Friday, April 4, 2014

Noah



Cast: Russel Crowe (Noah), Jennifer Connelly (Naameh), Ray Winstone (Tubal Cain), Emma Watson (Ila), Anthony Hopkins (Methuselah), Marton Csokas (Lamech), Logan Lerman (Ham), Douglas Booth (Shem), Leo McHugh Carroll (Japeth), Madison Davenport (Na'el)
Genre: Fiction, Drama
Direction: Darren Aronofsky
Production Companies: Paramount Pictures, Regency Enterprises, Protozoa Pictures, Disruption Entertainment
Cinematographer: Mathew Libalique
Music: Clint Mansell
Film Editing by: Andrew Weisblum
Special Effects: Industrial Light & Magic, Look! Effects (Visual effects), Prime Focus World (3D Conversion)
Distributors : Paramount Pictures, United International Pictures
Theatre Release: 28th March, 2014
Language: English
Duration: 2 hours 18 minutes

The Story Frame:
Noah is a biblical inspired tale of an epic hero 'Noah' the last descendant of Seth (the third son of Adam who according to him was given to him by God instead of Abel, whom Cain killed). The backdrop of the story is that the Almighty God decides enough is enough, he is done with the increasing sins of mankind and reveals his intention to Noah. The story unfolds with a scene where Lamech, the father letting his son Noah know that he is the last of the Seth descendants left to carry forward the word of God.   Perhaps, Lamech is aware of the looming danger from Tubal Cain, the young King, hell bound to turn the hill into a mine. Tubal Cain is the descendant of Cain who killed his brother for he found God to be pleased by Abel's offerings. As feared, Tubal Cain emerges from the valley with his mob and what happens next is unexpected. Noah, the child escapes into the wilderness not knowing that destiny had certain other plans in store for their future encounters.





The world of Noah changes when he is seen as a mature old man shocked by a miracle that a drop of water from heaven does. One incident follows another that leads Noah and his family i.e., his wife Naameh, his eldest son Shem and his youngest son Ham to embark on a journey to seek his great grandfather, Methuselah's help to unveil the premonition he had, for he believes that it's a message from the Almighty God.

Noah seems to be aware about the danger that lurks in every step of his journey. Noah along with his family reaches a place where he finds a brutally bruised shattered young girl, Illa amidst heaps of dead bodies strewn around killed by Tubal Cain and his men. Illa is adopted and she finds solace in Noah's family.

Tubal Cain and his men leaves no stone unturned to hunt Noah and his family but a crestfallen Tubal Cain is left with no options but to withdraw his pursuit to find Noah under the protective fold of the 'Watchers', stone-like creatures on Earth once angels who fell from God's grace. The Watchers are obliged to Methuselah for once protecting them from the army of human beings for whom they left their heavenly abode and descended on Earth to help. How Methuselah the protector, the saviour with his magical sword ensure the safety of the fleeing Watchers is something to watch for.

Noah meets Methuselah and their meeting is transpired with more premonitions and the great grandfather gives a seed from the God's own garden, the Eden, to Noah. Noah engages himself with the Watchers to help him build an Ark for he reveals that God has said to him "The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the Earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the Earth".  Noah on finding himself amidst a bunch of disbelievers who is about to disassociate with his mission, plants the gifted seed. Bewildered by the miracle that happens and unable to believe their eyes the good-hearted Watchers decides not to abandon Noah and his mission to pitch in to finish the task. Watch out for the special effects here.

Noah who is engrossed in his mission is reminded by Naameh that their sons need to find wives and he  should help them. Here the family drama is unfolded with lots of twist and turns. Illa finds herself barren and fears losing her love, Shem, to someone whom Noah will find as his son's better half. Ham's encounter with the villainous Tubal Cain and how he enchants the young lad into his fold by making him wield a blood-dripping weapon is quiet watchable. How Noah's, the protective father, fear of losing his son to the villain's unscrupulous advances accelerates the melodrama.

Noah and his family along with his trusted aides built the Ark and as per the diktat of the Almighty God hordes of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort - male and female - starts entering the Ark. Then the most awaited and the expected happens - the flood comes, the walls of the ark which is already closed is pounded by dead bodies, horrifying human screams reverberate inside the Ark and there Noah and his family witness God's wrath and wait for the unknown in the dimly lit Ark.

What happens to Methuselah and the 'Watchers', what makes Ham turn against his father, who is there apart from Noah and his family in the Ark, why Ham conspires with Tubal Cain to annihilate his father Noah, finally who all survives, what makes Illa conceive, why Noah wants the twin babies of Shem to be killed, what happens when the Arks door opens .... I am sure you would love to watch on screen.

Reviewer's Thumb Mark:
Darren Aronofsky (Director) with his ensemble of Oscar winners may have undoubtedly vouched for a spectacular movie but fails to leave a mark in comparison to his other movies "The Fountain" and "Black Swan". One may find quiet challenging to bracket Aronofsky's Noah as a Biblical blockbuster, a partial Sci-fic, family-drama or may be an action flick?

Aronofsky dares to stretch the biblical tale into his own version on screen by introducing characters and incidents you won't find mentioned in the holy text, viz., the end that befalls Lamech, the character of Illa, Noah meeting with his great grandfather Methuselah, the character of Tubal Cain and his role during the great wipeout, the conspiring Ham, Noah's conviction and his attempt to kill the new born babies of Shem... the list is endless. Noah is definitely not for the hardcore believers (read Genesis Chapter 3 to 9) for they may find it challenging, offensive and against to what they have been taught by the holy custodians of the church (it's already banned in Indonesia and several Middle Eastern countries).

Aronofsky's creative daringness may enthrall those who don't mind skipping the rigid boundaries of their belief systems. The film disappoints me at certain stages as it fails to depict the magnanimity of the great wipeout on screen which could have been spectacular if Aronofsky would have done justice to his kind of expertise and caliber a filmmaker hold. The cameras zooms more on what happens inside the Ark during the disaster, hence we are deceived by being captivated on what happens outside the Ark.

The filmmaker's attempt to depict giant men in the holy text as 'Watchers', stone like creatures has fallen short for they seems to be imported from some kiddie movies with awkward movements, lights beaming through their bodies and having robotic voice.

And finally, Noah is definitely not a literal recap of what you read in the old testament, but it surely portrays the spirit of the character of 'Noah the Ark Builder', who believes that he is the chosen executive of God's will. Russel Crowe is convincing, undoubtedly he is a great actor! With a fleet of commendable actors like Anthony Hopkins, Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Emma Watson the film is watchable despite its innumerable flaws in portraying an epic story.

"We are entrusted with a purpose which is much greater than our desires", this remains there in our heart even when the screen roles with the end titles. This is what Noah (Russell Crowe) tells his second son Ham (Logan Herman) when he express his anguish to his father for reasons you can find in your neighborhood theatre. 

Rating: 3 / 5 (Good)