WRITTEN BY: Darren Aronofsky, Ari Handel
DIRECTED BY: Darren Aronofsky
STARRING:  Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Emma Watson, Anthony Hopkins
RATING: 3.5 stars
It may not be "religiously accurate", and it may even be offensive to some, but Noah is not trying to be a "factual" film for fundamentalists - it is entirely fictitious and is just based on the Biblical story we all know. If Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, atheists, agnostics and everyone else can just accept that point, they may actually enjoy the film. It is a fascinating study on the darker side of humanity and faith - and not necessarily of the religious type. In turn, it encourages audiences to reflect on our world. At more than two hours in length, Noah is an epic disaster film with violent battle scenes, characters facing confronting personal dilemmas, and of course, an ark full of animals.
When the Creator - who is interestingly never referred to as God - is angered by humans, he decides to wipe out the world and start again. Noah (Russell Crowe) has visions of the apocalyptic future and decides to build an ark to protect his wife (Jennifer Connelly), his children and animals, which are innocent of sin.
Director/co-writer Darren Aronofsky has artfully used animation to show parts of the religious story and CGI to depict the unique world. His creation of fallen angels made of rock, called The Watchers, is also quite effective. At times, the film seems to move slowly considering most people would be familiar with the story, but the action sequences are impressive.
Crowe is fantastic as Noah. The character's arc (sorry) is huge and you cannot help but feel a range of conflicting emotions towards Noah as he is forced to make such hard decisions. Connelly had little to do for most of the film and spent much of her screen time crying, but she did have some more meaningful scenes towards the end. Emma Watson plays Noah's adopted daughter while Douglas Booth and Logan Lerman play Noah's sons - and the trio are catalysts for much of the drama in the second half of the film. Ray Winstone was also solid and appropriately disgusting leading an army wanting to join the ark. Hopkins was good as the hermit grandfather, but his accent never worked. He just sounded like himself, while everyone else spoke with as little an accent as they could. An attempt at humour with Hopkins' character being obsessed with berries was also unnecessary. This is not the kind of film that should be garnering any laughs. Unfortunately, there were a few unintentional laughs throughout the film too.
Ultimately, Noah is an ambitious epic film, and for the most part, it works.