Noah (2014)

Thought he’d need a bigger boat. Guess not.

I don’t think I really need to state what this movie is about, but in case those of you out there have either been living under a rock for the past one million years, or just don’t pay attention to anything at all in the whole, wide world, here’s the plot: Noah (Russell Crowe) is a descendant of Seth, which means he is one of the very few nice men in the world that doesn’t eat meat, doesn’t kill when he doesn’t have to, and loves all things that are beautiful with the world. He loves nature, he loves his wife (Jennifer Connelly), his family and most of all, his God. So much so, that when he has a vision in his dreams that the world will be destroyed one day due to a huge flood, he decides to take matters into his own hands and prepare the right way. What is “the right way”, you ask? Well, that consists of building a giant-scale Ark that will hold two of every animal species known to man in order to have all of them continue on and live, even if the world itself is totally wiped-out. Things for Noah and his whole family seem to go fine, that is until Noah gets a little bit crazy with what it is that God actually wants him to do, against what it is that he thinks he should do.

As predicted, there’s been a lot of talk surrounding this movie. Many Christian-advocates have stood-up, said their peace about this flick and even though they haven’t necessarily been totally against it, per se, they definitely haven’t given it the glowing pass of approval neither. So basically, this movie may offend you, but then again, at the same time, it may not. It all depends on how in-touch you are with your faith and whether or not you actually want to see a full-length, feature-flick about a dude who built an Ark to preserve life for the rest of humanity.

Personally, I don’t want to see that kind of movie. But if Darren Aronofsky is directing it, then count me the hell in!

"Guess you didn't get the memo about '80's glam-metal hair-styles only', huh?"
“Guess you didn’t get the memo about ’80’s glam-metal hair-styles only’, huh?”

And if anything, the idea of having Darren Aronofsky direct this as a certain “passion project” of his, is definitely the most intriguing-aspect behind this flick. You’d never expect the same kind of guy who gave us scenes like this, or this, or hell, even this, to be so willing and dedicated to give his own, in-depth version of an as-old-as-time story that’s only about a few paragraphs or so long. But with Aronofsky, you can never, ever tell what his next move is going to be; whether it be what movie he decides to direct next, or what he actually does in his own movies, the guy is totally unpredictable. However, in today’s day and age of cinema, we need that, which is why when you get a Darren Aronofsky movie, it doesn’t matter what the subject-material is or how it’s going to play-out in terms of who it’s for – all you have to know is when, where, what time and if you’re able to see it right away!

As you can probably tell, I was very excited for this movie, just judged solely by who was making it and to be honest, that’s probably what kept this movie going for me. It seemed strange in the first place that a major-studio would actually back a biblical-epic directed by Darren Aronofsky in the first place, and seeing the end-result, it’s apparent why I had those ideas in my in the first place. Like all of Aronofsky’s movies, this is downright beautiful; from the visuals, to the amazing, sometimes over-wrought score from Clint Mansell, to even the biblical-imagery that doesn’t hit you over the head, but is able to make you understand what message it’s trying to convey, everything was given the right attention of detail it needed to seem like an actual story from this time and place, rather than just a cheap dramatization we’d get on the History Channel.

Even the actual story here, which Aronofsky clearly took plenty of liberties with, seems like something he’d do; the main character of Noah, here, has an obsession over doing what God wants him to do, even if it does make him absolutely insane. In fact, where this movie really gets interesting is when Aronofsky sheds a light on how Noah either does or doesn’t take God’s demands or ideas about saving humanity and getting rid of those who don’t deserve to live, as understandably as he should. In any movie, directed by anybody else who didn’t have nearly as bright a mind as Aronofsky, this message could have been handled terribly and even offend some out there, but what Aronofsky does is just show a character finding himself in a bit of a bind as to whether or not he should do exactly what he thinks God is telling him to do, or act as he should, a moral human being. Instead of seeing Noah as a Saint that did everything right, for every person around him, including God, we see him as a man that struggled with his faith, with the situation he was thrown into and how all of the pressure was thrown onto him to not only preserve these animals, but keep those around him alive and well, knowing that they’d die soon, and possibly even be the last ones alive on Earth.

Pretty freaky stuff, but I guess when you got the big G.O.D. backing you up, it doesn’t matter.

But as interesting as most of the things that Aronofsky does with this material, I still can’t help but feel as if a bit too much of it is over-blown beyond its means. For instance, Noah, as almost every epic, is nearly two-and-a-half-hours, and it feels like so. That isn’t good, not because long movies shouldn’t exist, but because this one feels unnecessarily long, when only a good hour-and-a-half of this movie is really worth seeing. Everything leading-up from when Noah has these dreams of the apocalypse, to when he actually gets the Ark up and running, is exciting, tense and exactly the type of viewing-experience I expected to have with something on this grand-of-a-scale.

