Writer/ director Darren Aronofsky bring us his own personal vision of the biblical story of Noah and the ark. It is a polarizing film that will certainly stir controversy but in the end, Mr. Aronofsky is not interpreting religion but rather making art.
The film is all over the place. At times totally weird and ridiculous and yet, also dramatic and believable. I had a hard time getting past one of the weirder, yet vital elements of the story but I leave it to you the viewer, to decide for yourself. Mr. Aronofsky attempts to ground the story in more human than religious terms (God is referred to only as "the creator") but that one odd decision (and you will know it when you see it) makes it too hard to take seriously.
Star Russell Crowe, as Noah, does take everything very seriously but his character goes so far over the top in his virtue and righteousness, that after rooting for him, you eventually want to throw him off the side of the ark. This is probably why he discovers wine and becomes the planet's first drunk. His wife is played by Jennifer Connelly and she has very little to do here but worry about her husband's sanity. Ray Winstone co-stars as a fictitious character representing the evils of man. Anthony Hopkins also co-stars as Yoda, err, I mean Methuselah, the oldest man on the planet and Noah's grandfather. He only has a few scenes but sets major plot points in motion with sage advice and a touch of magic.
The cinematography and special effects are well done. All the creatures entering the ark and the flood itself are impressive but I left the film with more questions than answers. For starters, why are all the animals rendered unconscious but the humans are unaffected by Ms. Connolly's aromatic sleeping potion? And why does Mr. Aronofsky depict a sequence of evolution only to change gears and then have "the creator" create man? You can't have it both ways. The script also tells us we are all born of original sin, hence the creator's decision for a "do over" but in the end, love conquers all and the sin of incest is never an issue. After all, who's left to repopulate the earth except Noah's immediate family?
As for better entertainment value, rent "A Beautiful Mind" for a wonderful Crowe/Connelly pairing and listen to Bill Cosby's classic bit, "Noah".