Rated: PG-13 for violence, disturbing images and brief suggestive content. Reviewed by: Frank Release date: March 28, 2014 Released by: Paramount Pictures Corporation
Director-writer, Darron Aronofsky has directed with an edge in just about all of his work. Black Swan, dark but engrossing won an Academy Award and Requiem for a Dream was on my best film list and is one of the most creative works on film. In Noah he has produced a film which could easily be on the worst films list of 2014.
Russell Crowe is the heroic Noah who while living on a desolate land, we assume humans trashed it, continues to have underwater dreams. But it takes tainted tea from his father (Anthony Hopkins) to set him into a vision of what he must do to carry out God's work assigned to him. Hopkins' Methuselah is a mystical old man who has in the past crushed the evil decedents of Cain of Adam and Eve with his power staff which sprays fire across the attacking lines of evil men. He some times appears to be a man and others a mystic and makes appearances over and over again to connect with the family of Noah to give advice. In his final appearance he receives the reward of his dreams fresh berries from the vine.
But dad's power is spectacular, with a little water and a flowering bush he forces the immediate growth of a seasoned forest on the barren land and that becomes the wood to build the arc.
Most ridiculous in the film is the appearance of rock people who come from rock and lava having been placed there by God for their transgressions. They are however good citizens who want the help Noah with the arc. These giant rock formations much like those seen in Star Trek and Tim Allen's Galaxy Quest become the workers cutting trees and shaping them into wood to build the water going building Noah and his family are working on.
Some have complained about religious differences with the tone and direction of the film but that is the least of the problems with this film. Ray Winstone playing the decedent of Cain heads an army of violent destructive men who pillage, rape and plan to attack Noah's project. He also has special powers, shooting fire rockets into the sky. All of the early going could have been part of a Science Fiction film taking place on some burnt out planet light years away. As part of the story of Noah the pure man in a world of evil from the bible it becomes laughable and silly.
The snake and apple continue to appear as the story develops. It's Cain's clan that is the evil on Earth that Noah believes he must help destroy, he also decides he must be the last father and his children must be the last humans on the planet. That theme fills the last book on the film. Here he is a crazed man determined to end humankind and leave the World for the animals and plants who will not destroy each other and the natural world.
Jennifer Connelly, is the understanding wife who has little to say until Noah having learned to make wine becomes a drunk and goes after his own offspring, at that point her role is strong, as is Emma Watson's work that has an impact for the same reason as Connelly.
A film filled with academy award winners and directed by a creative guy should give more to a project. We only get the danger to Noah's family, rock men building the arc, crazy Cain family followers along with an unhinged Noah who is blind to the notion of free will and only can see a limited dark assignment from God. We can only hope that God will save us from this misfortune.