“Noah” goes slowah


"You thought I was boring?"

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“Noah” combines faith, creationism, evolution, radical environment conditions and human complexity. Writer-director Darren Aronofsky (“Black Swan,” “The Fountain,” “The Wrestler,” “Requiem for a Dream,” “Pi,”) makes the Biblical epic modern.

Academy Award-winner Russell Crowe plays Noah. His wife Naameh is portrayed by Jennifer Connelly, another Academy Award-winner. (They starred together in “A Beautiful Mind.”) Noah’s family includes Emma Watson and Anthony Hopskins as Methuselah, Noah’s powerful, wizard-like grandfather.

The beginning of the film shows a barren, dirty, dying world. There are no trees, only mud, dust and vast, lonely landscapes. The scenes could have been pulled from an apocalyptic version of Discovery Channel’s “Planet Earth.”

Noah is strong willed, faithful, and conflicted. His allegiance is to a Creator who asks him to save the natural world and innocent animals; his allegiance is to his family who he knows is part of corrupt humanity that is going to be destroyed.

The two-plus hours incorporates the judgment of heaven, Adam and Eve, and fallen angels. More than anything, “Noah” is a portrait of a struggling man. The character Noah represents humanity, and his challenge to declare goodness and evil is the struggle of everyone.

The underwater dreams that visit Noah were spectacular. Audiences float in prophetic waters with thousands of pale dead bodies being overtaken with new vegetation coming from the deep blue oceans. A later vision replaces the drowned bodies with mammals of all kind swimming in slow motion against the ocean to an illuminated Ark.

Crowe tells the creation story to a visual journey through the first seven days. Audiences travel from the cosmos to Eden. The reimagining can appeal to creationists and evolutionists alike.

The flooding of the earth is appropriately epic and disturbing. It is a massacre. The soil erupts and powerful torrents blast and flood.

“Noah” is not Aronofsky’s best film. It seemed to drag at times. I would watch “Black Swan,” “The Wrestler,” or “The Fountain,” again before popping the Bible epic into my Blu-Ray player again.

What surprised and impressed me the most was the story that Aronofsky and cowriter Ari Handel created in order to fill in the gaps left out on pages of scripture. “Noah” created entertaining answers to how one could complete the god-given task of building an Ark while keeping god absent and quiet through most of the film.


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