‘Noah’ Review

Published 4 months ago by , Updated March 31st, 2014 at 4:06 pm,

Noah Movie Russell Crowe 2014 Noah Review

In Noah, Darren Aronofsky’s re-imagining of the biblical flood narrative, the titular patriarch loses his father, Lamech, at a young age – as “Men” (born from the lineage of Cain) attempt to purge the remaining descendants of Adam and Eve’s youngest child, Seth, from the Earth. Hidden from the Men at the time of Lamech’s slaying, Noah (Russell Crowe) grows into a kind-hearted father and husband who lives off the land – in balance with animals and plant life.

The unchecked pillaging of Earth by Man begins to spread to the isolated hillside that Noah and his family call home. Tired of Man’s rape, murder, and butchery, “The Creator” speaks to Noah in a series of visions – instructing him to protect the innocents of creation (specifically, the animals) from a forthcoming cataclysmic event designed to wipe the failure of Man from the planet. Horrified by the darkness he sees in others, Noah sets out with his family to build an ark and fulfill The Creator’s request. Yet, despite honorable intentions, the mission creates unforeseen conflict within Noah’s house, forcing him to confront his own wickedness, and question whether any man (himself and his sons included) deserves to inherit The Creator’s new world.

Noah Movie 2014 Russell Crowe Noah Review

Russell Crowe in ‘Noah’

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding Aronofsky’s Noah – since the film is a significant re-imagining of an iconic story from Christian, Jewish, and Muslim religious texts. Still, the director does not present his depiction as either “true” or a “more accurate” version of events; instead, he exercises the Noah narrative as an allegorical opportunity to explore the differences between ideologies of faith and human self-determination. Moviegoers who believe that reimagining religious scripture (even for the purpose of modern symbolism) undermines the message of the source text will find countless feather ruffling alterations. As a result, the changes are bound to make Noah a hard watch for viewers that would have preferred a more traditional adaptation – especially viewers who are already criticizing the movie simply because “it didn’t happen this way in the Bible.

Sadly, all of the controversy has distracted from the quality of the actual film – which presents an impactful experience for both religious and secular viewers, alike. In fact, many of the contentious changes actually make Noah a more engaging choice for moviegoers who are open to Aronofsky’s artistic vision and subject matter. The movie is neither Christian propaganda nor a threat to the bible, it’s a relatable tale of human nature and the mysteries of creation – one that actually reaffirms key themes from the original story and thought-provoking moments in the journey of a peaceful man whose life is torn apart in an attempt to do the “right” thing.

Noah Movie Russell Crowe Ray Winstone Noah Review

Ray Winstone as Tubal-cain in ‘Noah’

To that end, Russell Crowe gives an engrossing performance – presenting a rich iteration of Noah: a lover, a warrior, and a bully, all in one. Aronofsky’s character isn’t just a man of honor and faith, when necessary, he’s a man of violence. The film portrays Noah as a dedicated believer willing to defend The Creator’s plan at all costs – even to the detriment of his own loved ones. The director takes Noah’s journey to its logical (albeit heart-wrenching) conclusion, even exploring the consequences of watching as humanity is destroyed, and asking: “What effect would that responsibility have on a person?”

The supporting cast is equally strong – with Ray Winstone in the role of antagonist King Tubal-cain. Winstone’s portrayal is far more complex than a standard stock villain – offering a smart juxtaposition against Russell’s Noah and outlining the major philosophical differences between Men and the few descendants of Seth who clung to faith in The Creator. Through Tubal-cain, the actor manages to balance both the wickedness of humanity with enough charisma to make his beliefs relatable – even if they are, ultimately, barbaric.

Noah Movie Emma Watson Ila Noah Review

Emma Watson as Ila in ‘Noah’

Along with solid efforts from Anthony Hopkins, Logan Lerman, Douglas Booth, and Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson is another key standout as orphan-turned-member of Noah’s family, Ila. In addition to providing a significant amount of exposition that could have been eye-rolling in the hands of a less capable actress, Watson is responsible for one of the toughest scenes in the film – selling a major turning point with a downright dynamic performance.

To sell the scale of Noah’s task, and the subsequent flooding of the Earth, Aronofsky employed a notable amount of CGI. Fortunately, quality visual representations of the Ark, animals, and The Watchers (creatures that have been hidden from the trailers but play a major role in the film) aid in a reimagining that is both immersive and grounded. Supernatural elements, such as the aforementioned Watchers, are utilized both to enhance the emotional impact of the story while also solving challenges that might otherwise have distracted casual viewers asking a host of logistical questions. Not to mention The Watchers, which actually enjoy an intriguing and extremely relevant backstory, also allow for several of the movie’s most epic moments.

