Ben Oliver

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The time for mercy has passed. Now our punishment begins.
04 December 2016

A man (Russell Crowe) receives a sign from God that a great flood is coming, big enough to wipe out the earth. He must build an ark to house every animal and survive the rising water. If you don’t know the story of Noah’s Ark then I can’t really help you.

I know I’m late to the game on this one but don’t let my tardiness fool you - a biblical epic directed by Darren Aronofsky (of Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream fame) definitely piqued my interest. It’s not a genre many big-name directors seem to go near these days.

Noah does not lack ambition. Aronofsky drops most of the biblical tropes (disappointing that there was no booming ‘voice of God’ though) and does his own thing. This particular retelling of the story is dark, and in many ways explores the ugly side of true faith. There’s also a clear investment in visual effects, and it pays off.

However, the screenplay is oddly paced and some scenes are pure filler. When you’ve got $120m to play with perhaps the studio wants a longer film, but this could have been 20 minutes shorter and it’d be no great loss. There’s also a weird conflict between trying to get us on board with Noah, but witnessing him sit back and no nothing as the whole world drowns. This comes up on numerous occasions but ultimately no one really seems to give a shit.

The two leads (Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly) are solid but Ray Winstone’s villain needs to be thrown overboard.

Noah is a decent effort at retelling a very familiar tale, but it should have been so much more.

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