New York Times: 'Noah' 'Less an Epic Than a Horror Movie'
Many versions of the tale — including that Sunday-school and summer camp song that has been stuck in my head for decades — emphasize the happy outcome: the rainbow, the dove, the cute paired-off beasts, the repopulation of the flood-cleansed earth. But Darren Aronofsky, in his ambitious fusion of Old Testament awe with modern blockbuster spectacle, dwells on the dark and troubling implications of Noah’s experience. “Noah,” Mr. Aronofsky’s earnest, uneven, intermittently powerful film, is both a psychological case study and a parable of hubris and humility. At its best, it shares some its namesake’s ferocious conviction, and not a little of his madness.
[T]hough the scale of this film — the size of its budget and the breadth of its themes — is larger than anything this director has attempted before, “Noah” is less an epic than a horror movie. There are some big, noisy battle scenes and some whiz-bang computer-generated images, but the dominant moods are claustrophobia and incipient panic. The most potent special effects are Mr. Crowe’s eyes and the swelling, discordant strains of Clint Mansell’s score. Once the waters have covered the earth and the ark is afloat, a clammy fear sets in, for both the audience and the members of Noah’s family: We’re stuck on a boat full of snakes, rats and insects, and Dad’s gone crazy.
The way Noah sees it, he has been chosen not to save mankind but to ensure its annihilation.
Mr. Crowe has no problem playing this kind of monster. He specializes in portraying righteousness pushed to the point of murderous, monomaniacal rage. He also benefits from the presence of gentler, more emotionally flexible performers, and here he has, in addition to Ms. Connelly (in a variation on her role as the capable, patient wife in “A Beautiful Mind”), Emma Watson and Anthony Hopkins.
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