Crowe Knocks it Out of the Ark


RUNNING TOWARD SALVATION: Russell Crowe as Noah is pelted by rain and frantically races ahead of the those damned by the Creator toward the safety of the ark.

Alexandra Duncan, Features Editor

Darren Aronofsky’s “Noah” showcases some very extreme alterations that bring to mind an apocalyptic action film rather than a story from the Bible.

Aronofsky, award-winning director of “Black Swan” (2010) and “The Wrestler” (2008), took it upon himself to fill in the blanks of the story of Noah and the great flood with his own action-packed version of the tale.

Despite his atheist background, Aronofsky has had this biblical tale in mind since the seventh grade when he wrote an award-winning poem based on Noah’s story.

Awe-inspiring special effects like the golden-eyed rock giants, and unexpected antagonists that represent the evil of mankind make this film a must-see for fans of the action genre.

To take Aronofsky’s overly imaginative interpretation of the Bible story literally, would be absurd and may hinder the viewer from enjoying its stunning visuals. Aronofsky does not try to convince the audience that his interpretation is biblically accurate.

Instead, he gives the story of the ark a little more pizzazz, with a more interesting storyline and a lot more action. If viewed for the sake of art, this director’s vision of “Noah” is a truly enjoyable film.

Although the film begins with a cheesy animation of the Bible version of creation, complete with a pulsating apple and a lime-green snake, it soon turns to live-action, depicting Noah’s conservative and vegetarian lifestyle in the bare plains of his home.

Noah, played by Russell Crowe (“A Winter’s Tale,” 2014), is a strong-willed and masculine patriarch whose blind faith in his creator has led him on a path to save all of the innocent creatures of the world from the coming storm.

Noah sees utter horror when he visits the sinful, industrialized and rapacious descendants of Cain — a scene played masterfully by Crowe.

Noah is miraculously around 500 years old at this time and is skilled in martial arts, defeating enemies with a bow staff while using some rather advanced forms of self-defense.

Rather than the divine voice of God, the creator comes to Noah in the form of visions, the first of which shows that God will destroy his many disappointments with a flood. He is then joined by a couple of jagged and molten-eyed rock giants known as “watchers,” who help him build the ark.

Despite their random entry into this biblical tale, “the watchers” are visually stunning.

Throughout the film, we see Noah slowly transform into a monster himself, as the pressures of pleasing the Creator tear away at his mind.

Noah’s interpretation of his visions from God begin to conflict with his love for his family. He believes God is simply using him as a tool to save the animals, while simultaneously cleansing the earth of evil.

“We will work, complete our task and die with the rest.”

Emma Watson (“This Is the End,” 2013) plays Ila, a child taken in by Noah’s family, and is the glue that holds the film’s plot together. Orphaned and wounded at a young age, she becomes the love interest for Noah’s eldest son, Shem, played by Douglas Booth (“Romeo and Juliet,” 2013).

Watson’s performance is heart wrenching and delivers the pure emotion that is lacking in Crowe’s solemn expressions.

Methuselah, played by Anthony Hopkins (“Thor: The Dark World,” 2013), provides much- needed lightness and optimism in contrast to the dark overtones of the film.

Noah’s wife, Naameh, played by Jennifer Connelly (“Aloft,” 2014), is the voice of reason when Noah believes the murder of firstborns is God’s will.

Although “Noah,” strays far from the original Bible story, it asks critical questions that allow the audience to walk away with valuable food for thought.

“Noah” is rated PG-13 and runs for 139 minutes.