NOAH is just as spectacular as I hoped- nothing short of Darren Aronofsky’s renowned grande visuals and concepts. At first, I thought the Genesis based opening sequence was maybe a bit too cartoony in its use of CGI, but then the repetition of the images of the snake and Abel’s death by Cain’s hand becomes a powerful motif for Noah’s visions and serves as a reflection for the nature of mankind.
The film is not about “The Creator” nor is Noah’s communications with him the vocal point of the film, but rather this story is about what it is to be a man, and furthermore a human being struggling to be what is considered good in a world where there is no true definition for what that means. Whether this film is “historically accurate” or not is irrelevant to its purpose. It must not be forgotten that this is Aronofsky’s NOAH, not ever meant to be a direct text to film translation of the Bible; however, there is an atheistic approach, implying a lack of realism to the story, embracing the mythic nature of the tale. He tackles long debated topics such as “How did the ark fit every single species,” and, ” How did the animals not eat each other off during that whole time together?” with cleverly constructed details such as the incense used to put the animals into deep sleep which only special herbs can later wake them or Noah’s comment that they have to fit as many species “as they can” in the ark, implying they won’t be able to carry every single one. There are some other nice touches included to back this up, like the armadillo-like dog that is shown to be hunted by men in the beginning, or the animals that Tubal-cain eats during his stay—- none of these creatures survive into today’s world, so clearly Noah was not able to save all wildlife. He also tackles the claims that Noah could not possibly build the ark himself by having the Watchers, fallen angels encased in stone, assist him in the ark’s construction. But regardless of the attempt to appease the classic arguments against plausibility, Aronofsky’s focus is not to make a case for the realism of the story as his version choses to depict a more fantastical rendition that enforces the concept that the stories of the Bible play more like elaborate fables than historical texts to be taken literally.
As expected, Aronofsky dazzles with beautiful, rich imagery which transports the film onto a level of artistry that is rare in such a profit driven studio climate. It seems at first glance that the movie would have more definitive antagonists, but the film sits heavily in ambiguous waters as although it seems like Tubal-cain would be considered a clear ‘bad guy’ to be defeated, all of his points about humanity are accurate and important. Without the free will of mankind to fight for his freedoms and the desire to build and construct his own destiny by whatever means possible, we as human beings would not have the level of civilization that we have so far achieved. It is inherent in our nature to destroy, but it is also within us to build and progress. It’s a fine line that we walk between what is considered good and evil, and even Noah himself is torn and demented by this lack of moral clarity. In his visions, he sees people drowning in water, and then he sees the ark floating up above, but he is not swimming upwards towards it; it is the animals which rise from the depths of the ocean and he is left sinking to the bottom alongside everyone else— so he is left to interpret that The Creator intends all of man to cease existing, including him and his own. Although Tubal-cain’s mantra of what is is to be a man is in fact the foundation for our society still to this day, Aronofsky eludes that perhaps this is not the morality in which we should base our lives upon. That man at his core may not be pure, as seen through the first sins of Adam and Eve, and that is is a constant struggle for us to chose the right path, but despite our destructive tendencies, we do have good within us to make the right choices.
Noah becomes tormented with this struggle as he must try to interpret the wishes of The Creator, and is forced to make seemingly unjust decisions upon not only all of humankind, but his own family as well. Crowe reminds us what a badass he is, and how well he plays crazy as he gives a solid performance showing a man broken down by the weight of the world upon his shoulders. The film shows Noah not as some fearless warrior for God, but a mere man with a family he loves, who is weathered away by a task he is burdened with. It was poignant in the story’s epilogue when they finally find land, and Noah picks fresh grapes for the first time in how long, and then you see that instead of taking in the fruit for the nourishment of his body, he makes wine instead and ends up naked and drunk for his children to find him. Like us all, he is flawed with limitations of his own.
All in all it is a beautiful movie with some important statements less about religion but more so on mankind and our ability to have faith in things we do not fully understand. The film isn’t perfect, but its magnificence overshadows its imperfections. There are some breathtaking shots throughout and solid acting performances by the entire cast. Aronofsky’s take on Adam and Eve is refreshing as it depicts the two not as the image of man and woman as we know it, but instead as light beings absence of any noticeable gender and it is assumed that they do not inhabit corporeal bodies until after the sin which makes them impure. At times the film can by hard to watch as you see people tear animals apart and eat each other out of desperation, but Aronofsky takes a bold stance by not shying away from the brutality that is part of what makes us human. Not only are his visuals stunning, but in a very “Fitzcarraldo” fashion that Werner Herzog would be proud of, Aronfosky built a real sized ark for the movie, to biblical specifications of the to be exact. NOAH evokes Fitzcarraldo in theme as well as vision, with its images of a man’s divine madness creating an incredible feat of construction. Such amazing accomplishment can only be marveled and admired.
Hopefully films like this inspire Hollywood to have their own faith in talented directors and enough faith in people that there are audiences who want to see more unrelenting films like this being made. Besides, if you don’t like a noble glowing rock creature voiced by Nick Nolte, then I don’t know what to do for ya.
You can read this original review here at www.1931Productions.com: http://1931productions.com/post/81325474434/faith-in-the-pure-epic