Noah

A review of the 2014 film starring Russell Crowe.

Noah is, as far as I am aware, director Darren Aronofsky’s first foray into dramatising for the big screen a story from The Bible. It stars Russell Crowe in the title role, with fine support from his co-stars including Emma Watson, Ray Winstone and Anthony Hopkins as Methuselah.

I’ve read the book and I’ve seen the film and the film Noah is nothing like the book. Ok, so I haven’t actually read the whole Bible but I have read the passage in Genesis that tells us the story of Noah. The film is not much like the book, it is however clearly inspired by the book.

Those who have read at least a little of The Holy Bible will surely know the story of Noah. I suspect though that a great many of teenagers and younger in 2014 might not know the biblical account, so that to them the movie will be just another Hollywood film, with a good story to tell, or should that be sell. Whilst Darren Aronofsky, the film’s director, included all the essential elements of the biblical account of Noah in his film, he also added much that the bible does not include.

From the point of view of making a good action and adventure film I can understand the additions Aronfsky made, although there is at least one glaring error that any Christian or Jew should spot, from the original account in the book of Genesis that inspired the movie. The Bible tells us that “Noah was a righteous man, blameless of the people of his time.” (Genesis 6: 9, NIV), however in the film (not exact dialogue but no mistake in the interpretation) Noah himself, played by Russell Crow, tells us that he was chosen by God not because he was a good man but because he would ‘get the job done’.

Without going too far into the critique with respect to the film’s Bible inspiration, what about the movie, as a movie? I found it entertaining but not too demanding of concentration. If it were an original story I would have to say that it was well told, although there was an element of the film I would have found ‘hard to swallow’ even if I were not familiar with the original account; I had trouble with the Watchers.

The Watchers are, purportedly, fallen angels who disobeyed God and as a punishment were exiled to life on earth, encased in stone. The angels, we are told in the film, having originally been beings of light. It was not the concept of the fallen angels that I had trouble with, just the way that it was portrayed in the film. For me, they somehow just didn’t fit and I would have trouble expanding on that short statement.

As far as the performances went. all the parts were competently played with, in my opinion, the top honours going to Emma Watson as Ila and Ray Winstone as Tubal-cain. Although the acting in all the major roles was proficient, I thought that the casting might have been better. In particular I found Noah’s oldest and youngest sons, Seth and Japheth respectively, too pretty.

This was the first major production I have seen Emma Watson in since her role as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter franchise. She handled the role if Ila well and is developing into a fine actress. She has a beauty about her, although I do not think she could be described as pretty, and she conveys much with her face and small changes of expression. And of course the reliable Ray Winstone who, if Tubal-cain’s role in the movie had been bigger, Ray might have upstaged Russell Crowe’s eponymous Noah.

One aspect of the film I found to be slightly incongruous was the style of wardrobe, especially for the male characters. Although it would not be appropriate to wear in an office or retail environment, it would not look too out of place as street fashion today.

This might not be an epic of biblical proportions, nevertheless I enjoyed the film although I would have been equally happy to wait for it to be shown on TV, as to pay to see it at the cinema.

Shem: “I thought you were good. I thought
that was why He chose you.”
Noah: “He chose me because He knew I would
complete the task. Nothing more.”

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