Darren Aronofsky’s Noah couldn’t be accused of being slavishly faithful to its source material. At the same time, it hasn’t taken the greatest deluge ever told and reduced it to fodder for mindless spectacle. Rather, it’s a work of remarkable ambition and often awesome execution that uses its themes to anchor its lavish visuals and sweeping drama.
Recognising that the Bible has left itself somewhat open to interpretation, Aronofsky takes liberties with scripture and indulges in some bold stylistic choices. Roaming the devastated landscape are The Watchers, monolithic fallen angels who seem to have crawled off a workbench in Ray Harryhausen’s studio. Elsewhere, the story of Genesis is recounted via strobing time-lapse images and Clint Mansell’s spacey score proves conducive to the odd hallucinatory flourish.
That said, Aronofsky’s riskiest – and most rewarding – decision is positioning the flood as the centrepiece of his film rather than the climax. A ferocious onslaught of CGI and practical effects, it’s one of the more impressively orchestrated disasters unleashed on the big screen.
Aronofsky’s first bona-fide blockbuster is a sweat-stained labour of love. Audacious and uncompromising, it’s a legitimate epic