English (U/A) ****
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Cast: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Emma Watson, AnthonyHopkins
Meet Noah (Crowe), a descendent of Adam and Eve’s good son, Seth, who leads a spartan life with his wife Naameh (Connolly) and sons Ham, Shem and Japheth, living piously as the Creator meant - being vegetarian and not harming either human or animal.
In complete contrast are the descendents of Cain, led by Tubal-Cain (Winstone) who fight, destroy and kill any creature, probably fight the earth as well. The Creator has lost his patience and reveals to Noah a vision of The Great Flood, which will send the wicked to their death. With advice from grandfather Methuselah (Hopkins), Noah begins work on a giant ark to protect God’s creatures, sans humans that should be spared extinction.
The Watchers, fallen angels with odd-shaped rock bodies assist Noah and kin as they build the ark, going so far as to protect them from Tubal-Cain’s clan, who wish to board the ark.
And thus, we have a biblical adaptation, which is both stupendous and horrendous. Director Aronofksy’s interpretation is replete with several changes, so much that Noah is neither entirely Torah nor fantasy. There’s plenty of Lord of the Rings inspiration here as well as Waterworld (1995).
Crowe, who achieved international stardom in Gladiator (2000), as Noah is the perfect fit, an action hero who turns antihero, when he wonders if evil lives in his family too, and if they should be killed as they reach Arafat. There are good performances from Hopkins, Watson and Connolly as well, though the women are rather pretty and tidy for that period.
Noah is more about the life of Noah, and his quest to fight people off the ark; it’s not so much about the CGI rendered animals, which is an intrinsic element in the Scripture. The film is not for the faint-hearted and has its share of violence – of live animals being torn apart and eaten raw, people being stabbed, trampled and hacked, and on the positive side, a beautiful view of the earth’s atmosphere from outer space being swallowed by cyclonic clouds.
Here is a disaster film that sends out a strong environmental overtone – Is our present day planet so contaminated with slaughter of animals – and if we should turn vegetarian?