Requiem of a dream, Wrestler, Black Swan – in most of Darren Aronofsky’s films the protagonist goes through a nerve wrecking psychological trip where lines tend to blur in between sanity and insanity. Oh – and they must have difficult relationships with their family members.
His latest film Noah is no exception.
A Paramount Pictures presentation, the mega budget film Noah is certainly a visual treat where often the dream sequences are more interesting than the real ones, and the beliefs of individual characters get more prominence than the overall theme.
Ok, I hope we all are familiar of the Biblical story of Noah – the ‘chosen one’ who followed God’s orders, built a boat (ark) and smuggled a wide range of species (all in couples) before God flooded everything else out of existence. (It’s an interesting fact that similar stories exist in both Islam and Hinduism as well).
Now the film ‘Noah’ does respect this basic Biblical story line but … but …
The director Aronofsky (who claims to be an atheist) gallantly declared that his film is “the least Biblical Biblical film” of all times.
In the film the word ‘creator’ is used instead of ‘God’ to give it an universal appeal and it has many characters and sequences which are not to be found anywhere in the Bible. As a result there were/are enough controversies and debates on such deliberate diversions from the religious text.
But for me it’s ultimately a cinema – a medium of story telling with the sole purpose of entertaining us. We should watch it only as a film and nothing else.
And thus the real question arises – is Noah entertaining enough?
I feel that the film looses its intensity as it tries to tell too many stories at the same time; massively depending on visual effects Noah is entertaining only in bits and pieces.
Russell Crowe’s performance surely gives a new dimension to this well built, crew cut, new-age Noah, but still in some ways we loose focus on him as other characters and their stories constantly distract us.
The character of Noah is portrayed as a psychologically disturbed ecologist who cares only about his dreams (the orders from the creator) to establish an eco-friendly planet devoid of all sins (no sinner no sins theory).
In order to serve his creator and to attain the desired goal Noah can go to any extremes; he kills thousands of people who according to his vision seem unworthy of a new beginning. Noah even decides to kill his own family members to underline his point of eradicating potential sinners. He eventually fights a battle against his own will to survive and being loved again.
The secondary characters are there just to fulfill their specific purposes in the film.
Anthony Hopkins becomes the old, wise grandfather clock (a magician) in love with berries. Ray Winston plays ‘Tubal-cain’, the alter ego of Noah (probably the only interesting character) who in order to justify his superiority over other animals eats away quite a few species to extinction. Emma Watson fulfills her purpose by delivering twins (though her timing seems to upset Noah). And Jennifer Connelly plays the role of the dutiful, teary-eyed, supportive wife.
The other characters (the battalion of Noah’s sons) along with huge, ugly rock figures called the ‘watchers’ are there to divert your mind from the main plot (the effect isn’t always charming).
If you are a die-hard Russell Crowe fan – go for it.
And be prepared to experience a completely twisted version of the good old story of the old man with a long white beard; like it or not its time for the emergence of the new age Noah with his own dark tale of the deluge.