PG-13, 138 minutes
Darren Aronofsky (“Black Swan”) is not the sort of filmmaker who punts. He makes dizzyingly complex movies that charter a course through the interior minds of his characters, who often descend into madness or despair.
For his latest effort Aronofsky reaches back to the story of Noah, the Biblical savior who builds an ark to save his family and two of every creature on Earth from God’s destructive flood. Religious literalists may be offended by the reimagining of scripture by Aronosfsky, who also co-wrote the script with Ari Handel.
In this version of the tale, Noah (Russell Crowe) is a temperamental eco-warrior, a vegetarian who carefully harvests the bounty of the land, as opposed to the meat-eating descendants of Cain, who mine for precious metals, wage constant wars, and worse.
He receives dream-visions from the Creator (the word “God” is never used) indicating He plans to destroy the world, and Noah is charged with saving all his creatures. In Noah’s interpretation, he, his wife Naameh (Jennifer Connelly), their three sons and adopted daughter (Emma Watson) are merely caretakers for the animals, and are expected to die out afterward.
It’s a bold vision, unintentionally goofy at times, but still engaging and illuminating.