Movie Reviews & Interviews from Washington

‘Noah’ Review: Starring Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly & Emma Watson

It’s one of the most famous biblical epics and told through the eyes of visionary filmmaker Darren Aronofsky (2010’s Black Swan), Noah is a cinematic experience fueled by strong performances, gorgeous cinematography and a memorable score.

Based off the story that is told in The Book of Genesis in The Old Testament of The Bible, Noah is about a man who is chosen by God to build an ark to save his family and two of every living thing on earth before an apocalyptic flood.

Noah (Russell Crowe) and his wife Naameh (Jennifer Connelly), their three sons Shem (Douglas Booth), Ham (Logan Lerman) and Japheth (Leo McHugh Carroll) and Ila (Emma Watson), who they took in as a young girl, all start building the ark with the help of The Watchers.

Noah isn’t told word for word from the story in the Bible, but Aronofsky stays pretty true to the meaning of the story and manages to create what is a short story in the Bible to a two hour and ten minute long film. Noah isn’t a documentary or a non-fiction film, Aronofsky takes artistic license and made a film that all audiences can enjoy, discuss, learn from and question. It’s pro-religion, though it makes way for action heavy scenes that lead up to the flood.

Russell Crowe has already proved his acting skills time and time again, especially in 2000’s Gladiator and 2001’s A Beautiful Mind, but as our title character here, he is absolutely spectacular. His Noah is polarizing and thought provoking and if you’re expecting to find the cookie cutter Noah that is pictured in children’s books, you’ve come to the wrong place. Crowe’s Noah is loving, loyal, intense, brutal and even a little mad at times.

And we need to talk about Jennifer Connelly, who is not only one of the best actresses working today, but one of the most gorgeous as well. Aronofsky’s earthy tones and grim storytelling only added to Connelly’s incredible dark features, which enhanced her performance and made her all the more compelling to watch. This film is filled with amazing performances, but Connelly certainly stands out as one of the best I’ve seen all year. There is a gut-wrenching scene between her and Crowe and I was getting so choked up over it that I had to remind myself to breathe.

Though the film was not shot in IMAX, they converted the film to take up the full IMAX screen, which is worth the extra few bucks for the ticket. This is the type of movie that you want to see on the biggest screen possible and paired with the expert sound mixing on IMAX speakers creates a enjoyable movie theatre experience. The film is only being released on IMAX screens for one week only.

Aronofsky uses his signature quick edits to show the sequences of Noah speaking to God, who is referred to as The Creator in the film. The cinematography by Matthew Libatique is glorious and Clint Mansell’s enchanting score is a character in itself. Aronofsky’s dream team does their ultimate best in enhancing his vision and telling this story through swooping camera angles and dramatic music.

2014 has proved to be a successful year of biblical films, with last month’s Son of God, and now Noah, and later this year Ridley Scott’s Exodus starring Christian Bale will grace the screens. Aronofsky’s unique vision brought this incredible story to life beautifully and I’d be interested to see his take on other biblical stories. Crowe’s internal performance as Noah is one of the best of his career and one that we’ve seen this year.

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