Renting at the Reels: A ‘flood’ of bad acting
Everyone knows this Biblical story — the one of the great flood that envelopes the Earth, destroying all life. Darren Aronofsky’s latest film is an adaptation of this famous tale.
In Aronofsky’s version, Noah (Russell Crowe), is the last descendant of Seth, the son that replaces Abel in the film. With help from multiple visions and the advice of his grandfather Methuselah (Anthony Hopkins), Noah realizes that God (or “the Creator,” as he’s called in the film) plans to destroy humanity with the great flood.
Noah plans to build an ark for the animals to survive on with the help of the Watchers, fallen angels who were banished to Earth. Noah’s family, which includes his wife, Naameh (Jennifer Connelly), his three sons, Shem (Douglas Booth), Ham (Logan Lerman), and Japheth (Leo McHugh Carroll), and Shem’s wife, Ila (Emma Watson), must also take refuge on the ark.
“Noah” is one of those films where it’s important to know who the director is. Darren Arofnosky’s films are bleak, dark and the protagonist is usually a flawed, sometimes unlikable, character on the verge of ruin because of their obsession. In this case, Noah’s obsession is fulfilling God’s work, but it comes to the point where his relationship with his family becomes strained.
Anyone who’s a fan of Darren Arofnosky, whose previous films include “Black Swan” and “Requiem for a Dream,” will love “Noah,” but anyone who isn’t, probably won’t. Production-wise, the film is stunning. The sequences of the creation story are beautiful and the musical score by Clint Mansell is one of his best yet. However, the visual effects can occasionally be off — specifically with the animals — but for the most part, it’s impressive.
The film does have one, giant flaw that keeps it from being a truly great film: its characters. While there are a few compelling scenes, specifically during the climax of the film, they are ultimately paper-thin. Naameh is nothing more than the typical “supportive wife,” and there isn’t a single defining characteristic in any of Noah’s sons. Of course, none of this helps when most of the characters barely speak to each other. Despite their relationship, Ila and Shem never share a conversation together in this entire two-hour and 38-minute film. Naameh expresses her love for her sons a few times, but she’s never even seen with them.
The actors do their jobs, but are mostly interchangeable, with the exception of Emma Watson as Ila, whose emotional scenes are the best in the film. Arofnosky’s film isn’t the greatest Biblical story to have ever come out, but it certainly isn’t disappointing or uninteresting. Like most good Biblical epics, it has a sense of ambition to it. But unlike most Biblical epics, the ambition doesn’t make up for the film’s flaws. The film is worth a watch, at least once—even with the long runtime.
“Noah” is available to rent at TigerReels on the first floor of The University Union. Keep reading “Renting at the Reels” for more new movie picks.