Noah Movie 2014 Ark Animals Noah Review

The Ark in ‘Noah’

Select details might be different but Noah honors the scriptural source material with an inspiring tale of love and dedication in the face of unchecked darkness. Understandably, certain viewers will be frustrated (and even offended) that Aronofsky didn’t choose to develop a “faithful” retelling of the religious text; yet, for those with an open mind, Noah supplies an immersive and thought-provoking movie experience. Given the movie’s premise, it will be easy for moviegoers at extreme ends of the spectrum to dismiss the film outright – but viewers that are willing to give Noah a chance might find that, despite differences of opinion and belief, there’s plenty of universal value in Aronofsky’s gripping tale of good overcoming evil.

If you’re still on the fence about Noah, check out the trailer below:

-

[poll id="779"]

___

Noah runs 138 minutes and is Rated PG-13 for violence, disturbing images and brief suggestive content. Now playing in theaters.

Let us know what you thought of the film in the comment section below.

For an in-depth discussion of the film by the Screen Rant editors check out our Noah episode of the SR Underground podcast.

Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for future reviews, as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.

Our Rating:

4 out of 5
(Excellent)

TAGS: noah

193 Comments

Post a Comment

  1. Well that was 2 1/2 hours of my life wasted that I will never get back. Noah is an unmitigated disaster of epic proportions. It doesn’t matter if you’re religious or not as this was so loosely linked it was an utter work of fiction a combination of transforners, lord of the rings and gladiator rolled into one. Do not waste your time it was boringly laboured, dark and depressing and totally mind numbing, not to mention illogical – hated it from the first 5 minutes and it never improved, would have walked out but saw it gold class and was waiting for my food order to arrive – yawn

    • Never watching. That again . Take my word on it don’t waste a single penny on that. Cause it was really bad.

  2. I have not seen the movie yet but I just can’t believe how upset some people are at this movie because it’s not”faithful” to the source material. WHICH source material? Wasn’t it noted a long while back that this was based on a graphic novel that took its own liberties with the story of Noah? It’s an adaptation of an adaptation so I would expect it to be very different. I’m a Christian as are some others in the comments (and even some of the Screen Rant editors) but I just don’t get how this bothers some people. It’s just a movie, not a rewriting of the Bible presented as truth.

  3. The movie was a visual masterpiece. I enjoyed the fact that this featured several cameos from The Fountain. Where that movie asks what is death, Noah asks the question where did we come from and how reliable is that source. (The tunnel of light from the fountain can be briefly seen.) I enjoyed Noah’s transformation after the midway point of the film. It demonstrates how dangerous literal interpretations of “the word” can become. Devout Christians hate to see themselves in this light, but it’s critical that they get off their high horse and allow mankind to seek their own personal liberties, instead of forcing a fairy tale agenda down everyone’s throats. The bible is fantasy with great stories that mankind can learn from, nothing more. Essentially, Noah is doing the same thing.

    • @West – No one is forcing anything down your throat. I don’t call your beliefs (whatever they may or may not be) “fairy tales” – I’d appreciate the same respect from you. You’re quite welcome to your opinion, as I am mine, but calling someone else’s religion a fantasy? Disrespectful imo.

      Paul

      • It is interesting, how some people who are not Christian actually appear to be anti-Christian, expressing offense at even hearing us discuss and defend our beliefs. As previously discussed, some of these people further belittle, demonize, ridicule, and stereotype Christians, effectively removing us from the company of “legitimate” humankind. But then Christ, in the Beatitudes, alluded to all of this, and therein, I take comfort.

        • I bet Your attempts to demonize the “far left” as a group of monstrous, bigoted ogres consumed with “removing[ Christians ]from the company of humankind” is more hyperbolic and incendiary than any of the criticisms of Christianity that you imagine yourself to be “victimized” by. Remove the log from your own eye before trying to pick the splinters from everyone else’s.

          • Can we please get back to discussing how good or bad this film was before it turns into a religious flame war?

            Paul

            • Unfortunately, due to the nature of the film, such a debate is almost inevitable.

              Still, I second the motion. :)

        • I fully agree. It seems to be perfectly acceptable for some people to call the Bible fiction and fantasy and think it is not considered discrimination. They have more respect for every other religion or belief as long as it is not Bible based and would never consider criticizing or discounting those religious beliefs on a public blog. It is indeed an anti-Christian attitude.