"But in all seriousness though, honey, I'm fucking craving a hamburger. We gotta get rid of the pigs."
“But in all seriousness though, honey, I’m fucking craving a burger. We gotta get rid of the cows.”

However, all of the energy of this movie seems to fade out, slowly but surely. I don’t want to say where this story goes and how dark it gets, but it seemed like Aronofsky felt like he really needed to allow this movie to play-out as long as he possibly could, so threw in all sorts of subplots he could. This not only has it seem like it’s meandering and taking its good old time to get to a finale, but doesn’t really know where it’s going to end-up – much like Noah and the rest of his family on this Ark. I was still interested in seeing where this movie would go, but after awhile, I began to wonder if that moment would ever come around, and if it did, would it actually be satisfying, or just rushed and too safe for its own good.

Somehow, it placed somewhere in the middle, but I can’t say I was all that disappointed where it did go and end. Doesn’t offend too many people, but still keeps it a bit edgy and hard-hitting for those who want some deeper-meaning out of what they see here.

And of course, before I head-off into the sunset, I do have to give some credit to the cast for at least trying with what they’re given, as timid as some of it may be. Russell Crowe is perfectly-cast as Noah, showing all sorts of grit, manliness that makes you seem his as the type of guy you don’t want to mess with when it comes to the apocalypse, but also enough compassion to where you can sort of see that he’s a sweet guy behind the huge muscles and supreme fighting-skills. It was also nice to see Jennifer Connelly back in a movie with Darren Aronofsky, and actually get some worthy-material that has her shed those skills more than a few times, particularly in a scene where she basically tells Noah to wake up and snap out his crazed-daze. And as usual, Anthony Hopkins is a fine-addition to the cast as he brings a lot of fun, light and humor to a film that seemed so serious and over-blown most of the time. And he does it all by wanting berries!

Didn’t see that part in the original source-material, but then again, it’s been a long time since my Vacation Bible School days.

Consensus: While the first hour-and-a-half packs a exciting, tense and epic-punch that Darren Aronofsky is clearly able to deliver, the remainder of Noah does seem to meander and have no clue where to go, which may be more of a problem with the studio that helped produce it, rather than the creator himself, but it’s still a noticeable problem nonetheless.

8 / 10 = Matinee!!


Photo’s Credit to:


  1. Solid review! Loved the film and Aronofsky’s vision. It’s a shame that lots of Christians seem to be nitpicking his divergence from the source material. As a Christian myself, I found his additions to the story to actually enhance its thematic power and relevance for people of faith as a film, probing difficult questions of how God can be both wrathful and merciful. I agree it was paced a bit slower in the second half, but I enjoyed the questions it raised so much I didn’t mind!

    • I’m a Christian as well, and while I may not still be a practicing, devout one, I still see this as a neat attempt at trying to keep some faith alive and well in modern-day cinema. Even as bold as the decision may have been to do so. Thanks!

  2. Great review Dan, this was a crazy experience. Apparently a lot of people are up in a hooplah about this thing because it’s “not Biblical” or something or other. I don’t know. I really actually thought it was well-made and pretty damn epic. A few parts looking back on it now seem strange and unnecessary and the more I look back on it, the more I agree that the last hour or so of the film really starts to meander. A little editing could have gone a long way but overall there was a lot to like about this. On any subject like this one there was bound to be controversy, i guess

  3. It fits right between “The Fountain” and “Requiem For A Dream” on my Aronofsky list, unfortunately near the bottom. But even Aronofsky’s worst are pretty good. It’s a little too out-there for me. I’m definitely no Bible purist but even I was a bit confused. Russell Crowe was pretty fantastic, though.

    • Aronofsky is a very hard director to love, but he’s definitely an easy one to appreciate. My favorite is the Wrestler, which is also probably his most straight-forward, so goes to show you what I know, right?

      • “Black Swan” is definitely my favorite, but I love “The Wrestler.” I think there’s a limit to depth in films. I’m happy for people that can understand even the most complex films, but I’d rather have something simple enough for me to understand.

  4. “Personally, I don’t want to see that kind of movie. But if Darren Aronofsky is directing it, then count me the hell in!”

    My thoughts exactly when approaching this film.

  5. Great write up Dan. I was overly excited for this movie and was let down on so many levels. My review will be out for Monday and it is no where near the 8 you gave it.

    • That was actually pretty cool. It was Winstone’s character that seemed to get in the way of things and just seem thrown in there for dumb reasons.

