March 29, 2014

Movie Review: Noah (2014)

So, Noah has arrived and it can now stand, or attempt to stand, on its own merits. It is a movie that does not seem to have a precise target audience. It seems to be going after a cross section of the movie-going public. Action aficionados have something there, there are the disaster elements, the obvious religious connection, fans of Crowe/Connelly/Hopkins/Watson, and those who like the director, Darren Aronofsky. I have to be honest, my interest was sealed by Aronofsky. The guy makes interesting films that exist on the fringe of Hollywood. He can attract stars but seems uninterested in playing by Hollywood rules. It made me curious.

I have seen the film and while I like it, for the most part, I am finding I do not have a lot to say about it. I still felt I should type up a few words for anyone out there who may be interested in what lowly ole me has to say about it.

Going in I knew there was going to be an expansion of the story, some manner of expanding on what is in the bible, so it is a good idea to go into this not expecting a big biblical tale so much as to see how it is interpreted or to see this creative mind had in his head. The result is interesting. There is certainly a pro-environment message, I even detected a vein of pro-vegetarianism. Still, the overriding thing I felt through the fantastical elements, the rock monsters, the industrial elements, the mob-mentality and propensity for violence by those not in Noah's small camp, is an overriding desire to make things better.

Of course, that making of things better comes at a pretty steep cost and there is also some questionable morality along the way. I think what I liked most about it is that it tried to give it a little grounding mixed with the fantasy elements. Nothing is easy nothing can be done without sacrifice and nothing is ever clean. After all, all of the change and work is being entrusted to fallible humanity and humanity is easily corrupted. It takes a strong person and a faithful support network to effect change.

I think that Darren Aronofsky and writing partner Ari Handel have made an interesting movie. It is not one of his best, but he takes a swing for the fences and makes something that feels familiar (as it should) but surprisingly original. Still, there were moments where it felt flat and others where we had to fill in some of the blanks ourselves, but it still mostly worked.

If I seem noncommittal, I am. While I will not deny liking the movie, it is just not great or mind-blowing. It is shot well, has a good score, and does not feel Hollywood, but it is also a lot like a disaster film being forced into a biblical tale. Yes, I know these match up particularly well, but I think you see what I am talking about. I think I would have liked a more “human” tale, or maybe I just didn't see what was there.

However you want to slice it, Noah is an interesting movie. It may not stick to strict Christian dogma, but I found nothing offensive either. It is just a different take on the tale that we are familiar with, giving it a little bit of a kick in the pants. Perhaps this is not what you want from this story or you do not agree with the embellishments, just keep in mind it is not trying to change your mind or sway your beliefs and it does have its heart in the right place, from my perspective. It is worth seeing.


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Dell said...

Saw this last night (posting my own review tomorrow). I pretty much agree with your assessment. It's a decent watch, but hardly mind-blowing.

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