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STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Russell Crowe
Logan Lerman
Douglas Booth.
Directors
Darren Aronofsky.
Screenwriters
Darren Aronofsky
John Logan.
Running Time
138 minutes

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Noah
And the gale


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Plot
The world after the fall from Paradise is corrupt, wicked and in decline, held in thrall by Tubal-cain (Winstone), descendant of the first murderer. But Noah (Crowe), of the righteous line of Seth, receives a vision from the Creator: the world will be cleansed and all its creatures - mankind aside - must be saved.


Review
Noah
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It is not very often that a movie like Noah comes along: something mounted on a massive scale, employing the full arsenal of a big studio event, but which remains the unmodified fruit of a singular filmmaker's creative passion. Who does Darren Aronofsky think he is? Christopher Nolan?

Of course he doesn't. Nolan, by whichever fiendishly brilliant algorithm that lurks in that perpetual-motion subconscious, has refined his own crowd-wowing formula — oft-imitated, not yet bettered. Aronofsky flickers and changes form, expanding, contracting and adapting his style to his chosen story, which always has something heavily personal at its core and is never modulated to broaden its appeal. He is an auteur who appears to take pride in his assertion (untrue) that no individual could like all of his six films thus far, from the monochromatic migraine Pi, via his surprise-hit ballet-horror Black Swan ($330 million worldwide!), to this astonishing, semi-biblical epic that he's been hankering to execute his entire professional life.

You can see why Paramount got cold feet during the edit and tinkered with its own cuts. Thankfully, Aronofsky's version won out — one which dares to challenge its 12A audience and requires us to embrace some bristly contradictions.

In one magnificent sequence, Noah (Russell Crowe) relates the story of creation while Aronofsky employs aeons-spanning time-lapse to present a strobing vision of Darwinian evolution: the first splitting cell to Adam and Eve — several billion years in seven days in a few minutes of intelligent design.

In the beginning, we are presented a prediluvian world which feels post-apocalyptic. The voracious, rapacious spawn of Cain have hollowed the world, building cities, digging mines, hunting forgotten species to extinction. There is even technology of a kind, powered by divinely glowing and explosive material. Meanwhile, beneath a sky dotted with huge, young stars, Noah and his tiny clan eke out a humble, desperate existence amid deforested wastelands marred by puddles of greenly toxic effluence. It is our worst ecological nightmare.

We are also presented a main character who is both protagonist and antagonist, and therefore perfectly cast in the intimidating, dour and burly form of Russell Crowe. Initially, Noah is saviour: a man who unites with fallen angels, known as Watchers, that are now twisted, multi-limbed giants encrusted in rock and magma, and welcomes even the slithering things into his 300-cubit-long, Watcher-constructed coffin, gently sedating the animals with a soporific incense. Yet he is also an accomplice in the implacable Creator's genocide: just following orders as he allows an innocent young girl, with whom his middle son Ham (Logan Lerman) is besotted, to die violently — soon joined by the wailing multitudes clinging in dread to the diminishing peak beside his unwelcoming ark, their screams falling on Noah's deaf ears. Furthermore, as the storm subsides and the ark bobs about, he terrorises his own family, having become the epitome of patriarchal tyranny through his belief that even Seth's line should not survive the great cleansing. Nominal bad guy Tubal-cain (Ray Winstone) has a point when he observes that Noah "fills this ship with beasts while letting children drown".

While there are moments of wonder and creative spectacle, it does make for intense and difficult viewing, a far cry from the sappy Sunday school take on these verses from Genesis. For which we are truly thankful.


Verdict
Inventive, ambitious, brutal and beautiful: a potent mythological epic. But also wilfully challenging, as likely to infuriate as inspire, whether through its unmitigated Old Testament harshness or its eco-message revisionism. If only more blockbusters were like this.


