DVD Release Date: July 29, 2014
Theatrical Release Date: March 28, 2014
Rating: PG-13 (for violence, disturbing images and brief suggestive content)
Genre: Biblical Epic/Action
Run Time: 138 min.
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Cast: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, Douglas Booth, Nick Nolte, Leo McHugh Carroll

Rather than rehash the controversy surrounding Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, something that’s already been well-documented since the project was first announced more than two years ago, let me skip right to the heart of the matter. While not a verse-by-verse reenactment of what happens in Genesis, an impossible task for a filmmaker, anyway, given the sheer brevity of the text, all of the core biblical themes are still firmly intact in Noah.

No, there isn’t some secret, hippy-dippy environmentalist agenda. Nor is it Hollywood’s shameless attempt to conspire against people of faith. Rather, it’s a story that’s inspired by Noah and, as a result, the filmmakers tread boldly into the uncomfortable waters of mankind’s wickedness and the resulting punishment (i.e. death).

Drawing a clear line between the ways of God and man, Noah is rife with theological exploration but never gets preachy. Instead, the viewer is given room to reflect, ruminate and ultimately, draw his/her own conclusions, something that flies in the face of many faith-based films that focus on a specific call-to-action point.

Like he’s done with his previous films Black Swan, The Fountain, Requiem for a Dream and Pi, Aronofsky has fashioned something just as artful and hypnotic with Noah. It’s a thinking man’s action movie, and for someone like myself who grew up going to Sunday school, it’s a sobering reminder that Noah’s story is so much more than what I remember from the cheery felt board rendition—the pairs of cute animals, the big wooden boat and a rainbow. With this Noah, you’re confronted with the sheer horror of the carnage. Noah reminds us there are consequences for rebelling against God, and they aren’t pretty or easy to watch.

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Rather than committing to a specific time period like many of its cinematic predecessors, Noah feels both ancient and strikingly timely. In a world that looks a lot like the desolate locale that Denzel Washington’s character found himself in in The Book of Eli, Noah (Russell Crowe in his best performance since Cinderella Man), his wife Naameh (Jennifer Connelly, who starred with Crowe in A Beautiful Mind) and three sons Shem (Douglas Booth, Romeo and Juliet), Ham (Logan Lerman, The Perks of Being a Wallflower) and Japheth (Leo McHugh Carroll, Fred Claus) lead a simple, counter-cultural existence.