Noah – a movie review

Noah Russell Poster Exchanging his gladiator sword and horse and the adulation of crowds for coarse clothes and a tent somewhere in the wilderness does not make Russell Crowe skip a beat. In fact he looks perfectly at home in the harsh, barren surroundings of a world segregated by the choices humans have made. In this new movie, Crowe plays Noah, a man who belongs to the tribe of Seth, a peace-loving group of people who live off the land and believe in The Creator. As one of the last men of his tribe, it’s his responsibility to carry on his bloodline and live mindfully, just as his ancestors have done before him. Conflict is brought about by the descendants of Cain, who, after slaying his brother, went on to build great cities that eventually gobbled up the land’s resources. And as the descendants of the two tribes come face to face, death follows, just like it did the sons of Adam so long ago.

I went to see this movie not expecting too much from it. My religious knowledge concerning Noah is limited to the greater picture instead of the finer details and the movie blended the parts that I knew with interesting pieces that fit perfectly into the story. God is referred to as The Creator, and his appearance in the story is limited to weather-related effects instead of the white robed man, which adds more credibility to the narrative. The visual effects are stunning, the grandiose ark, the animals, the battle scenes, all contribute to a Lord of the Rings imposing grandeur. Jennifer Connelly plays Noah wife and she succeeds in bringing raw emotions into this retelling, as does Emma Watson whose part becomes harrowing to watch at a point. Ray Winstone, as Tubal-cain, the descendant king of Cain, is an opponent worthy of Crowe, and their fight scene is one of the best moments of the story. Anthony Hopkins is Methuselah, Noah’s grandfather, and even though his role is small, it’s pivotal to the story nevertheless.

Although the director has chosen to tell a story using a well known biblical character, this can very well be a story set in our times, as it brings into focus issues humanity has been facing for a while: the overworking of land for profit, killing animals for the special powers they supposedly have, greed, war, and the list can go on. But it’s not only the dark side of humanity that gets displayed in all its ugliness; there is also love, forgiveness, and the ability to see beyond a narrow path and the belief into a better future. Noah has a task – to ensure the survival of the innocents – the animals. His path seems clear cut, and he has everything he needs in order to make sure his task is done. But as he struggles to do what he thinks he is supposed to, other elements complicate the story, and the eternal question looms large: is this really what he must do, or does he have a choice? Is this his destiny or can he take destiny into his own hands?

I really enjoyed this movie, most of all for its message which was delivered in a non-preaching manner that manages to use the story of Noah as a clever way to spotlight the human capacity for destruction and also its immense capacity for love and forgiveness. It’s a powerful, emotional, deep story that goes deeper than the story of a man who built an ark. It’s the story of an ending, and the possibility of a new beginning.
I was also disappointed to see the low ranking it got on A low 6.6/10 which was a pity, really. I wonder if people were frustrated by the deviation from the biblical story or they just did not get the message. Have you seen the movie? What did you think?

My rating: 8.5/10

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12 Responses to Noah – a movie review

  1. Vishy says:

    Beautiful review, Delia! It is nice to see that the old firm of Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly have been reunited in this movie. This looks like an interesting retelling of the biblical epic. The cast looks quite awesome – wonderful to see Anthony Hopkins and Emma Watson there. It is interesting that the story blends in contemporary concerns (natural resource exploitation, environmental issues) with the traditional story. The question on whether Noah has a choice, makes me want to watch this movie, because I can see a twist in the tale hidden right there 🙂 Sorry to know that the movie didn’t get a high rating in IMDB. I hope that as more people watch it the rating improves. Thanks for this wonderful review.

  2. Delia says:

    There is a twist, and quite an unexpected one but you will have to watch the movie to find out more. I think you would like it. Anthony Hopkins is quite good in his role as well – in the movie he has a craving for berries and when he finally finds one…I know it may sound trivial out of context but that scene is beautiful.

  3. Brian Joseph says:

    Great review Delia. I really want to see this one now.

    As fir deviation from the Biblical story, I think that it a good thing. Personally my interpretation of these Old Testament is way different from the conventional view anyway. My point being that there is no one way to portray this story that everyone will agree with.

    It also has a very impressive cast.

    • Delia says:

      I hope you see it, Brian, it’s a wonderful movie that deserves more attention.
      You are right of course about not being only one way to interpret the story, but I think the version depicted here should satisfy everyone as long as they keep an open mind.
      The actors did a great job, all of them.

  4. Vasilly says:

    Nice review! I haven’t seen the movie and didn’t have the desire to. Now that I’ve read your review, I want to see it for myself. Thanks for reviewing it.

    • Delia says:

      I didn’t really feel like watching it either but then I like Russell Crowe and decided to see it. It was much better than I expected. I hope you get to see it.

  5. TBM says:

    How in the world have I not heard of this film? I need to get out of my flat more and go to the theater. I love Crowe.

  6. Athira says:

    I know even less about Noah – (his Ark is all that comes to mind). I would love to watch this one – I have heard some good things about this one.

    • Delia says:

      All the more reason to watch this movie. If you do end up watching it and writing a blog post about it, I’ll be very interested in reading it. 🙂

  7. Priya says:

    Wow, that’s a whole lot to get when you’re not expecting much. I’m surprised I hadn’t even heard of this movie till I read your review, but now I seem to see it everywhere. I like it when retellings veer off the original story, I mean that’s kind of the point to me; a deviation wouldn’t bother me. But even a friend told me it wasn’t well received, although you review makes it sound worth the watch. And I will!

    • Delia says:

      It was a very nice surprise, indeed. I thought the movie was very well done, and the parallels to the world we live in today striking, but that’s just my interpretation.
      I almost missed watching it as well, but I like Russell Crowe and was curios to see how he managed to portray Noah. It turns out he managed quite well. I really hope that not being well received won’t stop you from seeing it.

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