Reviewed by Dan Jolin

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Noah
Empire Star Rating

Good God

Like drowning in a puddle. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ajgr1983 at 22:53, 31 October 2014 | Report This Post


RE: Completely awful

Watched this in 3D yesterday. Awesome movie, i loved pretty much everything about it. Great performance mfrom Crowe, mostly fantastic FX and first rate 3D. Just stunning to behold. ... More

Posted by DONOVAN KURTWOOD at 13:57, 04 September 2014 | Report This Post


Completely awful

One of the worst major movies in a long time. I would rather watch Transformers 4 ten times than sit through Noah again. Depressing, stupid, boring... There isn't a good reason for any human being to watch this terrible film. No stars. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by MaxBeta at 23:51, 11 August 2014 | Report This Post


I wonder how much money Paramount paid Dan Jolin to write this review. I love Aronofsky and his worse movie could be compared with the best of others but this. One star is too much. I don't even know what he was trying to do here. Shame. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by smakris04 at 21:50, 10 July 2014 | Report This Post


what a shame ..

I was so looking forward to it ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by joannakanga at 15:36, 08 July 2014 | Report This Post


Is is possible to award - star rating? .. I wish

By far the most abominable film I've seen in a very very very long time. Rock transformers, eco-platitudes, pained expressions, token Hollywood barbie offspring, kindergarten CGI, the worst script of all time .. Oh well, I did want to see the animals go into the Ark, serves me right. Russell - go get a drink mate, Noah did .. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by joannakanga at 15:35, 08 July 2014 | Report This Post


Is is possible to award - star rating? .. I wish

By far the most abominable film I've seen in a very very very long time. Rock transformers, eco-platitudes, pained expressions, token Hollywood barbie offspring, kindergarten CGI, the worst script of all time .. Oh well, I did want to see the animals go into the Ark, serves me right. Russell - go get a drink mate, Noah did .. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by joannakanga at 15:34, 08 July 2014 | Report This Post


The statement or lack thereof in Noah

Darron Aronofsky's Noah is an interesting film based on the biblical story of Noah. And of course because of its controversial base text, most reviews and critiques I've read are all about the wild creative license the writer has taken to create his film. I'm sure he expected this as well as the unfortunate shadowing of what is truly just a good movie. Anyone unaware of Aronofsky's professed humanism and/or his unique story-telling voice as portrayed on film from the similarly creative and at ti... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by emilyelizabeth1283 at 01:16, 07 July 2014 | Report This Post


Average user rating: 1 star?

How can you all give a movie like this only 1 star? For once, one director tries to complexify the rules of a blockbuster, to insert a deep message, to bolden his vision with fantasy elements, and to understand a very complicated, troubled politically-incorrect character, without mocking him. What the f*ck happened with Empire readers? Have they become so formated by Marvel movies that they can't accept any blockbuster that dares to change the rules? The movie is not action-based, so it becom... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by dseys at 11:49, 27 April 2014 | Report This Post


RE: NOAH - Garbage.

The populations of Islamic countries such as Pakistan, Qatar, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia can count themselves fortunate indeed. This pile of excrement has been banned there. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Peregrine Took at 00:37, 24 April 2014 | Report This Post


NOAH - Garbage.

This film is dreadful. It falls between two stools - it doesn't follow the Bible story, but also isn't an adventure blockbuster. The special effects were good but the story was completely ridiculous. Where did the watchers come from ? A complete and total waste of all the actors, (and actresses) time. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by jimcresta44 at 10:01, 23 April 2014 | Report This Post


Dross

Dreadful in so many ways I can't be a**ed to recount. Well, OK, I'll at least make a start... Rich in cliche Creationist rubbish Hermione Granger's eyebrows still out of control Bad CGI rock "ents" The whole film is an exercise in misery, which intensifies as it goes on I can't believe that Aronofsky, he who rocked The Wrestler and went beyond brilliant with Black Swan, is responsible for this. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by sunflies at 20:01, 22 April 2014 | Report This Post


RE: Noah

Anthony Hopkins loves berries, and God's a bit of a cunt. ... More

Posted by Hood_Man at 23:11, 16 April 2014 | Report This Post


RE: Noah

Ludicrous. ... More

Posted by spamandham at 21:45, 13 April 2014 | Report This Post


Pah

Before the flood did everyone choose their own accents? Seems you could have been English, Welsh, American or Australian in Old Testament times ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Poshrosh at 16:11, 12 April 2014 | Report This Post


NOT A DROP TO DRINK....

