‘Noah’ provides strong performances, fresh take on Biblical tale

Russell Crowe (right) gives a riveting performance as the titular Noah.  (Photo provided by studio)
Russell Crowe (right) gives a riveting performance as the titular Noah. (Photo provided by studio)

There are many individuals that are skeptical about going and seeing “Noah,” myself included, because this movie is based off a tale from    the Bible.

However, the movie does an incredible job of staying true to the source material without forcing religion down the viewer’s throat. The acting and writing for “Noah” are top notch. While the movie somewhat overstays its welcome, this is a version of the story of Noah that’s definitely worth seeing.

The best part of “Noah” has to be how great the performances are across the board. Russell Crowe (“Winter’s Tale”) and Emma Watson (“This is the End”) in particular steal the show, as Noah and Ila. They succeeded in giving the movie emotional complexity and life. This movie follows the life story of Noah but it also does an incredible job at looking at the dark side of humanity.

The world of Noah seems much more of a post-apocalyptic one than one set in the past. The movie does a great job of both introducing the world and its history, and then bringing this world to life. The time spent in the slums of this society make you feel empathetic for the humans trying to fight their way onto the arc. Our villain Tubal-cain is not only a physically intimidating murderer, but also a charismatic leader. Tubal-cain wants to steal the ark from Noah for man. He believes “the creator” has left mankind to fend for itself and that man’s destiny lies in his own hands. This man, while obviously dark and a leader of a corrupt society, is at the same time fighting to save thousands of lives.

“Noah” has a very simple plot, but it does a phenomenal job of looking at the issue from different perspectives. Our villain is the product of a corrupt society but still has hopes to save humanity, while our hero is condemning thousands to death, choosing only to save his own family.

“Noah” portrays the story in a way that looks at the darkness and conviction in all men, even our hero. Watson, Logan Lerman (“Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters”), and Jennifer Connelly (“He’s Just Not That Into You”) serve incredibly as our supporting cast. Jennifer Connelly is Naameh, Noah’s wife, and throughout the movie she challenges Noah and his convictions, questioning the dark actions he is forced to commit out of love for their family. Emma Watson gives one of her best performances to date as Ila, a woman unable to produce children who is thus willing to both give up the man she loves and her spot on the ark. The production value of “Noah” is undoubtedly incredible. From the thousands of animals and the massive arc to the bottomless oceans and cities of man, “Noah” consistently impresses. The world is immersive and full of life. In particular, there was one very well-done sequence showing the process of evolution as it happened over the seven days of creation.

The only flaw in the film is running time. The movie is a lengthy one because it covers every part of Noah’s life, beginning to end. While it’s hard to determine what exactly should have been cut from “Noah,” the movie definitely seemed to drag on at certain points. There were also some very shallow and overlooked characters that lacked any personality or screen time, but were still integral to the story. Some of the side stories, while meaningful, seem to be in the film just for the sake of creating drama.

As a religious tale, “Noah” creates a story and world that will appeal to all. The acting and writing in “Noah” are phenomenal, and Russell Crowe’s performance is both complex and deep as he portrays the good and evil in humanity. For the most part, the supporting cast performs well and the plot and subplot throughout “Noah” are well thought-out. “Noah” suffers from issues in length and underdeveloped characters and subplots, but is still a movie worth seeing, if for no other reason than how great the performances are from the primary cast.