      • They´re fairytales.

        • @360viewofEarth – You have your (wrong) opinions and I have mine, however you don’t see me poking fun at your personal beliefs, do you? Atheists are like the vegetarians of the religious world – they always think they’re right and want to make sure EVERYONE else knows it…whether they’r opinion was asked for ot not.

          Paul

          • It’s not nice to generalize, Paul.

            • @MovieB – You’re right. My apologies. Not all are that way.

              Paul

              • No worries, Paul. It’s easy to get riled up on topics like this. :)

          • “God forbid” someone has a different opinion from you Paul!!! Look who talks about “they always think they’re right and want to make sure EVERYONE else knows it…whether they’r opinion was asked for ot not……Yeah you.Another person who would have no problem having another religious war when different opinions are given. Typical.

            • @The Dark Ages Return – I didn’t come in here claiming my opinions and beliefs are right for everyone…they’re right for ME. I can give my opinions quite easily without resorting to making fun of other’s beliefs…I’m simply asking for others to show the same respect. That appears to be a challenge for some.

              Paul

        • As usual some Christians get all crazy and don’t believe in other’s right to different opinions.

          • @Brother Grimm – OF course they do. Everyone does. Doesn’t mean they’re always warranted or appropriate though. Most “anti-Christians” (for lack of a better term) on this thread aren’t supporting Noah, they’re disrespecting Christians, their beliefs and their religion – while not even referencing the movie.

            Paul

      • well done, Paul.

    • Im not supposed to cast pearls before swine but here may be something of interest.

      http://www.wyattmuseum.com/

  4. Its a mishmash and nothing realy like the Genesis story.I found it boring and i should have taken a pin with me to prick me now and then to stay awake.I stuggled for 75 minutes to maintain an interest then decided to leave through boredome.How it cost in excess of a hundred million to make I not sure.Would i recommend it as an epic biblical movie to see NO i wouldn’t, for it is not like the Genesis that i have read.It to me is someone trying to change a biblical writing written 3,500 years ago, to their imagination, I just wish people would leave things as they were written and not try to change it.

    • I completely agree with you. Saw it today and was so disappointed, even a little offended.

  5. this movie sucked. Farfetched, boring, too long, stupid plot, I wanted to walk out…..
    Rock stone monsters that talk. Dumb a** sh*t. What a waste of time. Wait till it comes out on dvd. Then avoid it like the plague!

  6. The movie was stupid ! the rock people were stupid ! poorly done movie ! refund please !

  7. The film is a mess, it spends too much time shoe Horning is vegan message in when the main hero is murdering people left and right, including considering the murder of his own grandchildren. Focusing purely on the story in the film it was poorly thought out, over acted, and utterly underachieving. This was a case (like with Avatar, Star Trek into Darkness and Elysium) where the filmmakers wanted to preach and opted to fight a straw man argument creating a muddled narrative that does more to harm itself than help. Sadly this comes from a normally brilliant director.

  8. Rock monsters? Seriously!? This movie was S*** like “Man of Steel.” I should have saved my money and read Genesis.

    I can only hope Ridley Scott’s “Exodus” does better.

    I love how on the comments the libs and the die hard Christians are getting preachy. Funny read.

  9. I liked it. It was direct by Aronofsky so it seemed pretty obvious to me that it was going to be a little weird and controversial. But its a movie and it kept my attention. Not the greatest movie ever but certainly not twilight.

  10. Wow, I was thinking about seeing this but now I’m not sure. This reminds me of The Last Temptation of Christ; much controversy and because of that, I went to see it and regretted it. The actual story of Noah was a gentle man of faith, the only one left on Earth. From what I’m reading, this movie is nothing but a Greenpeace propaganda film. Why use one the bibles pariarchs? They should have just come up with something original and called it sci-fi/action. I suppose I’ll wait for netflix.

  11. wow, i thought this movie was great! as an atheist that firmly believes the bible is a work of fiction, i was able to sit back and take the movie for what it was, an entertaining, well acted, and beautifully shot film. highly recommend it!

  12. Noah is an unfortunate movie. All the people that can’t seem to even mention Christianity or belief without venom dripping from every word will hate it, and many Christians will hate it for taking liberties. Poor old Noah going to attacked from both sides.

    I’m not religious at all, or much of an atheist either, and I found Noah to be one of the most disturbing and powerful movies I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s a shame it will written off by so many.

