When I saw all the posters and such for Noah it looked like a standard, swords and sandals-esque film starring Russell Crowe, whom I am not a fan of, he isn’t bad it’s just an actor I have grown overly tired of, especially in swords and sandals type films. Then I saw that it was written and directed by Darren Aronofsky, I had to check IMDB to make sure that it was the same Darren Aronofsky that directed the phenomenal Black Swan and the fantastic The Wrestler; it was. I was shocked at why Aronofsky would seemingly waste his time on this big budget film, more shocked by the fact that it looked bad.
‘Noah’ is a film of two halves, the first half of the film is stunning, beautiful camera work, gorgeous rolling establishing shots, exposition told through an amazing animated piece and the high fantasy action scenes are some of the best I have seen for a while, certainly far better than I was expecting. You can truly see why Aronofsky wanted to do this film, he is enamoured by the story and it was playing out so well, the acting was as good as it needed to be, the CGI was fantastic, the action set pieces flowed perfectly.
Then the second half of the film wiped all that away, it was literally the flood that got rid of all the beauty and the film went from being a fantasy film with great action to a drama and a character study, the biggest problem being of course is that the characters were the least well crafted part of this film, which only becomes blatant as the film screeches to a halt after the flood hits and the film relies on the interactions between these characters.
It is after the flood hits that the excellent pacing, interesting story and great directing goes out of the window. This could have been a choice of Aronofsky to show that the flood wiped everything away leaving only a few characters, again the problem being that these characters often feel two dimensional with nothing interesting about them.
This change between halves is so jarring that it almost feels like they are two separate films, directed and written by separate people, which is interesting considering that there are only two writers. If the film would have ended when the flood hit, I would have been happy with the film and it would have gone down as a great fantasy film in my mind, however because it drudged along for another 70 or so minutes the film left a bad taste in my mouth.
It was better than the absolute train wreck I thought it would be and the first half astounded me at how good it was but that was not enough to make up the drearily dull second half.