Darren Aronofsky’s biblical epic Noah starring Russell Crowe, Anthony Hopkins & Emma Watson arrives in UK cinemas April 4th. Are you looking forward to it..?
Director Darren Aronofsky isn’t a director who does things by halves. He takes familiar subjects and turns them into something truly unique. Indeed, his passion for every project erupts from the screen through actors who are clearly engulfed by his all or nothing approach to the subject matter. You can take anything from his back catalogue, be it the unforgettable Requiem for a Dream or the incredible off-kilter rags to oblivion tales seen in The Wrestler and Black Swan. He is an auteur who seems to make the obscure feel conventional, a filmmaker who can make even the bleakest of stories appealing to a mass audience. In his latest film, he turns his attentions to the bible, elaborating upon the story of Noah as first seen in the book of Genesis.
Russell Crowe is the titular character with supporting roles for an impressive ensemble that includes Anthony Hopkins, Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Emma Watson and Logan Lerman. Aronofsky says he first conceived of the idea many years ago having been fascinated by the figure of Noah since childhood. The director says he sees Noah as “a dark, complicated character” who experiences “real survivor’s guilt”.
Ari Handel, Aronofsky’s collaborator on The Fountain, The Wrestler and Black Swan, helped him develop the script which was then turned into a graphic novel by Canadian artist Niko Henrichon and released in the French language in 2011. The graphic novel helped Aronofsky tempt Paramount into funding the large-scale movie project with a budget of $130m.
While the film has yet to be released anywhere, it has provoked controversy. Unsurprisingly, its biblical foundations have ruffled the feathers of both Christians and non-Christians. The Faith Driven Consumers in America, a Christian church organisation, were recently polled having not seen the film about their feeling towards Hollywood’s depiction of their religion. 98% said they were not satisfied. Meanwhile, the film has already been banned in countries where Islam is the predominant faith with Paramount recently confirming Noah will not be screened in the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Qatar.
But there’s no such thing as bad publicity! It isn’t as if a Darren Aronofksy film needs a grand introduction. Given the consistent quality of his previous work there’s plenty of enthusiasm surrounding Noah but has the director finally bitten off more than he can chew. There’s a big difference between taking on subjects such as drug addiction and wrestling, and depicting a biblical story with obvious creative license. People have a much closer line to the subject here, perhaps similar to his own. But will that turn people away if Aronofsky’s vision fails to enthral?
Ultimately, however, Noah is almost certainly going to be memorable. We’ve seen in the past that when filmmakers take on the bible (Gibson with The Passion of the Christ, Scorsese with The Last Temptation of Christ), theses films live long in the memory, for better and for worse.
Check out the trailer below… Are you looking forward to Noah?