Critics' Corner: Noah

Russell Crowe has been flirting with greatness nearly his entire career. In fact, if you look at the movies that he has been a part of or the lead actor in, you in the least have to assume that he is easily one of the most respected actors in Hollywood; "L.A. Confidential", "The Insider", "Gladiator", "A Beautiful Mind", "Master and Commander", "Cinderella Man", "American Gangster", "Les Miserables" and now "Noah". On top of that, he's not always been the best at avoiding criticism for his off camera antics, box office failures and even his singing. So, why not shoulder another film that may be open to criticism?

Well, if my opinion is worth anything, Crowe's turn as the biblical character Noah is not to be criticized, it is to be respected. The film itself may take some liberties with the words of the bible as well, but lets consider some things for a moment. First of all, the bible states that Noah was 500-years old when he became father to his three sons; Shem, Ham and Japheth. He then was exactly 600 when the rains began. So, either we're dealing with some biblical characters on a different calendar schedule or the reporters of information in this day and time took some liberties of their own. Of course, we also must realize that everybody died but Noah and his family and I'm pretty sure no reporters or writers managed to stow away.

Bottom line, the story of Noah's and the Ark is a story that is one of the most fantastical of the bible. There has been evidence that something Arkish did occur, but when all is said and done, to assume that everything in the story is exactly as it occurred or occurred at all, is as ridiculous as assuming that our twenty-four hour news outlets of today aren't biased toward certain political parties and every thing they say is exactly correct, all the time. So forget all your biblical hangups and realize that the true essence and intent of the story, as intended by the bible, is exactly in tact. Man is capable of evil and God is capable of judgment.

Darren Aronofsky may have made more of a "Lord of the Rings" type film as opposed to a "The Last Temptation of Christ" type film, but as I said earlier; the story of Noah and the Ark is a fantastically spun story. There is great evil, there are fallen angels that are portrayed in the form of large rock monsters called 'Watchers' that reminded me of "Lord of the Rings" tree monsters, there are two of each animal that make their way to the Ark and apparently told the other animals of their kind to stay put and there is a monstrous flood that succumbs the earth.

If you're hung up on accuracies and formalities then you will miss the outstanding performances by Crowe, Jennifer Connelly and Ray Winstone who plays Tubal-Cain. More importantly though, you will miss the message that rings way too close to the world we live in today and does the bible stories intent justice. We as human beings cannot allow evil to succumb us and we must fight to make sure love and compassion always wins. "Noah" may have been a little long and windy in places, but as a whole, the movie is gifted with deep emotion and timely intent.