      • I thought the rock idea was cool too, as it pieced the storyline together logistically. I understand how you see Winstone’s character as being a bit much, but I think the entire movie needs to be taken with a grain of salt because it’s based on a story from the bible. I mean, I have to confess that I thought “where the heck did that guy go to the bathroom for 9+ months on that arc when he’s supposed to be in hiding…” lol.

  6. Great review, very surprised by the positive reviews, I expected this to crash both in the Box office and in critical reviews but clearly not. Might go check it out now 😀

  7. Not sure I’d blame the post-flood stuff on the studio, as quite frankly, that all felt the most like an Aronofsky flick than everything that preceded it. In any event, I enjoyed it. Nice review, Dan.

  8. Great Review Dan! I agree with you all the way except I enjoyed the ending of the film. I felt like this was The Shining on the boat, and Crowe was insane haha. I suppose I can see what your saying about it’s direction but I feel like it came together well. I did feel like life back on land was a little too long but it was funny seeing Noah as the worlds first legit hobo. Oh love that quote in the last picture hahaha. Oh one last thing is it me or is it hard to watch Jennifer Connelly after Requiem for a Dream, especially in another Afronosky film, and screaming the words “punish me”. Shocking images definitely filled my head.

  9. I haven’t seen this movie but from the pictures, I don’t want to. Is it 300 fighting a flood? Is it a religious epic? I don’t know. Do you want your Noah kicking butt and taking names? Uhh…not sure. Everything is so grey and dismal, that I wonder if there’s any life in this movie. Can’t people wear anything but dirty, dingy grey brown clothes? You’d think if there were any vividness as colorful as The Ten Commandments, there would be a riot of the realistic purists. Good balanced review, but maybe you’re too nice to it!

  10. Great write-up Dan! Just saw this last night and I totally agree with you. Not Aronofsky’s best, but still a well-made and tense epic. Great Russell Crowe performance too.

  11. As always: nice review, Dan! I’m very much looking forward to seeing the film, but it doesn’t hit cinemas here until the 10th of April. I’m a big fan of Aronofsky’s work so I’m very curious to see how he tackles the subject matter.

  12. Saw this last night (posting my review tomorrow). It looked great and its story is told well enough to make it a decent watch. Knowing a lot of devout Christians, though I’m not one, I understand why they’re up in arms over it. They have a hard time with Bible based storiiesvthat deviate from the source and this one does a lot.

    • I can see why, too, but it’s not really the type of movie that offends much of anyone. It just tells a story as how one might possibly see it.

  13. Good review Dan. I thought the movie was a step down for Aronofsky. I didn’t mind the runtime but I agree it seemed to lose focus a little when the flood started. I feel like the movie could only sustain the subplot about Ham being corrupted or the Noah going crazy subplot. I don’t think there was room for both and the movie suffered as a result.

    I liked the visuals a lot though. Especially the time lapse sequences.

  14. By trying to please everyone, Darren Aronofsky really ended up pleasing no one, well not me anyway. It wasn’t a bad film, but too middle-of-the-road to be engaging. Glad you enjoyed it though. Nice review.

  15. Wasn’t sure about this but now I will definitely give it a watch, great review Dan! I really want to know your opinion of the latest Captain America. I reviewed it on my page, check it out!

  16. This is one I have not seen. I probably won’t until it is DVD fodder. From your review and the others I have read- Evan Almighty delivers more understanding of what the actual creator is about. Plus anytime a big boat runs over politicians- I am in. I didn’t see any of that mentioned in your review- although politics is pretty big in this movie. I am slightly interested in Noah’s character from your review because I do not think Noah was perfect and definitely he was human. I would imagine that he truly struggled with what was being asked of him. Your review of his character’s mental state- moved this movie to DVD fodder. Before your review, I would have waited until TBS was showing it cut down to two hours! Thank you for the review>

  17. Great review and nice writing style. The film is kind of a tale of two halves. I think each side has good merits, but it felt a bit awkward as whole, which caused me to just like it a lot instead of loving it.

  18. Thanks for commenting on my own review of this one. I see you liked it rather more than I did, despite your own criticisms. Russell Crowe was great in it, though it’s not really a stretch for him from the other parts he’s played. I thought the female actors suffered – not really their fault, because the story revolves around the “big men” – especially Emma Watson, who I thought was pretty weak.

  19. Great Review.. I loved the movie but somewhere it felt so exaggerated and I guess this movie could be shorter I didn’t see where the 2 hours 10 minutes where spent

  20. About to review this one myself and I have a hard time deciding if I liked it, it has beautiful moments, but at the same time like you say it just was a bit too long.

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