Saturday, March 14, 2015

Noah (2014)

Director: Darren Aronofsky
Writers:  Darren Aronofsky, Ari Handel
Cast:       Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Hopkins, Emma Watson

A man is chosen by his World's creator to undertake a momentous mission before an apocalyptic flood cleanses the world. It is the Aronofsky version of the Biblical story of Noah which originally comes in Genesis. In Bible, the story is only four chapters long without names of his wife and his son's wives but does mention Noah getting drunk after the flood and having an altercation with one of his son's, and from there Aronofsky and team developed their own version of the story.

In the film, the name 'God' is never used and remains unseen as he is referred to by characters as 'Creator'. Noah comes across as a tree-hugging environmentalist and in that context the creator could very well be taken as 'Mother Nature'. It begins with statement that Adam and Eve were banished from Garden of Eden by the creator after they ate some apple. They had three sons-Abel, Cain and Seth. Abel is killed by Cain inviting the wrath of Creator. Some fallen angels take pity on him and helps him to build cities and stuff like that but his successors turns on them typifying their forefather's behavior. Noah, the protagonist, and his family is the last people from the lineage of Seth and he calls other human beings as 'Men', which can be interpreted as referring to typical human beings who pillage Earth and its resources. Noah is seen to be having visions of a flood which will wipe all life from Earth and goes to visit his grandfather (Anthony Hopkins) to communicate the same. There he gets another vision of an ark which he could build to save all other animal life forms. He builds it with the help of Watchers (Fallen Angels) and only human beings he is gonna include in it are his family. He has three sons with only one them having a wife, albeit one that cannot bear children. So Noah sees themselves as last humans on Earth and interpret that Creator's task for him is to save and sustain non-human lifeforms and help him/her destroy mankind. When the flood begins, he finds out that his daughter-in-law (Emma Watson) is pregnant which leaves him in a quandary. He resolutely proclaims, inviting anger from his family members, that if the child is a boy he will let it live but if it is a girl who can bear children, he will kill it. Well, the only flaw in his logic is that he seems to discard the possibility of incest, which is the only way mankind could have developed in numbers from Adam & Eve, and adultery.

So the pregnancy of Noah's daughter-in-law and the moral conflict that it causes in him provides the drama in the story. Another interesting thing in the film is the evolutionary interpretation of bible's seven day genesis creation story. It is typical of religious folks to co-opt scientific discoveries by post facto interpretation of things in their scriptures. So a day in Genesis is interpreted as spanning millions of years and thus getting around the Biblical stupidity of World being only 5000-6000 years old. The creation is explained in the film by Noah after the flood begins and the visuals used are stunning time-lapse kind. Film ends with Noah not able to kill his twin grand-daughters and rehabilitating himself back into his family. In the final scene, he proclaims that one of his grand daughters will go on to bear the future of mankind with the other one being responsible for her. He witnesses a rainbow then and that could be interpreted as Aronosky giving a cheeky nod to LGBT rights.

Film was quite well-received by critics but only got mixed reactions from general audience. I thought it was more than a good watch especially when compared with torture-porn Biblical films like 'Passion of Christ'. I like it when the director take liberties with the story and make his and our efforts worthwhile like Socrsese did with 'Last Temptation of Christ'. The soundtrack from Aronofsky's frequent collaborator Clint Mansell was excellent as was the cinematography on the whole, except for some average CGI like the Snake in Eden. It is the biggest hit for the director with the film taking $360 million at the box office on a budget of $125 million. 

Rating: 3.5/5