  13. Well Noah should start off with once upon a time. Not what I know of the story. Custumes are bad pants, shirts, coats and nice shoes. I went to see how bad they could miss up a good story, and they missed it up pretty good. I will not buy this one for my DVD collection. Should have call it the flood and left Noah name out of it.

  14. Not at all what I was expecting. I was bored feel asleep a couple of times… I was very disappointed, Hated this movie! More of a Sci fi movie.

  15. Noah is a good movie– interesting, exciting, engrossing, and well- acted. But it’s a movie folks. No matter what religion you are- if you want religion, go to the church of your choice. If you want entertainment, you see a movie.

    • Unfortunately, on this case it was rolled into one! LOL!

  16. All this debate about its relation to the source material and you’d half expect people to be demanding that it has a title card with “based on a true story” placed in front of the credits…? I’m interested in seeing it but will probably wait till it comes out on DVD at a reduced price. It just feels a little too over familiar and after watching Evan Almighty a couple of years ago I’m not sure I’m that excited about seeing another film based on the whole Noah character arc this soon afterwards.

  17. The producers missed a wonderful opportunity to create an epic film about Noah and what might have been, following in the traditions of Cecil B Demile’s 10 Commandments, Cleopatra, and Ben Hur grand films; the Demile films are a stable of historical fiction that offer hope, inspire, and provide a narrative that is worthy of recreation. Just imagine how powerful a film like Noah could have been if taken to this grand scale as historical fiction showing us how it might have been with the strong cast in this film. Instead, the film maker chooses to make a mockery of religion, blaspheming the Biblical story of Noah that is beloved and revered by millions, with some magical and dark ‘hobbit adventure’ tale of good an evil with ‘watchers’ moving about as Transformer building blocks. Further, the film makers blaspheme the prophet character as a madman, dreamer, and wickedman himself. The mockery started in the first minutes with the ‘cave man’ script used to narrate the biblical story, making mock out of what so many find sacred. Contrast this film to great historical tribute movie, the Passion of Christ, where Mel Gibson provides a believable, albeit painful to watch, historical drama portrayal of what might have been. Bravo to Gibson, and boo, boo, boo for the baneful and waste of film Noah; indeed Shakespeare’s words are revealed again; the saddest words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, what might have been. Noah might have been an epic film for the ages, instead it is a tribute to absurdity and atheism, and a shameful and blasphemous taunt to everything sacred for religious followers everywhere. One star is too high a rating for this film.

    • Unfortunately, There really is such thing as the Watchers in real life…go search them up on wikipedia, and you find other sources such as “The Book of Enoch” that describes on how fallen angels really did work with humanity…

      There, the Nephilim was was the old man of renowned… the subtle reference to the Annunaki or, the Akkadian’ civilization,Sargon of Akkad, or known as Nimrod in the Bible… the archaeologists have dug up on this issue, but for fear and ridicule and other many things… they deny the sources that it is really a fact that other ancient cultures have referenced on how humanity was created by the “gods” or “God”, and a prehistoric ancient ice age… or something else that we would have not known for…

      These days are very much like one of Noah’s…. everyone has their own opinion and the problem is that their opinion is sort-of twisted (no offence intended), and it does not help to add up the needed facts that are presented in the situation.

      We humans have just dug up the surface…rest assured, we will continue working to understand more… i believe that we are a shadow of ourselves, we know love, but we do not know true love.

      I am merely stating what i know here, what i’ve seen. I do not believe in anything, but if i do… let me hope i have moral ambiguity…

  18. I think people should at least consider the fact that the movie is actually based on the graphic novel “Noah” written by both Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel which was “inspired” by the Noah story and should go from there.

  19. Ben, thank you for your fairly unbiased review of Noah. I just read the reviews from Den of Geek, and I was extremely offended and appalled at their reviews. They consistently referred to the story of Noah and the Bible in general as myths and fables. How someone can be so disrespectful of the beliefs of billions of people, I really don’t know. Anyway, it was good to read your review and helped make up my mind that I definitely won’t be seeing it. Keep up the good work!

  20. I think every “God” fearing man and woman on here and have seen the film were doomed from the beginning. Walking into the theater they knew the film wasn’t supposed to be a serious adaptation, but treated it as such and critiqued it from a church P.O.V which isn’t right. I am not a religious person and am not affiliated with any one religion. But after watching the film, I can say it drove me to pick up the Bible and read the actual story, to try and understand both sides. I appreciate this review and the film in general. I just wish both sides could at least try and see the other point..nothing is certain, Valar Morghulis..

