I’m indifferent to Darren Aronofsky as a director. Maybe indifferent is the wrong word, but he doesn’t light me on fire in any way. I enjoyed Black Swan. Thought The Fountain was okay. Requiem for a Dream is one of those movies I thought was fantastic, but I have no intention of ever watching again unless I desperately need to feel better about myself. Noah seemed like one of those movies that might be interesting, but not movie theater interesting, and in the end left me feeling flood water tepid.
For a subject matter with the potential to be – and I hesitate to use the word – epic, Noah is surprisingly flat and without character. Most of the film is plodding and on-rails, moving from one point to the next with minimal flair never much rising above its lumbering narrative. There are moments of interest when the film skews more towards the fantastic, these Aronofsky handling with his typical artistic flare, which lent Noah some much needed excitement. I suspect most everyone who wanted to see the film are familiar enough with the story of the ark without needing too much history (much in the same way I tire of origin after origin story for every superhero reboot), and the pieces which may be unknown to some are not compelling enough to win wavering attentions. There is a sub-plot pitting the Men of Cain (bad guys) again the Men of Seth (Noah, “good guys”) explained through some spliced cuts and quick story moments, though the conflict is largely bland black-and-white. I suppose when the source material is largely black-and-white there is some excuse, though that feels flimsy instead of doing some work and making the motivation of Cain’s people less Bond villain blatant.
Time is an issue with Noah. There is an obvious moment when a jump occurs as the children become adults and near-adults, but beyond that break the rest is ambiguous. They’re working on the ark. Animals start coming. They keep working on the ark. But then it starts raining, so I guess they’re done with the ark but there’s still scaffolding. Then Hermione gets pregnant and the next scene she’s having babies. A stowaway on the ark comes aboard secretly (kinda) right when the flood hits, and there’s a bit of a Hollywood fight scene between Noah and Bad Guy as Hermione is having the kids, meaning Bad Guy was on the ship for at least nine months without anyone noticing. In a movie with angel rock giants, talking snakes, nine-hundred plus year old men, and all those animals, it may be strange that’s my moment of disbelief, but there we are. It’s indicative of the film as a whole: somehow rushed and somehow plodding.
Everyone in the film was fine. Seemed like they had all the time in the world and were mostly unexcited about anything. But fine.
I’m trying to think of more to say about Noah, and I honestly can’t be bothered. I mean, it’s not bad, there’s just no reason to care about it. That last sentence should be the review.