Directed by: Darren Aronofsky
OK, let’s put this out there right up front. We all know the story of Noah. He was a man who spoke to God, gathered two of every kind of animal in the world, put them on a large ark, and weathered a flood that lasted 40 days and 40 nights, in order to cleanse the world of evil and restart mankind in a newly fresh world. Yep, that’s all of it, in a world ravaged by human sin, Noah is given a divine mission: to build an Ark to save creation from the coming flood.
And while this film is essentially that story, it is told from a perspective that we’ve never quite seen prior to now. Starting from the beginning when we learn that Adam and Eve had three sons, Cain, Able, and Seth (yeah, we never heard of him either). After Can killed Able he and his descendants went off (essentially to become the godless evil ones that were eventually whipped out by the flood), while the children of Seth followed in the footsteps of goodness and righteousness to become the ancestors of Noah (Crowe). Meanwhile, Noah, with the help of the Nephilim (fallen angels), Noah constructs this massive ship to rescue the animals.
Leading the eventual hoard of humanity against Noah is Tubal-cain (Ray Winstone), a descendent of Cain (who actually killed Noah’s father, Lamech (Marton Csokas) and is now the king of the hoard). Again, this is not quite the tale that we learned in Sunday school (interestingly no one ever refers to “God” but they talk about “The Creator” a point we found interesting). Needless to say, the fact that it isn’t quite what we recall is truthfully a tad off-putting (the Nephilim, or “Watchers”) look like stone-age Transformers, and then there is the whole interpersonal drama between Noah and his middle son, Ham. Still, if you can get past the fact that while this basis of this story is something you know, the film itself is actually quite good, and needs to be experienced as its own thing. Still, after all of that the film — like scripture itself — never quite explains how either Adam and Eve, or Noah’s decedents came to meet their eventual spouses and (re)populate the world. Ah well.
Robert J. Sodaro has been reviewing films for some 30 years. During that time, his movie reviews and articles have appeared in numerous print publications, as well as on the web. Subscribe to receive regular articles and movie reviews.