When you’ve got Darren Aronofsky bringing a Biblical tale to screen, expectations are through the roof. “Noah” may not meet those expectations, but the film does nestle in just a few notches below. It isn’t a mind-blowing epic, but it’s certainly a riveting and worthy retelling of this story.
The film kicks off with a partial recap of creation, specifically what went down with Adam and Eve, and what became of their children, Cain, Abel and Seth. From there we cut to one of Seth’s descendant’s, Noah (Dakota Goyo), who’s just a boy at the time, but watches his father murdered right before his eyes. Years later, Noah (Russell Crowe) has a wife, Naameh (Jennifer Connelly), and three boys of his own, Shem, Ham and Japheth. After having a vision of man’s demise, Noah sets out to save the innocent – the animals – with the help of his family and The Watchers while Tubal-cain (Ray Winstone) and his followers threaten to claim their work, the ark.
As someone with limited knowledge of scripture, Aronofsky had a significant amount of breathing room with this and he didn’t let an inch of it go to waste. Whereas early memories of Noah’s ark involve a lecture or pages in a book, Aronofsky’s take is cinematic through and through. The performances are bold and engaging, most visuals are downright stunning, and they’re both featured within the context of an enthralling narrative. However, even though Aronofsky does deliver a worthy big screen Bible story, by going big in certain respects, he is forced to tiptoe around a number of potential pitfalls.
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