Movie Review: “Noah” – A Bit of a Wash

Written by Caitlin Cooper April 26, 2014

Noah

“Noah”, directed and written by Darren Aronofsky and Ari Hendel, and starring Russell Crowe, Emma Watson, and Douglas Booth, is a biblical re-telling of Noah’s arc. Noah (Crowe) is given a vision by God which informs him he needs to build an arc to save ‘innocent’ life – animals – before God cleanses the earth with a large flood. Noah along with his wife, Naameh (Jennifer Connelly), their sons – including Shem (Booth) and Ham (Lerman) – and their adopted daughter, Ila (Watson) are tasked with spending years to make the arc. Animals journey to the arc and willingly take their place amongst the other animals. But it’s not as simple as it seems; King Tubal-cain is determined to be on the arc and will do anything he can to survive the flood.

For a movie that did well its opening weekend, the film is a bit of a disappointment. Aronofsky and Handel tried to make a brief story from the bible into an epic historical tale with supernatural elements, but the writing is just flat. The movie tries too hard to be too many things so it ends up coming across a bit confused. Does it want to be an action film? Does it want to be a fantasy film? Does it want to be a film about young love? It can’t decide so there’s too much going on at once and not much to connect with as an audience.

“Fire consumes all. Water cleanses.”

The most interesting plot-line is actually only a subplot: the story of Ila and Shem. The young couple gives us viewers something to root for in a film that is otherwise distanced from its audience. Their interactions have minimal screen time for the majority of the film and yet their relationship is believable. Their romance is set up near the beginning of the movie so it’s not some cliché random attraction that is common in Hollywood films. Their little family is the only thing which brings hope to the otherwise dark film.

Noah

The cast is great. There are a lot of well-known names like Crowe, Connelly, Hopkins, Watson, Lerman, and Booth (though Booth is relatively new to mainstream acting). The acting is actually well done and is one of the high points of “Noah”. But is the acting enough to save it? Yes and no. The film has a strong cast but the pacing, plot, and dialogue aren’t very well done.

“I’m glad it begins again with you. Maybe we’ll learn to be kind.”

The other strong point of the film is the CGI. All of the animals, the little stories which are told by various characters that involve montages and, of course, any supernatural aspects are CGI. The special effects are very well done, but if that’s one of the only positive things about a film, then something is not right. A film which is based on a story should itself have a strong story. The motif of storytelling is a nice touch – though sometimes inconsistent – but otherwise the script is lackluster.

Noah

Overall, “Noah” is a film which tries to do too much and suffers for it. The sub-plot of Shem and Ila ends up being the most interesting aspect of the film. Also, the cast is great. These are two of the only things which make this movie somewhat enjoyable. If you tend to like biblical re-tellings then perhaps this movie will be your cup of tea, but it sure isn’t mine.

My Rating: 5.5/10

 Noah

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About Caitlin Cooper

Caitlin Cooper

Caitlin is an avid watcher of movies and television shows so she decided to use her passion to write about them. She has a B.A. in English Language and Literature with a Minor in Creative Writing.

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