"Noah" Movie Review: 2 1/2 Stars
by Michael Phillips
Neither fish nor fowl, neither foul nor inspiring, director and co-writer
Aronofsky's a determined sort of fever dreamer, whose work so far includes "Black Swan" and "The Wrestler" in the popular success category, along with his earlier "Pi" and "Requiem for a Dream."
His latest, one of the nuttier Bible-related movies in the history of the medium, finds the filmmaker trying to cope with a heavy load of digital effects (flood; supernatural beams of light; giant rock-formation beasts that move, talk and provide nonunion, ark-building labor) and a heavier load of audience preconceptions.
Many in the prospective audience will resist what Aronofsky has done to Their Noah.
This one, played with steely purpose by
Here's why "Noah" actually works much of the time, even when it's just asking for parodists to have their way with such a potential folly.
Aronofsky is interested in these people as people, not pop-up saints straight out of Sunday school. Although the director has a habit of letting the internal momentum of his dialogue scenes putter and then stall, his penchant for tight hand-held close-ups maintains a crude, heightened realism. Now and then, Aronofsky must pull back for more generic, digitally complex panoramas involving marauding armies or rock-formation "Watchers" (fallen angels, resembling a "Flintstones"-era version of "Transformers") doing their thing. There are two movies duking it out in "Noah," one close to the ground, the other up in the air, taking it all in. At its occasional best the film marries new technology with simple, striking visual notions, such as Noah's premonitions of the flood to come.
There's a roiling Cain / Abel dynamic between the older boys, and when Ham falls under the sway of Noah's sworn enemy, the
latest in a relatively short line of bloodthirsty, godless men descended from the Cain, the movie finds its most affecting
A lot of this picture is dubious, starting with the rock-giants, the friendliest of which is voiced by
Aronofsky has said he didn't want to indulge in one of those cliched images of Noah, shot from a low angle, backed by two of this and two of that. The movie may be erratic, and its sillier, heavier passages recall its maker's nutso epic "The Fountain."
Yet it's unpredictable, which is saying something, and it argues rather sweetly that if we had just listened to Noah, we'd all be vegetarians as well as more careful stewards of the only planet we've got.
MPAA rating: PG-13 (for violence, disturbing images and brief suggestive content). Running time: 2:19.
"Noah" Movie Trailer
"Noah" -- starring Russell Crowe -- is based after the classic story, and is full of drama. The film also stars Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson, Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, and Logan Lerman