For all the high-tech showmanship on display, this retelling of Noah and the Ark marks a serious effort to engage with the Old Testament as a literary text. Director Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream
) makes little attempt to ameliorate its depiction of humanity as inherently barbaric or to render God as compassionate; the Creator here is punishing, inscrutable, and despotic. The film's austere worldview is conveyed through dark cinematography and some of the most forbidding landscapes I've seen in a biblical movie outside of Jean-Marie Straub and Daniele Huillet's Moses and Aaron
(much of this was shot on the crags of Iceland). The battle sequences and CG creatures are rather silly, recalling Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings
movies, but the film’s fundamental grimness packs a punch. With Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connolly, Emma Watson, Ray Winstone, and Anthony Hopkins.