Russell Crowe leads in another star studded historical vanity piece where he follows in the great shoes of… erm… Steve Carrell... to play Noah in the story of the ark and the great flood and all the animals coming by two by two and the widespread incest that presumably followed the cataclysm. Before you write the film off completely for all its bible-isms, realise that this is a Darren Aronofsky (The Fountain, The Wrestler, Black Swan), so it is time to put on your credible film watching hat as you watch this visually arresting but extremely po-faced yet hilariously melodramatic event film.
As Noah, the Crowe is a noble and humble patriarchal man, with long free flowing hair and man beard. Noah is obviously aware of the sin around him, represented here by a dark and gritty colour palette and scenes of the sex, violence and general bastardry. Obviously Noah is only one man, so he tries to do the best he can, leading a quietly saintly life devoted to God and his family represented by his wife Jennifer Connelly and his adopted daughter Emma Watson. Adopted. See? Selfless. What a guy.
|Because you're worth it.|
The Crowe has a dream of the world ending after God throws a hissy fit. The big cheese has seen far too much sex and violence, drunken debauchery and twerking and would rather just kill all of humanity and get back to making something cooler. Maybe dinosaurs, dragons, space Whales or an array of sharky hybrids.
His dream is only validated by sagely old Sir Anthony Hopkins, who provides further validation that this cataclysm is DEFINITELY coming. To save his family and all that is good in the world, Noah selflessly constructs an ark to brave the oncoming storm. It won’t be easy building a wooden titanic so things have to get serious. Witness the Crowe undergo a full on ‘Heisenberg’ transition and shave his head. He has no time for washing his hair or indeed annoyingly having his hair blow in his face. Things are literally that serious.
Not too many people take kindly to Noah’s ark building, here represented by the masses led by Ray Winstone’s cockney king. With Noah being a lowlier man, now sporting a shaved head, building this massive awesome boat thing and denying anyone else a place on it. It’s like he is saying that he is better than all of them. Sort of a dick move from Noah, you can sort of see where Ray Winstone is coming from.
|Animal hordes come forth!|
The Crowe is not alone, and so comes the first money shot, a computer generated horde of animals gathering at the ark. As cinema has taught us, animals have developed a six sense when disaster is about to strike and so they orderly board Noah’s ark.
The storm comes, meteorites fall, water literally explodes out of the earth and all this coincides with a big epic battle sequence where Ray Winstone’s army of blasphemous heathens try to take the ark. He was here to 'kill your monster' in Beowulf, he is her today to 'take your ark'. Big words, but they fail and mostly drown once the flood hits.
This all leads up to the second payoff, in which the realistically recreated ark braves the big computer generated storm of legend. There is a massive hill in the background and the whole audience is left to wonder why the survivors did'nt just run for the hills? Anyway things are getting mightily tense, as the ship creaks into action and all of Noah's resolve is put to the test in a head on match with big beard himself.
Despite all the spectacle and drama you always know that The Crowe will make it out in the end. It is scripture after all. If Noah's ark were to get destroyed and everything killed, you wouldn't have a movie would you? Well... you would, but it would be an extremely depressing and nihilistic film. Potentially it would be a brave retelling of the Noah parable where one man's misdirection from a non existent omnipotent entity gets all of his family killed despite his 'faith' and good intentions. This film will only be seen by the pretentious naval gazing crowd and for a movie costing upward of $130 million it would ultimately be a flop, so best play it safe.
The flood eventually subsides and the ark opens up and the survivors walk upon terra firma once again. The Crowe sees the flower from his dream and smiles quietly to himself before joining his family as they walk off to start a new world.
The movie went on to gross $800 million altogether, thanks in part to the retrofitted 3D and of course the repeat viewings from the US bible belt. The film achieved all this, despite the awkward implication that all of civilisation is basically inbred. You, me, your friends, your pets we are all essentially inbred and it's all thanks to Noah. This is what this movie is saying. This was the ultimate intention of film maker Darren Aronofsky. A brave inward looking point indeed.
FAVOURITE BITS FROM THE MOVIE
- All the bible references. Genesis is easily my favourite part of the bible and I was a fan before everybody else was. Genesis FTW.
- Sir Anthony Hopkins' death scene, in which he is cruelly killed by Winstone's men for blasphemy against the king. He dies in The Crowe's arms and with his last dying breath whispers "build the ark, save as many as you can". That was pure acting.
- The hair shaving scene. Badass.
- The bit when The Crowe selflessly risks his life to save one baby stick insect amidst the storm and all the fighting.
- The bit when The Crowe seizes the opportunity to selflessly save the life of his mortal enemy Ray Winstone in the midst of the storm, putting the whole plan at risk. But at the last moment, the cockney heathen king is snatched away by the waters, because God intends it. Unsuccessful but at least his intentions were good. The Crowe gains even more good karma from the saint McHero bank of the collective audience's mind.
- The bit when the bear saves Emma Watson from the rapist. Such a cool bear.
- The bit when the elephant farted, and everybody was like… "dayum… that shit is naaasty"
Noah threatens to make the old testament cool once again in a largely athiest society. With a star studded cast, big scenes of apocalyptic action with fireballs and lots and lots of barbarian sodomists drowning as they fucking well should. Undoubtedly this paves the way for the gritty bible story adaptation franchise. Of which we can expect great things like the Moses movie in 2016 starring Liam Neeson as the cantankerous Hebrew. Then of course we have the big one to look forward to. The Jesus trilogy kickstarting with Jesus Begins: Straight out of Bethlehem in 2017.
All hail God.
|A Parting Gif|