We can only imagine the casting call for Noah. “All growly, bulldog-chewing-a-wasp actors to the floor please. Russell Crowe?” “Yeeh mate.” “Anthony Hopkins?” “Here, by the power of the valleys of Swansea.” “Ray Winstone?” “Go &%$£ yourself, you %$£&* @*&%”.
We know the story. God is cross with man and wants to destroy the world. A starting point which confused us because in Noah the world already looks like a post-apocalyptic wasteland – all volcanic dust, blackened tree stumps and deserted encampments patrolled by gangs of spear-wielding heathens. It’s hardly a hotbed of hedonism, rank with the stench of capitalist greed and Chicken Cottage.
Moot point aside, Noah strides about a lot, shouting things like “The time for mercy has passed!”, shaves off his hair to show he means business and sets about building his ark from a forest magically delivered overnight – easy when you know the right deities. Clearly, this is a big task but he’s aided by an army of Watchers (multiple limbed rock creatures, think of a cross between Iron Man and a lobster) who also help fight off the gangs of spear-wielding heathens, headed up by Tubal-cain (Ray Winstone). Luckily, the animals get the memo and start swarming aboard as the flood starts. A few more fights with the heathens and they’re off.
Is it any good? Well, it’s certainly bonkers. If you like 300, you’ll love the blood & guts, action hero Noah. Interestingly, for a religious story, ‘God’ is never mentioned. Instead we have ‘The Creator’, presumably because at Noah’s core is a wonderful, speeded up montage of the beginning of the world. For us, this was where its success lay. Away from the rather silly action (of which we’re ITCHING to see the Monty Python remake), it’s unquestionably well meaning, with a pointed, ecological agenda. At a time when studios will normally only greenlight Transformers 5,479, it deserves credit for taking a risk.
UK release 4 April