Late yesterday afternoon I was lucky enough to nab a ticket for the Times+ screening of upcoming Biblical blockbuster Noah, followed by a Q+A with the film’s director, Darren Aronofsky (Requiem For a Dream, Black Swan, The Wrestler).
The première for the film was happening the same night in Leicester Square, ironically on the same day the UN released a grim report, warning us of the threat of Global Warming and how no-one on Earth will be left unaffected. Spooky.
So, to the film itself. Aronofsky is known for being daring and approaching controversial subject matters but never on a ‘blockbuster’ budget. There may be a good reason Aronofsky doesn’t make blockbusters, the CGI wasn’t great and costume design was questionable. But I can live with all of that as we got too see a great director’s vision/interpretation of a delicate subject. And as he stated after, he wasn’t there to make Iron Man!
My personal highlight was the Evolution sequence running alongside the story of Creation, brilliantly done and explained afterwards in the Q+A. As Aronofsky explains, religion and the story of Noah itself doesn’t belong to one religion or even the three major ones, it means different things to different people and this is his interpretation of what he would call beautiful ‘poetry’. He certainly knows his stuff about Genesis and the Bible in general which came across in his answers. He also made a good point about how some people get caught up in the logistics of the story; ‘How could you fit 2 of every species on an Arc half the size of the Titanic?’, behind all of that is a rather beautiful story. But what else would you expect from a piece of fiction.
Solid performances throughout, especially from Russell Crowe and Anthony Hopkins. Hopkins in particular owning the screen for the small segments he was involved in. It appears that Ray Winstone is still able to pull off an East End gangster in a biblical epic, but hey, this is Hollywood!
So overall, the film is good, not a classic but I will certainly remember the Q+A (Patti Smith turned up) for a long time to come and it was a great opportunity to meet one of my favourite directors.