STORY: Based on the Old Testament tale from the Bible, Noah is chosen by God to build an Ark as a shelter for a male and female pair of every living creature on Earth in preparation for an apocalyptic yet cleansing flood. REVIEW: Noah (Crowe) knows that the flip side of him being chosen to save all that is pure and innocent (read: the entire animal kingdom and only his family) is that he will have to make some really tough decisions, like turning away tons of people who also seek safety in the Ark.

His father Methuselah (Hopkins, brilliant) prepares Noah for the task over a conversation, after which Noah then returns to Naameh (Connelly) and his sons Shem (Booth), Ham (Lerman) and Japeth (Carroll) with the divine message. A group of Watchers led by Samyazaa (Nolte) help Noah build the gigantic Ark. But the latter’s nemesis Tubal-Cain (Winstone) believes that there’s no point in blind acceptance of one’s fate. But Noah, for all his devotion to duty, is all too aware of his own inner frailties.

Nonetheless, as a domineering patriarchal figure, he would even sacrifice his own family if need be, for the greater cause. The Satan-like Cain’s ideological clash with Noah centers around the former’s belief that there is nothing wrong for humans to do what they need to in order to survive and multiply. After dealing with all of this, Noah is exhausted by the time the Ark finally reaches Ararat.

Although Aronofsky has dipped liberally into the well of fantasy in his recreation of Noah’s tale, he does it in a manner that serves up a quasi-modern story laced generously with allegory and backed by some solid, nononsense performances. He does not go overboard on religious subject matter and instead, chooses to give the movie a more human, moralistic direction.

There’s even an interesting montage describing the origin of the universe. Watson puts in her most mature performance to date as Ila (Shem’s wife). All in all, a lush visual spectacle told on a fittingly grand scale.

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