Three-quarters of the way through Darren Aronofsky's Noah, the titular character and his family are huddled in the ark with the remains of the world's critters and he retells the creation story. The story is fairly close to biblical text but the visual elements are pulled straight from the Evolutionist's Bible. It's a pretty neat trick. In fact, the entire film (which stars Russell Crowe as Noah and Jennifer Connelly as his wife, who was not given a name in Scripture but is called Naameh in the film) is tricky in that one is never sure of the point of this cagey retelling of The Flood. Has Aronofsky (a skilled visual artist, for sure) recast the ancient story of the Creator's great displeasure with his Creation (at least the human element of it) as an environmentalists' cautionary tale (the CGI animals are marvelous) or is it, like others of Aronofsky's films, a weird study of destruction and delusion. I must say I spent so much time trying to puzzle out this question that I never connected with any of the rage and emoting on the screen and there's plenty of it courtesy of Ray Winstone as the murderously carnivorous Tubal-cain and Emma Watson as another filmic construct Ila, the once-barren but then miraculously fertile wife of Noah's oldest son, the noble Shem, played by Douglas Booth). Crowe and Connelly (a compelling coupling in A Brilliant Mind) are good here -- he's all righteous stoicism and she's all weepy, loving connivance. Recommended but it's not a Sunday School lesson.


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