Noah - At the Movies - Review

Russell Crowe in Noah.
Russell Crowe in Noah.

It’s been banned in countries such as Pakistan and Malaysia but I am sure there’ll be a few people from Ireland wishing ‘Noah’ had been banned here too.

The reason the film was banned in Pakistan, Egypt and Malaysia is because the censors there thought it contradicted the teachings of Islam but the reason it should have been banned here is because it’s so disappointing.

I am no fan of religion and I find the way Catholics pick and chose their way through the Old Testament utterly hypocritical and amusing but my dislike of religion aside, the story of Noah’s arc is an engaging and entertaining one.

Whether you’re Atheist, Agnostic or devout Christian, there’s no denying just how brilliant and imaginative a story it actually is.

You’d think with a super storyline in the bag, director Darren Aronofsky et al couldn’t fail - well, they did.

‘Noah’ is so disappointing that after the film was over I came as close to experiencing shock as one can possibly get in a cinema.

Despite the best efforts of Aronofsky and leading man Russell Crowe, ‘Noah’ just ends up feeling like how it does when you start reading a book and a you soon realise it’s pants but the purist in you says keep going to the end.

Clearly inspired by the Biblical tale of Noah and his arc full of beasts, Aronofsky’s film never once refers to God. Instead, the man upstairs is called ‘The Creator’ and it’s not clear if the movie is set in the future or the past or indeed, Planet Earth.

The movie opens with Noah witnessing the murder of his father and as a descendent of Seth (one of three sons of Adam and Eve) it is up to him to look after creation but when Noah has a premonition he sets out with his family to locate his grandfather, Methuselah (Anthony Hopkins) in order to ask him what he must do.

Noah realises that ‘The Creator’ intends on cleansing the world of the wickedness of men and as far as ‘The Creator’ is concerned the innocent (the animals) must be saved.

Noah sets out with his three sons, wife and adopted daughter to build the arc before the great flood comes but his work attracts the attention of evil King Tubal-cain who intends on taking the arc when the storm comes.

Many of the Biblical characters are all present and correct but the last time I checked, there are no stone giants in the Bible.

The stone giants, known as ‘The Watchers’ in Aronofsky’s film are fallen angels who watch over men but they just end up looking Transformers with acute leprosy. They are utterly ridiculous.

The scene when the arc is finally launched is quite impressive but the CGI used to convey the sheer scale of wild animals on board the arc is quite pathetic. There are films 20 years old with better special effects than what is on show here.

Perhaps one of the most disappointing aspects of the film is Crowe’s performance.

As a leading man, he isn’t able to carry a movie like he used to and increasingly, he just ends up giving the same performance he has even in every other film since ‘Gladiator’.

Jennifer Connelly plays Noah’s wife Naameh whilst Emma Watson takes on the role of adopted daughter Ila but even their strong performances fail to retrieve the movie from the depths of disappointment.

Ray Winstone is Tubal-cain and even though the London born actor is pretty good at being bad, he has been completely miscast.

Winstone is a superb actor but in this instance he drops the ball and it just made me think, why didn’t Liam Neeson accept the role when it first offered to him?

There’s so much about this film that just doesn’t make sense and in the hands of such a talented director as Aronofsky, ‘Noah’ should have been much much better.

‘Noah’ is currently showing at the Brunswick Moviebowl; for full cinema listings visit www.brunswickmoviebowl.com

VERDICT: 3/5 - Aronofsky’s movie didn’t float my boat and it’s sure to say that it’ll make more film fans want to sink than swim.

Aronofsky is without question a talented director, which makes the fact ‘Noah’ is so average a huge disappointment.

Russell Crowe no longer possesses the gravitas to make a film his own and his off screen persona has become bigger than anything he will ever create on set. Some of the special effects are impressive but the CGI used to show the animals is amongst the worst I’ve seen all year. It’s an entertaining movie nonetheless.