After the Earth is created, the first two people, Adam and Eve betray The Creator and are cast out of Eden. Some of their descendents build vast cities across the world which are rife with wickedness. Generations later, a man called Noah has a vision from The Creator that a huge flood is coming and that he must build an ark to house his family and two of every kind of animal so that they can survive and reproduce. Noah’s dedication to The Creator is almost unquestioning but his family do not always agree with Noah’s decisions. When a devastating decision is made, Noah’s family do all they can to stop him from carrying out what he believes to be The Creator’s wish. 

Noah (2014) – Director: Darren Aronofsky

Is Noah appropriate for kids

Rating: 12

Running Length: 138 mins

Starring: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone

Genre: Drama

REVIEW

‘Noah’ is the latest big screen adaptation of the story of Noah and the Ark from the Old Testament book, Genesis. Told from Noah’s point of view, this story fills in some of the gaps left out of the bible, including his life before the flood and further detail of his family. There are also some additions, including the fallen angels who have been cast out by The Creator for betraying him and they are now forced to wander the Earth, covered in mud, without any hope of return.

To say that there is some artistic licence on display in this movie would be quite an understatement! The pivotal plot decision that Noah makes – leading to all sorts of consequences designed to drive the narrative forward –  is based solely on The Creator’s silence when questioned. The effect of this turns Noah from a family man who is devoted to The Creator into a cold-hearted religious zealot, with no real character development to make us believe this. Also, the fallen angels do not seem to fit in with the tone of the movie, their ungainly and almost comical movements are very reminiscent of the Ents in ‘The Lord Of The Rings’ and feel more suited to a younger audience, which is peculiar when the tone of the movie as a whole is much more adult.  Another issue with the movie’s struggle to engage an audience is that there is not enough shown of the supposed ‘wickedness of mankind’ that warrants their destruction,  and why Noah alone is so different to them as to be chosen to survive. There is one scene showing that the people of a nearby settlement are doing terrible things to each other but this is during a time of desperation and fear and does not properly represent what they would be like during times of normality.

Sadly, Russell Crowe’s performance is not strong enough to portray a man who cares for all living things but must shut out the world to allow its annihilation.  Having said all of this, ‘Noah’ is, overall, an entertaining movie and in particular, the scene where Noah tells his family of the creation is excellent and beautifully done. The main criticisms to be levelled at this movie are the unnecessary inaccuracies and, more damningly, that it is rather dull in places. Noah it is not a ‘bad’ film per se, it is simply disappointing when it could have been so much better.

IS ‘NOAH’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?

The opening of the movie brings the audience up to speed with what happens from Adam and Eve to when Noah was a young boy. During this scene, the murder of Abel by his brother, Cain, is told, accompanied by the silhouetted figure of Cain striking Abel’s head with a rock. Abel’s head jolts backwards and some blood splatter is shown. This moment is then shown several times throughout the film.

Noah comes across a dog-like animal which has been wounded by some men. He pulls a small sharp spike out of its side and it dies. When confronted and attacked by the men who killed it, Noah uses the spike to kill them. This is done with quick camera cuts so although it is made clear that the men are dead, it is not overly graphic. Noah looks down at one of the bodies and blood pools around the man’s head.

When Noah has visions of the flood, he is underwater and looks around at hundreds of bodies around him. The camera pans out and focuses on the dead face of someone who has drowned. There is then a loud scream of suffering. This is very graphic and could be distressing for younger viewers. Later, when the flood happens, the screams and wails of many people can be heard around the ark. As it is made clear that everyone outside the ark will die, this may also be very upsetting for children, especially as Noah refuses to help them despite the pleas of his family.

The fallen angels who look like huge, mud-covered monsters with bright glowing eyes are initially very hostile to humans. On their first encounter, one attacks Noah and his family. It moves very quickly and aggressively and appears to want to kill them. This part of the movie only lasts a few seconds but is very intense and unexpected so could be quite scary for kids. Later in the movie, the angels become allies of Noah so it is likely that after the initial scare, kids will be reassured that this scene is a one-off and is not going to happen again.

One of Noah’s sons, Ham, is attacked in the woods nearby the ark; this man is then killed by a blade in his neck. This is done very quickly and is not gory but as the killer talks to Ham, the camera focuses on the weapon which is a large heavy hammer with a point on one end which is covered in blood.

One scene shows the carcasses of animals being butchered for food. While the animals are already dead, this scene is very gory with lots of blood and body parts being hacked to pieces and hung up. Children who a sensitive to the issue of animals being killed for food may struggle with this scene.

There are some sexual scenes in the movie involving two of the characters. They are seen running through some woods and when the male character catches up with the female, they fall to the floor and kiss. The man is lying on top of her and he slowly kisses down the woman’s body until he reaches her stomach, at which point she tells him to stop. Later, the female character rushes up to the man and kisses him passionately and starts to quickly remove his clothes. They drop to the floor below the camera and the scene ends there, however they are later seen lying in bed together and when the woman sits up, she is naked but a blanket covers her.

Perhaps the strongest scene is where Noah goes to a nearby settlement and witnesses the terrible things that happen there. Two young women are dragged away from their family, screaming and begging for help. The man taking them away gives them to a mob outside the gates of the settlement in exchange for food. When looking at the mob, Noah then sees an animal thrown into the air which is then ripped apart by the people near it.

CAN I SEE A CLIP?

VERDICT

The epic scale and spectacle of ‘Noah’ is impressive and it’s a very entertaining movie if taken at face value but those who are looking a for a true retelling of the story are likely to be disappointed. We feel that this movie should be appropriate for most kids aged 10 and over but we recommend caution for children who are sensitive to violence and animal death/suffering.

  • Violence:  3/5
  • Emotional Distress: 2/5 (a female character struggles with being unable to have children, saying that she is not a ‘real woman’, this may confuse some children but it is unlikely to be distressing for them. One character discovers that her child may be murdered and becomes very distressed. Her loved ones are also devastated and are unable to dissuade the person who is intent on killing the child)
  • Fear Factor: 3/5 (in addition to what has already been mentioned above, for those who are afraid of snakes, a close up of a snake’s face is shown on several occasions throughout the movie)
  • Sexual Content: 2/5       
  • Bad Language: 0/5
  • Dialogue: 3/5 (as might be expected, there are several mentions of people being drowned and dying)
  • One scene shows Noah drinking excessively. He lives alone and appears to be drunk constantly. He is then seen lying on the floor naked but this is shot from a great distance so nothing explicit is seen.
  • Other notes: Deals with themes of family, religion, death, punishment, wickedness, sin, death and man’s interpretation of God’s plan which may not always be correct.

Words by Laura Record

Noah [Blu-ray] [Region Free]


New From: £3.03 GBP In Stock

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