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USA 2013 - with Russel Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Emma Watson, Sir Anthony Hopkins ...

The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:

Movie info

Original title:Noah
Genre:Adventure, Drama
Direction:Darren Aronofsky
Cinema release:03.04.2014
Production country:USA 2013
Running time:Approx. 138 min.
Rated:Age 12+

With his passion project Noah, acclaimed filmmaker Darren Aronofsky has caused much discussion and controversy long before even a second was seen from the film. After all, religiously themed material easily raises tempers - especially when someone dares to take a text from the Bible and then doesn't stage it completely true to the work, but instead delivers an interpretation all his own. And that's exactly what Aronofsky does with Noah. On the one hand, he sticks closely to the core of the biblical story, in which the earth is doomed and Noah (Russell Crowe) is chosen by God to build an ark to provide a fresh start after the coming flood. But Aronofsky takes the story much further, filling in gaps with his own ideas while attempting the seemingly impossible - his version of the biblical Flood is meant to delight both devout viewers and those who are rather unconcerned with religion.

This is especially evident in the scene where Noah tells the creation story. While his voice is virtually a voice over commentary, Aronofsky conjures up a fast-paced collage of images on the screen that aims to show that the notion of religion and science can indeed be combined. Combining the concept of a creator with theories of evolution is a very bold move, but one that the filmmaker masters quite skillfully. He will certainly not be able to convince anyone of his convictions, but at least he makes clear that a coexistence of several views is possible, especially in such important, but highly sensitive topics.

On the surface, this version of Noah may almost seem like a fantasy film. There are stone giants and strange-looking animals, great battles and destructive storms, all realized with great special effects. Admittedly, this has very little to do with dry religious instruction. But a look beneath the surface shows that Aronofsky has created a visually stunning portrait of a man who is driven nearly insane under the burden placed upon him by his creator, but who still holds on to his faith and beliefs. On the one hand, there are always aspects that make it clear why Noah and his wife never doubt for a moment that his visions could be a message from the Creator. The help of the stone giants, who are actually fallen angels, the way the barren environment suddenly becomes a fertile piece of land with everything needed to build the ark through the seeds from Eden that Noah receives from his grandfather (Anthony Hopkins), the appearance of the animals - all these are very clear signs.

But at the same time, Aronofsky also shows doubts about whether Noah actually interprets the message he was given correctly. And therein lies a very important message of the film: there is no such thing as unequivocal truth. The interpretation of religious texts is always a matter of one's own interpretation: how else can it be explained that some preach about a peace-loving God, while others use the same text to discriminate or even kill in the name of God? The example of Noah makes it clear what fatal consequences a wrong interpretation can have. And in the end, only the question remains: does he almost break from the fact that he has become aware of this wrong interpretation or from the fact that he still believes that his interpretation of the visions was the only correct one and that he has therefore failed?

Whether the rather action-heavy subplot with Tubail-can (Ray Winstone) would really have been needed to convey the film's message, on the other hand, may be doubted. His portrait of the arrogant man who sees himself as the crown of creation and puts his needs above all else is too striking. Sure, Winstone's performance is very good and his character also brings some tension into play. But he's not really necessary to the film. The same could be said for Anthony Hopkins as Methusalah, especially since he is only seen very briefly in the film, which is far too long. But the way he makes clear in a wonderful scene that the great beauty of our world can sometimes lie in the small things, gives his character a deeper meaning.

No question, Noah will divide the minds, that can not be prevented with a religious theme as said in principle. Also Aronofsky's sometimes a bit bulky and long-winded production is guaranteed not everyone's cup of tea. But what can't be denied is that the film is visually fascinating (even if the 3D conversion is absolutely unnecessary) and that the staging is very ambitious and in many respects very brave. That alone makes this work absolutely worth seeing! Everything else is what religion should actually be: a very personal opinion, which one should not necessarily share, but definitely respect!

An article by Frankfurt-Tipp


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Cinema trailer for the movie "Noah (USA 2013)"
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