'Noah' gives Old Testament a high-tech Hollywood treatment
Big, beatific and (more or less) Biblical, Darren Aronofsky's “Noah” is a mad vision of a movie, an action/ adventure take on the flood that cleansed the Earth.
Aronofsky (“Black Swan”) envisions this epic through the lens of Hollywood, interpreting the Bible as myth and telling one of its most fantastical tales as a grand and dark cinematic fantasy — a “Lord of the Rains.”
And with Russell Crowe as his “Master and Commander” and shipbuilder, Aronofsky has concocted an accessible, modern and mythic version of this oral history that may make purists blanch even as it entertains the rest of us.
A prologue tells of the spawn of Cain, who spilled blood, left the Garden of Eden, populated the world and made a mess of things. Ten generations later, Noah (Crowe) and his small family (Jennifer Connolly, Logan Lerman, Douglas Booth) wander the wastelands, waiting for ... a sign.
Noah's dreams tell him The End is nigh. By fire, his grandfather, Methuselah (Anthony Hopkins), wants to know?
“Fire consumes all,” Noah prophesies. “Water cleanses.”
The wicked world “which men have broken” will be flooded, the pure will rise and float above it. The rest? Drowned.
More visions, and Noah starts building an ark.
But out there, in the world begat by Cain, his descendant Tubal-cain (Ray Winstone) is offering up an alternative theology. “A man isn't ruled by the heavens. A man is ruled by his will.”
Tubal-cain's violence, meat eating (Noah's people are vegetarians) and weapons are attractive to Noah's son Ham (Lerman, aka Percy Jackson), who has no female companionship in their tiny circle. Shem (Booth) has the foundling they raised, Ila (Emma Watson).
Still, animals gather and are sedated, the ark nears completion, and then the skies darken and empty.
It took guts to change Noah from the pious original naval architect into a two-fisted man of action, and then to cast Crowe in the part. But it works.
Hopkins and Watson and Connolly provide the tale's moving moments — scenes of heart and humility and hope. The acting is of the first rank.
It isn't “The Ten Commandments” and Crowe is no Charlton Heston. But “Noah” makes Biblical myth grand in scope and intimate in appeal.
Roger Moore is a staff writer for McClatchy-Tribune News Service.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Small Pittsburgh theaters are big hits with movie-theme parties
- Review: ‘Land Ho!’ makes for mild-mannered ‘one last hurrah’ buddy pic
- Brothers overcome challenges to film ‘As Above/So Below’ in catacombs
- Review: ‘As Above’ so-so
- DVD reviews: ‘The Normal Heart,’ ‘Blended’ and ‘Belle’
- McCandless Cinemark set to open Sept. 19