For once TIme Out call it right on an American action movie! This is good news. You got 'Man of Steel' (and many others) so wrong, blindly overlooking its sheer pomposity. I quite agree with Keith Ulich that 'Noah' is a spectacularly ponderous piece and also that the creation may well be its best and most thought-provoking sequence. The dialogue is as heavy-handed as the acting with lines musing on things like (and I quote) 'Ham's integrity'!!. Another line intones typically 'It is painful but it is just'. Amend that to 'It is painful and it is crap!'
Time Out rating:
Time Out says
Fri Mar 28
'Black Swan' and 'Requiem for a Dream' director Darren Aronofsky’s big-ticket retelling of the Old Testament story, with an oh-so-serious Russell Crowe playing Noah, is stupid but train-wreck fascinating. Your jaw will drop early and often – right from the opening dream sequence during which Man’s fall from grace in the Garden of Eden is presented complete with a hilarious digital snake.
‘The Creator’ (this film’s careful tag for God) sends a vision to warn his gruff servant Noah that a flood is coming. With the help of his 1,000-years-young grandfather Methuselah (Anthony Hopkins) and loyal wife Naameh (Jennifer Connelly), Noah realises that his calling is to build that fabled ark.
The massive barge of wood is a spectacular piece of design that Aronofsky reckons adheres to biblical specifications. Kudos for realism, as well as for the alternately green and burnt landscapes – shot in Iceland and upstate New York – that give a vividly grimy portrait of Earth before the flood.
Yet the bad decisions far outweigh the good. There are towering stone-covered creatures known as ‘Watchers’ (looking like Transformers made of rock) who speak in the deep tones of Frank Langella, Mark Margolis and Nick Nolte. They’re meant to be a fantastical representation of the fallen-angel race known as Nephilim, but they come off like rejects from a Peter Jackson superproduction. Aronofsky is extremely ill-suited to battle scenes, so Clint Mansell’s histrionic score picks up the slack. There’s also a bunch of melodrama between Noah and his family, as well as a head-slappingly overcooked performance by Ray Winstone as a villainous stowaway.
All this bombast neuters most of the riskier religious elements, apart from a mid-movie sequence that gorgeously imagines the seven days of Creation in sped-up stop motion. It’s here that Aronofsky launches his only stinging salvo, presenting a making-of-the-universe that denies neither evolution nor an intelligent guiding hand. But it’s a lone exception in a movie that otherwise makes an oft-told story pompous instead of poetic.
Author: Keith Uhlich