Darren Aronofsky’s Noah has had quite a lot going for it ever since its production began. Following his critically-lauded films, The Wrestler and Black Swan, Aronofsky was originally set to direct The Wolverine (which ultimately went under the helm of James Mangold), but instead departed that film and decided to pursue this passion project that he had been wanting to develop for years. Paramount came into play and gave $130 Million to this incredible auteur in cinema and now, we finally see his vision of the biblical tale on the big screen. However, this film has been enduring a wave a controversy for months ever since reports from three test screenings consisting of Catholic, Jewish, and general audiences have projected negative buzz, especially from the religious audiences. Worried from these reactions, Paramount went out of their ways to appease religious audiences by placing a disclaimer in all of the film’s promotional materials – without Aronofsky’s permission. Paramount and Aronofsky had been in heated situations together throughout the film’s marketing campaign and soon led to this compromise: Aronofsky’s original cut would be released instead of the alternate cuts that Paramount had screened.
And kudos to Paramount for not meddling with Aronofsky’s original vision, for that we are given quite a remarkable cinematic experience that is truly told in – well, biblical proportions. The film just exudes breathtaking visuals, whether it is through the exquisite cinematography, or the incredible use of set design, it squeezes a sense of meticulous passion within nearly every shot. And remarkably enough, even with a budget of $130 Million, Aronofsky’s signature trademark style is still in place. Sure, the film showcases his technical sensibilities seen in his acclaimed, yet smaller-scaled films like Pi and Requiem for a Dream, but above all, it is the film’s immersible craft that sucks you in even more so than his established filmography has already proven to do so.
Now, this is definitely going to be a film that many people of faith may not be pleased with. Artistic license has been taken in some aspects of the Genesis story, particularly in the Noah character himself, and there are aplenty of Aronofskian moments that may cause the more mainstream audiences to turn their heads. But all-in-all, I feel that the most important morals taken from this story are present through-in-through. And if you were to ask me, I view this film more as an interpretation of the story rather than a word-for-word adaptation. But I feel that one should be reminded that the story of Noah was definitely darker than the story we remembered from our Sunday School days. This is the Noah that immerses you into right in the story. It’s a provocative look into the evils of mankind described in Genesis.
Regardless of all the controversy surrounding this film, I feel that Noah is a film worth seeing on the big screen. It promises remarkable performances by its actors (Crowe, Connelly, Watson, and Winstone in particular), incredible visual storytelling and another haunting score by Clint Mansell. But above all, it’s the first blockbuster in the longest time that reaches deeper than just standard entertainment – it’s also one that purely demands discussions to be had after viewing it. Sure, it may not be 100% accurate, but I also don’t see it as one that preaches against faith. But I will say, that it is the most thought-provoking film of the year thus far.
Noah earns a 4/5.