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Byron Shire
February 5, 2023

Noah

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The movie had only been running for about fifteen minutes when it struck me, with head-banging certainty – ‘this is a crock’. It then went from bad to worse.

The story of Noah’s Ark, an ‘end of days’ morality saga about what happens if you anger a vengeful master, is told in three short chapters of Genesis.

Other than the flood and the animals, there is not a lot of material with which a filmmaker might construct a blockbuster but, with $125 million burning a hole in his pocket, director Darren Aronofsky has gone troppo and come up with a standard hero (Russell Crowe) versus thousands of bad guys (led by Ray Winston) action flick.

What is strange is that, despite his script’s being lifted straight out of the Bible, the word god is never uttered – ‘the Creator’ being Aronofsky’s weak-kneed alternative.

In screen adaptations of ancient documents it’s always interesting to see what is taken from the source and what is cut – the raven sent forth by Noah rarely gets a mention in popular re-telling, but is included here, as is the touching and identifiably human episode in which Noah’s sons cover their father’s body after he’d fallen down in a drunken stupor.

Otherwise, it is endless rubbish, veering hysterically from bizarre sci-fi, as fallen angels stumble about the landscape in the form of giant figures made out of stone, to dysfunctional family histrionics.

There aren’t a lot of laughs to be had in the Old Testament, but the sight of Anthony Hopkins as Methuselah scrabbling around in the undergrowth looking for berries to eat as the deluge engulfs him is enough to tickle anybody’s funnybone, atheist or believer.

Otherwise, the palette is crushingly black and brown and, sadly, the story’s most eloquent and heartening image – the one painted by countless artists – of the dove returning with an olive shoot in its beak, is an example of CGI at its most jarringly fake.

In its favour, Noah at least delivered some overdue decent rain to the shire.

Hallelujah.

~ John Campbell


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