Noah: Movie Review
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For the first time in cinematic history, the story of Noah comes to the big screen as a feature-length film in Darren Aronofsky's ambitious new release. The Academy Award nominated director and his co-screenwriter Ari Handel take audiences on a dramatic, provocative journey exploring the powerful themes of righteousness, courage, honor, temptation, sacrifice, faithfulness, grace, justice and mercy.
Noah takes on the momentous task of showing the Bible story when a man of faith obeyed God's command to build a boat before an apocalyptic flood covered the earth. Oscar winner Russell Crowe takes the lead as Noah, with Jennifer Connelly (A Beautiful Mind), Ray Winstone (The Departed), Emma Watson (Harry Potter series) and Sir Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs) in supporting roles.
This full-scale, visually epic presentation of Noah flashbacks to Creation and the fall of man, which ultimately leads to utter wickedness in the hearts of almost all of the earth's inhabitants. The state of humanity grieves God and in a series of artistic dreams, God reveals His plan to Noah. Aronofsky presents these plot points using his signature style of storytelling as he builds up to the devastation of the Great Flood. The film appropriately gives an authentic view of the events through the eyes of a mere man. The detailed representation of the ark and the beauty of God's creation are enchanting and wonderful.
Noah contains scenes of graphic violence and implied instances of sexual abuse. For these reasons and more (including a far shot of drunkenness and partial nudity), Noah is not recommended for children. The PG-13 rating of the film is warranted.
Though the film is full of visually compelling action and high intensity drama, some scenes do drag, prolonging the movement of the plot.
(Spoiler alert) It is noteworthy to mention that there are some surprises that could be a distraction for some audiences. Nephilim ("the Watchers"), though referenced in the Bible and other extra biblical sources, are not often associated with the Noah story, at least the Sunday School version most of us know. Their inclusion could cause some to disengage from these characters. Please know that this movie is not a reenactment of the biblical account, but one unique, cinematic take on the story. The filmmakers used the Jewish Midrash and the Book of Enoch as "extra" resources.
The overall presentation and artistry of Aronofsky's Noah is awe-inspiring. Its fluidity and attention to detail help to carry the plot through the story's end. The character development is provocative and humanizing, setting up introspective questions about justice, mercy, good, and evil. Noah affirms the biblical account found in the book of Genesis, Creation, man's original sin as the result of Adam and Eve, and the resulting wickedness in man that provoked the heart of God to release judgment. Scenes like these have never been seen on screen or depicted with such credibility.
Reminiscent of Gladiator and Braveheart, Noah has intense action and adventure sequences and heroic moments that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Crowe is a very believable Noah, revealing aspects of God's heart in various points in the film. The performances by the entire cast are riveting, engaging audiences to experience the emotions and traumatic, yet adventurous, journey of Noah and his family.
In the End
Though Aronofsky's interpretation of this Bible story is misguided and shrouded in controversy, Noah is a cinematic spectacle. Sadly, it is a film that rates high in the craft of movie making but completely misses the mark on facts. The faith community will be highly disappointed in Aronofsky's inability to convert Biblical truths into onscreen movie magic.
On a positive note, it is a movie that acknowledges Creation, reveals the sin nature of mankind, shows God's judgment, but most importantly illuminates His mercy.
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