I suppose you can’t make a movie about a global flood and a man building an ark to store all of the animals of the world without people drawing the comparison to the story of Noah from the bible. That’s a shame though because there’s an interesting movie in Darren Aronofsky’s Noah that might never get it’s due because it is so divorced from the story we’ve all heard a million times that I fear it’ll never get a chance. This is a story everyone knows and changing the answer to questions like “Why did God flood the earth?” or “How many people were on the ark?” or even “How many rock monsters are in this story?”
This is a dark unpleasant movie Aronofsky has made. This sentence could also be run in a review of Black Swan, Requiem for a Dream, or really any of his other movies with the possible exception of The Wrestler, which I only found unpleasant. This is unpleasant on a whole other scale though. This movie features the death, by drowning, of the overwhelming majority of the population of the planet and it isn’t even the most messed up thing that happens in the film. Most disturbing scene has to go to the one where Noah is about to stab his newborn twin granddaughters to death because he’s convinced that God wants the human race to die out with his children. What’s that you say? In the bible all three of Noah’s kids bring their wives with them and there’s no question the human race will continue? I don’t know what to tell you. Your bible probably doesn’t have rock monsters in it either.
Aronofsky is a great director and while this isn’t a great film his talent comes through in the visuals. The spiritual side of things is heavily stylized and colorful while the earth is all muted grays. It creates solid contrast and will almost get you to accept that man has ruined the earth provided to him. There’s also a fantastic sequence where Noah tells his children the biblical story of seven-day creation while we’re shown a much more scientific creation montage including evolution. It’s visually stunning but probably not worth the shit storm I’m sure is forthcoming from the more devout religious groups.
In the movie they identify the rock monsters as members of a group of angels called The Watchers and while doing a bit of research for this review I came across a fun fact. There are no examples of fallen Watchers in the actual bible but in the Book of Enoch, a non-canonical Jewish text, does describe a group of Watchers who fell including some that share names with characters in the movie Noah. This group of Watchers was kicked out of heaven because they couldn’t control their urges and started having sex with human women leading to a race of monster giants. None of this is in this movie and I probably would have rather seen that.