  21. It seems like environmental destruction is the cause of God’s wrath along with other wickedness. I guess you have to expect any disaster movie from Hollywood to have environmentalist overtones. Anyway I havent seen the movie yet. I was raised Christian but I love films. I think its silly for these religious groups to be up in arms about any changes. After all, Arranofsky pretty much is putting out a Bible advertisement with some tweaks. Anyway the movie looks awesome and I am trying to go see it this week but you never know cause Cap is coming out haha

  22. Read “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist” by Frank Turek and Norman Geisler.

  23. People shouldn’t be offended at all. Isn’t it based on the comic book written by the director?

  24. Haven’t seen the movie. Came on here to get a review. I find the comments super funny. People are aware Noah is not just a Christian story right? It is also in the Torah and the Koran. I have a question, which “Source Material” is it straying from? Unless you were there no one can know the trust story. I am a devout Christian but this is just a movie. It’s an form of entertainment. If you want an accurate telling of the story contact your nearest religious institution.

  25. This movie, much like Man of Steel was complete trash, garbage and a waste of time, no matter what your beliefs are.

    The ONLY thing good about it, just like Man of Steel, was Russell Crowe. His performance couldn’t save Man of Steel, just like it couldn’t save Noah.

    • For a reboot, MOS made millions in the box office which openned up Batman Vs. Superman the the sequel to MOS! Saving what?? LOL

  26. I saw this movie March 27th and posted my review here the next day. Since then, in less than a week, there have been 141 other comments. I was fascinated by the number and variety of comments, but I have not changed my opinion on my original review. I repost it here.

    “Grumpy old man and his vegan family, with the kind and able assistance of Godzilla and the Smog Monster, ride BattleStar Galactic to a new land.

    “I got bored after the middle of the movie and started to fall asleep. I kept waiting for it to get better but it never really did. It just got tedious.

    “Afterwords, I ducked into a screening of Divergent, which some might think formulaic, but which I thought had better lines and delivery.

    “I didn’t find anything really wrong with Noah. It’s an okay story. I just found it rather tedious and drawn out. Maybe it would have been better as a TV mini-series. Also, the dark colors and music was depressing during the whole movie and never really lightened up. Also, the ending was kind of flat. I thought that the ending seemed to be missing something.

    Many of these 141 other comments were from bible-thumpers and athiests who had not even seen the movie. Okay, fine, but comments are more helpful when they are a review of actually seeing the movie.

    Today, I found an off-site critique which I found most cogent, and I reference it here: “THEOLOGIAN BLASTS CHRISTIAN LEADERS FOOLED INTO ENDORSING KABBALAH, GNOSTIC VERSION OF ‘NOAH’” by JOHN NOLTE 1 Apr 2014, 6:25 AM PDT. I found this review to be by someone who actually did view the movie, and it was spot-on. His critique cogently sets forth how the movie actually and literally is Kabbalah and Gnosticism. Every confusing scene in the movie is clarified by the essential points of Kabbalah and Gnonsticism.

    So I respectfully submit this comment as my last and final review on this movie.

  27. It’s a every well constructed movie, it’s a two product story. Its just a really good drama that a good family film even though it has some serious darker things in it. It’s just an interesting story that makes you want to look at the original story again and see it in a different light.

    Did it ever feel disingenuous to you though? But in real life that’s not what happened. I agree with that if it where about a fictional character, but that’s not what ultimately happened. Ultimately, I feel weird about what I saw. As a fictional movie it would have been fine, if your looking at it as a character story, it would have been a really great character story. But it’s just the facts of it, I went in and did some research on it after and those things don’t line up.

    Are there two Ben’s?

  28. The movie was an affront to Christians. This movie was labled as a Biblical epic,unfortuneately, the only thing this story has in common with the Bible is the ark and water. The director added insult to injury by claiming he made the film as secular as he possibly could. That is true. The movie is a panthiests dream. Their is no mention of GOD only a creator, and in this case that would be gaia. (little g intentional) I have no doubt this site (or its reviewer) rated this disaster (pun intended) of a film so high is for the reasons I give above. Then again, many of those who have rated this movie give it one or two stars which is hopeful. Paramount should be ashamed to have backed this project in any way. I would like to see hollywood produce a film that mocks muslim faith in the same way. They would not be safe in many parts of the world.

  29. Tubal-Cain: “I have men at my back, and you stand alone and defy me?”
    Noah: “I’m not alone.”
    God was on his side.

Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to Gravatar.com and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.


If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it.

Be Social, Follow Us!!