Friday, March 28, 2014

Movie Review: Noah

So far, Noah is one of the most impressive films I've seen this year. Which means, Noah is the official end of this nationwide drought of good cinema. Find out why, you should make your way to theaters for this less than conventional Biblical epic.

Noah opens with a slim package of exposition. That works as a refresher course on the Biblical history of the world, along with adding some extra mysticism that's important to the story. Then we find ourselves in a wasteland where, young Noah is experiencing a right of passage. The film takes off from there at a superb and sustained pace. Because, it's shortly after this event that Noah receives his first sign of the end and his first apocalyptic dream. When he awakens he realizes The Creator has big pans for Noah. These plans soon cause many external and internal problems that test Noah. Including an army of Men who have no intention of being swept off the earth by a cleansing flood. While an epic battle scene might be an ending to most films, it's only the middle of this film. If I said more about the plot, there would be some major spoilers. But, let it be known that the story never feels like it's dragged out and it ends naturally.

The real down points against this is, sometimes, the special effects don't blend as well as they should. It can be distracting in a couple of scenes where it's visibly noticeable. Outside of that little bit of nit picking, Noah is a solid film.

The other expected down point is the mis-matched cast of Noah. Considering, Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly have been pretty disappointing in the past couple of years, it's hard to believe that they would be capable of leading such a big picture. In a way, Connelly delivers her most emotional performance to date. As for Crowe, he delivers one of his most emotionally complex performances. As his character his character is tested, Crowe reacts naturally and justly. Crowe really hits the range from frightened and scorned to overbearing and commanding. The younger members of the cast also carry their weight next to these two giants.

Of course, these performances come with the help of Darren Aranofsky's excellent directing. Not only does he pull strong performances out of his actors, he sets up a astounding visually impressive world, as well. The film is filled with many striking visuals that demand to be seen on the big screen. On top of this there are excellent visual metaphors and a series of images that repeat to set up a visual rhythm to the film.

The other visually impressive element of Noah, is all of the design work. Starting with the costumes. Gone are the technicolor dream coats of Bible epics past. They are now replaced with rough hand made clothes that are more practice. Then there are the beautiful sets and surreal landscapes. The crown jewel of all this lavish work is the actual ark itself. Yes, they built an actual ark for this film and it's not just a CG element. It's an absolutely stunning and intricate set piece.

The backbone of this whole film is the screenplay that's not an exact copy of the Biblical tale. In fact, it's even stirred up some controversy. Due to the fact that Noah is more of an interpretation of the Noah and The Ark rather than a literal translation. But, the themes are still there and they are quite strong. The Old Testament notion of testing a mere man to achieve an impossible task and to make hard decisions is the basis of this entire movie. And to skip this film because it's not going to re-enforce everything you've come to know and love about The Bible is a huge mistake. Because, it's a film that will get you talking and it will get you thinking about what one man can really do and even question what you know about yourself. Because, this film isn't going to pat you on the back.

Paul's Rating 10/10

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