Noah review: Underwhelming and frequently silly, Darren Aronofsky's biblical blockbuster won't turn the tide
(12A) Dir. Darren Aronofsky; Starring Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, 138mins
Thursday 03 April 2014
Beginning with the snake, the forbidden fruit and Cain's slaying of Abel, Darren Aronofsky sticks closely to the Book of Genesis... for about the first five seconds.
Then he introduces the giant rock monsters. And his vision of a world polluted by the descendants of Cain, all mining scars and rusting industrial equipment, looks more like Mad Max 2 than the 30th-century BC Middle East, while the CGI battle scenes could have come from Peter Jackson's Middle Earth.
Of course, every film-maker is entitled to play God with his own creation, and the story of Noah as it appears in Genesis is very short so Aronofsky was pretty much obliged to pad out his 140-minute epic. But his inventions are only partially successful. As a grand scale digital-effects spectacle, it is underwhelming and frequently silly.
And there just isn't the world-building that would be necessary to make one tremble at the prospect of that world being wiped out. In fact, the only people we meet who aren't in Noah's immediate family of peaceable berry-gathers are the warmongering tribal king Tubal-cain (Ray Winstone) and his faceless army. Which makes God's drastic plan to cleanse the Earth seem unexpectedly reasonable and low-stakes.
But the domestic melodrama and psychological realism which Aronofsky gives Noah to wrestle with are interesting enough, and Russell Crowe is the ideal actor to show Noah brooding upon his lot. When the ark is afloat and the film finally narrows its focus on to his obsessive and monomaniacal interpretation of God's word, there is at last some conflict we can care about. Perhaps Aronofsky should have adapted Three Men in a Boat instead.
Glastonbury Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend will perform with Paul Weller as their warm-up act
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Katie Hopkins gives rare glimpse of sensitive side with heartfelt open letter to her children penned in case she dies from epilepsy
- 2 Rihanna's Met Gala dress took one Chinese woman 2 years to make, was reduced to omelette meme in 2 seconds
- 3 Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to replace Jeremy Clarkson and co
- 4 Women think Irish men are the sexiest, survey finds
- 5 Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
Penny Dreadful, series 2 episode 1, review: It is still gloriously silly
Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to replace Jeremy Clarkson and co
Eurovision 2015: What date and time is the song contest and who are the favourites to win?
Indiana Jones sequel confirmed by Lucasfilm - but will Harrison Ford return to the franchise?
How the Other Half Eat, Channel 4 - TV review: Swapping food trolleys shows how food and class are closely connected
In defence of liberal democracy
General Election 2015: Post-election 'shambles' looms as 70 per cent of voters say SNP 'should not be able to veto UK government policies'
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils