters. The special effects are 100% created for the movie (no real life animal image was used). There are pieces of cinema quality which eventually help this film not to completely drown in the big waters.
So it’s the story of the apocalyptic flood with several twists. Some of them are that Noah (who is five centuries old in the Bible story) is a father of a not so happy family and is a vegetarian. The other is that the Giants take an active part in the story and they resemble The Transformers. Then we have the moral dilemma and the lead character who is put to test by God in a way that rather resembles the story of Abraham rather than the one of Noah. The mix between fanaticism and madness is not completely lost for anybody who read the Old Testament, many of its heroes are put to test by their God in a way that cannot be judged by modern reality tests, and their responses are in many cases appropriate. Russell Crowe is an excellent fit for the role, at least for its non-Gladiator parts.
With a moralistic story that is impossible to tell in credible terms and with an overdose of ecological and pacifistic messages, the film could have easily slid into complete ridicule. What saves it are elements of professionalism in the story telling, solid (but not stellar acting) from stars like Crow, Jennifer Connelly (back in a film of Aronofsky after the unforgettable Requiem for a Dream), Emma Watson, Anthony Hopkins (fun wig), and the computer-generated special effects which succeed to create a level of thrill to a story that was so many times already painted if not filmed. But did we really need a Darren Aronofsky for all these?