Directed and co-written by Darren Aronofsky, Noah is a biblically inspired epic that follows the story of a man, Noah (Russell Crowe), and his family – his wife Naameh (Jennifer Connelly), sons Shem (Douglas Booth), Ham (Logan Lerman), and Japheth (Leo McHugh Carroll), Shem’s wife Ila (Emma Watson), and grandfather Methuselah (Anthony Hopkins) – who is chosen by his world’s creator to undertake a momentous mission before an apocalyptic flood cleanses the world. A story of courage, sacrifice and hope, as Noah is faced by an army led by the man who killed his father, Tubal-cain (Ray Winstone), how far will he go to accomplish a task set to him by God?
Packed with strong performances and brilliant visuals, Noah really is an epic. There really was no better man to lead this than Russell Crowe, and his rivalry with Ray Winstone certainly packs the punch that a story like this needs when being adapted on-screen. The cast is fantastic, with Emma Watson, especially, showing off some true talent. The equally brilliant performances bring the story to life with a huge momentum. And then there are the beautiful set locations, some of which I travelled to earlier this year (including the Icelandic beach at the end of the film). Darren Aronofsky really does have an eye for beauty with the, often dark, stories that he works with, and it was no different for Noah.
Yet I also have a major problem with the film, but it’s one I’m struggling to put into words. It’s to do with the story. I’m not religious in any way and don’t believe in any of the Bible, but I will still consider the Book of Genesis as a solid source that the film is based on. If the story of Aronofsky’s Noah was completely made up (meaning that there weren’t people who believed there was at least some truth in it), then I wouldn’t have any problems with the story in the slightest. But scenes of fantastical giant rock monsters and montages of evolution seemed out-of-place. Again, if the film wasn’t based on anything then I would have hugely welcomed these scenes and Aronofsky’s vision, but with the source being the Bible I felt these additions had no fitting place. It’s an awkward problem to have, but that’s the best way I can explain it. I respect that Aronofsky had to make the story work on-screen and to pad the short story of Noah and his ark out, but I think it’s something else to include evolution and fantasy when these are the two things that should be hugely avoided when talking about the Bible.