Like the beginnings of a rain storm, Noah starts with drips and drops which seem pointless and ineffective. Slowly but surely, though, the rain begins to pour and starts achieving its task of soaking you through and through until it becomes a deluge; an almighty storm which shakes you to your foundations and leaves you feeling soaked and weathered yet still not beaten.
Noah is by no means a masterpiece, or even the best film of the year so far but it is ambitious and no one can fault it for that. It takes some time for Director Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, The Wrestler, The Fountain) to find his feet but when he does get into his stride, it is unstoppable and impressive. He matches the grand scale of the biblical story with an incredible all encompassing vision of humanity which is so rare in such an enormous blockbuster. He’s touched on the themes before in The Fountain which, though equally ambitious, was a lot more perplexing. Here it is done with such clarity and ingenuity it is hard not to appreciate.
Yes, some of it becomes a little too fantastical and melodramatic, for instance a fight between Cain (played on traditionally gruff form by Ray Winstone) and Noah (Russel Crowe at his Gladiator best) feels somewhat unnecessary and contrived. But in Noah we have an extraordinary and engaging lead who is surprisingly complex. He struggles with morals, death and his extraordinary task in a fascinating way, Crowe is clearly at home with this sort of character. The themes it tackles are truly biblical in scale, the nature of Humanity is explored in depth via the extraordinary cast and their characters’ struggles. Even periphery characters like Noah’s eldest son Shem (who falls for the beautiful but barren Ila played by Emma Watson, who is finally shedding the Hermione Granger skin) get a look in with a little complexity despite a lack of screen time.
Their lives can be nasty, brutish and short but still have redemptive qualities; I love the attempt to shed light on such hefty topics in such a large scale epic even if, on occasion, its delivery is somewhat bungling. Yes, there are odd moments and missteps which shake you out of the film but what surrounds these minor mistakes is a genuinely thrilling & visionary disaster movie, something which cannot be praised enough.