Darren Aronofsky is a director that's synonymous with the word "greatness". If you were to watch any of his past films (Pi, Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain, The Wrestler, Black Swan) you would no doubt be in agreement at the sheer mastery that he has behind the camera. His films are always beautifully shot, but at the heart all tell very real and very human stories about deeply flawed characters.
Aronofsky now tackles the Biblical Epic with his take on the story of [Noah](movie:204057) and the Ark. For those who are Bible purists or take what they read as verbatim, then chances are you'll be more than disappointed by what you see here. Just like any other book, Aronofsky is doing his interpretation of the story. So while there is some creative license that's taken with the source material, the essence of the story is still there.
Not only that, but some great questions that have come up in regards to how everything happened are answered in very satisfying ways that help fill in the blanks. Aronofsky's use of The Watchers as fallen beings and their genesis makes for some of the most genuinely compelling theatre-going on screen magic you'll get all year. The film is visually stunning from the opening shot to the very end. Aronofsky chose really well in using Iceland for his locations. The cinematography is simply surreal.
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the film all things considered is the human aspect. All of the visual effects are wonderful, the cinematography is splendid, the acting is fantastic on all accounts and the musical score by Clint Mansell is phenomenal, but what works the very best about the film is just the fact that it really delves into the minds of the characters. The story of Noah is one that's well-known and larger-than-life, but Aronofsky brilliantly grounds it all with compelling characters and stories. Nobody ever talks about how much pressure it would be to actually be "the family" that would be tasked by God to start all over again.
The film details the life of Noah (Russell Crowe) who is told by "The Creator" that it's up to him and his family to build an ark and start fresh. Aronofsky creates a deep sense of struggle in Noah who's expertly played by Crowe. We really get to see and vicariously feel how truly difficult it is for him to make all of the tough choices that he has to. Alongside him is his dutiful wife played by the always lovely Jennifer Connelly. I always like seeing actors working together again, so it was fun to see them play husband and wife again for the first time since A Beautiful Mind. Plus you got Sir Anthony Hopkins in there as well which is always a plus. Having Ray Winstone playing the antagonist doesn't hurt either.
For Ham (Logan Lerman) his biggest concern is trying to find a woman he can be with, when Ila (Emma Watson) is already with his older brother. Desire, passion, jealousy, faithfulness are all human feelings and emotions that we experience and the film perfectly encapsulates all of them. Despite all of the fantastic things going on in the film, the human element is what stands out above the rest. Aronofsky has done with the story of Noah what Martin Scorsese did with The Last Temptation of Christ.
Noah is a captivating and engaging story with beautiful imagery that's told on big scale, but also a very human level. It's a narrative and cinematic achievement that's one of the most engaging and entertaining experiences you'll have all year.