An acorn from the original Garden of Eden? Methuselah as an ancient sword wielding hero of yore? Fallen angels – who turn into fearsome rock creatures? Clearly, this is a version of the great flood that you have to take with a huge pinch of salt. It’s far too long for starters – and I could have done without all that unconvincing teenage angst rubbish which seems to have been inserted into the narrative only to bring in the prized Twilight/Hunger Games demographic. Top notch SF... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ROTGUT at 13:08, 12 April 2014 | Report This Post


Even God can't miracle this one four stars

Extremely difficult to sit through this for over two hours. I only did in the vain attempt it would rescue itself, which it didn't. The CGI animals could have been drawn by a 12 year old. The rock creatures were like The LOTR Ents before they went pro. A great cast who must be drinking themselves silly by now, wondering how the hell they got themselves into that. If you really want to enjoy this film, drink litres of water, spend most of the time in the toilet peeing, you'll enjoy that more. I'l... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Cutting room at 01:33, 12 April 2014 | Report This Post


RE: Noah

Achieves a special kind of awful. It is that mercifully rare thing, a bible story with a transformers subtext. I didn't like Black Swan, but I came away from that at least thinking Mr. Aronofsky was a serious film maker. Now I just picture him wearing one of those little caps with a propeller on it. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by demoncleaner at 13:40, 11 April 2014 | Report This Post


Four stars ...what a Joke

Hard work to watch. I just got more disappointed with the movie as it went on. It culminates in me walking out 5 minutes from the end. It was a crap movie. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by dinkydog at 22:12, 10 April 2014 | Report This Post


The film should have been drowned at birth

Repulsive film making. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Pop Leibel at 21:05, 10 April 2014 | Report This Post


One word review: diabiblical

Awful from start to finish. That is all. I won't waste another precious second on this waste of time. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by lelandmeeks at 20:10, 10 April 2014 | Report This Post


RE: Noah

Four stars!? Are you serious? This is one of the most dreadful films I've seen so far this year. Watching it is punishment enough for the sins of mankind. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by steviek20 at 15:03, 10 April 2014 | Report This Post


Great review, Dan. Agreed on all points of your verdict. Incredible scenes of creation and very creative handling of such a well-known tale. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Jess2312 at 02:26, 10 April 2014 | Report This Post


An expensive mess

I came away with really mixed feelings about the film. Some parts were superb and other areas appalling. On the whole I thought the cast was fine. Connelly was great and Watson's overly expressive eyebrows seemed less annoying than usual. The rock monsters/transformers were very poorly done and ill advised. I'd have cut the whole battle scene to be honest. It wasn't needed. At time the CGI was very well done and at other times it was laughable. What was with the need for the awful CGI babi... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by jmebaby25 at 09:59, 09 April 2014 | Report This Post


RE: Noah

Throughout the work of arthouse extraordinaire Darren Aronofsky, there has always been a religious theme, such as a conversation about kabbalah in his debut Pi, an epic journey of love and the Tree of Life in his underrated masterpiece The Fountain, and even the strange Christ-like imagery of Mickey Rourke’s battered boy in The Wrestler. Whilst we await for Ridley Scott’s upcoming Exodus, Aronofsky’s big-budgeted retelling of Noah’s Ark seems to mark the return of the biblical epic. As the... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by R W at 22:24, 08 April 2014 | Report This Post


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