Noah, Russell Crowe, Darren Arnofsky

Movie Review: Noah (2014) *SPOILERS*


I feel odd putting “SPOILERS” on a Noah review, because if you’re surprised by the fact that there’s a global flood than there’s a very catchy Sunday School song you missed out on in your childhood.  I can’t say that I went into Noah (which I saw Thursday) with any real excitement.  I was more curious to see what a $200 million Arnofsky film looks like.  Kind of disappointingly…it looks like everyone else’sThere is nothing that SHOULD offend Christians or Jews about Noah.  He’s not a sacred figure to begin with and he’s never portrayed in the Blble as a great man; just the last good one.  The only thing that would have really cheesed people off would have been an omission of God from the story of which there is none.  Though he’s referred to as “The Creator”, it’s all His flood and His doing.


The most eyebrow raising thing about the film are going to be “The Watchers”.  These are fallen angels set to guarding Cain and his descendants from retribution from the children of Seth for Abel’s murder.  As cool as it would be, there are no six armed stone angels who helped build the ark and defend Noah from the descendants of Cain storming the ark as the flood waters rise.  At least it isn’t spelled out.  Much about the Noah story is not specifically spelled out so Arnofsky pulls other things from Genesis into the story and rearranges a few things.  The subplot over Ham and Japheth’s wives could have been lost, but they needed a reason Ham (and really if you’re a vegetarian and name your kid after Ham, you’re begging for an acrimonious relationship) is separated from the group.  The real reason IS spelled out in the Bible and it is kind of horrifying so I won’t go into it.

Noah, Anthony Hopkins

Having addressed Biblical accuracy, is the movie any good?  Yes.  Is it great?  No.  It’s overlong, burdened by too many subplots and the notion of Tubal Cain stowing away on the ark is nearly laughable.  Arnofsky is famous for drawing amazing performances from his actors and while he doesn’t get the Russell Crowe of A Beautiful Mind, he gets the best Russell Crowe we’ve seen in a long time.  Emma Watson is also extremely good as Noah’s adopted daughter.

The highlight of the film are the F/X sequences.  The Flood is amazing.  There’s one shot in particular that shows the Earth from space as The Flood begins and it’s just covered in giant hurricanes.  He also does a very nice and compelling retelling of the first six days of creation as told by Genesis, through mainly visual montages.

Noah, Jennifer Connelly

Crowe’s Noah is obsessive.  He despises humanity and embraces duty.  His devotion to his duty is so absolute that it drives him to do horrid things and nearly unspeakable things.  He’s a hard man with a hard task and he’d have to be.  I mean, this is a heck of a job for a guy 600 years old.  He’d also have to be hard enough to not let in screaming stragglers and hard enough to walk the world essentially alone once the task was done.  Crowe made me re-examine my view of Noah and Arnofsky my view of The Flood and I personally do believe there was one.  Nearly every culture in the world tells of a similar event.  I don’t mean it as a religious declaration; more an anthropological one.

Ultimately, Noah succeeds because of a stellar cast, a unique view of source material that can’t be beaten and Arnofsky’s unusual eye for a story.  It should have been better and could have been much more original, but it’s a solid film nonetheless.
Noah, Russell Crowe, Darren Arnofsky

9 thoughts on “Movie Review: Noah (2014) *SPOILERS*”

  1. Nix the cheesy opening narration. Cut the running time by twenty minutes. Tubal Cain dies in the big battle scene, and therefore does not stow away on the Ark. And the third act is simply a visceral story of survival as Noah’s faith is tested while he keeps the Ark afloat on stormy waters. And, like magic, the film is much, much better.


  2. Everything I said about this film turned out to be true, but with a vengeance. It has no target audience, but the problem is much, much worse than anything I could have foreseen. Aronofsky ruthlessly rewrites the Bible while aggressively making the case for obedience to God. And the reason they went with Aronofsky’s cut is that there really was no way to make the film more commercial. The film is THAT far gone, the problematic elements THAT entrenched. When Noah SPOILER considers murdering his own family, while Tubal Cain plots to murder Noah, it takes up the entire voyage on the Ark. Literally nothing else happens for twenty-five minutes. You can’t fix that through the magic of editing. There had to have been a cataclysmic flood somewhere in history; too many stories about it developed in too many different places. Aronofsky would have been better off fusing together a bunch of those ancient stories, instead of restricting himself to Noah. That would have kept expectations in check, though obviously the film would not have had the same draw. But what good is it drawing people in if they hate your product? This will be an unpopular film.


    1. When I saw it on opening night it was full but all the Divergent showings were selling out. Ill have that review up tomorrow. No there is no target for this film. Its odd that it isn’t strict to the Bible but it invokes more of Him and makes a stronger (albeit odder) case for absolute faith than any film I’ve seen. Tubal Cain killed this film along with the subplot about the wives.


      1. The theater where I saw it on opening night was only two-thirds full. People started fidgeting when the film took a detour into psychological-thriller land. Then some people walked out, and after the film was over most looked unhappy (though about four people clapped). But I am wondering… and tell me if I’m going wrong, here… Noah cost what, 125 million to make? Factor in the cost of advertising and prints, and that takes it over 200 million. If the film makes over 40 million this weekend, which is likely, and it plays well overseas, I wonder if an American movie that almost no one in America will like will end up being profitable in the end? And if something like that can happen, does that mean that soon content will no longer really matter, only advertising and hype?


      2. Overseas Caige represents all things American. People over there have the wrong idea, but it’s a harmless illusion, and everyone gets what they want.
        Noah is different. Noah is a fundamentally unlikable film being sold as something other than what it is depending on the demographic.


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