Film / Noah

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/f3d06eedbefb3ab649881bc819a725cf0b8f40bc_5590.jpg

Naameh: Noah? What did He say?
Noah: He's going to destroy the world.

Noah is a Bible Punk film directed by Darren Aronofsky and starring Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ray Winstone, and Anthony Hopkins. Adapting the Book of Genesis, the Kaballah, and other sources, it is a retelling of the story of Noah who after seeing visions of a horrifying deluge, is inspired to build an ark to preserve life on Earth. Along the way, he faces resistance from fallen angels known as the Watchers (who later help Noah's cause for a shot of Redemption in the eyes of The Creator), human armies led by the villainous king Tubal-Cain, as well as tension within his own family and self-doubt about the worthiness of mankind to survive.

A passion project for Aronofsky, he had been working on various versions of the screenplay for years, even teaming up with Niko Henrichon to adapt his vision into a French-language graphic novel, "Noé: Pour la cruauté des hommes" ("Noah: For the Cruelty of Men") published in 2011. An English-language translation was released alongside the movie.

The film was released in America on March 28, 2014. Trailers can be seen here, here, and here.


Tropes Associated With This Film Include:

  • Action Bomb: Killing a Watcher, or one willingly tearing open their own chest, results in a golden explosion.
  • Adapted Out: Genesis clearly states that all three of Noah's sons already had wives before the Flood, none of which appear in the movie.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • Noah takes out Cainites left and right, throwing an axe to drop one at about twenty feet.
    • Methuselah, in his youth, is presented as a One-Man Army who took down a massive horde of Cainites with his Flaming Sword. Although, in The Book of Enoch, Methuselah does have a magic sword, but he still can't wipe out armies with it.
  • Adaptational Heroism: The Nephilim/Watchers. They help Noah build the ark and protect it from the Cainite armies. This is in spite of the fact that in the Biblical narrative the Nephilim and the evils they perpetrated were one of the major reasons that God wanted to "reset" life on Earth in the first place.
  • Aesop Collateral Damage: The Flood kills the corrupt and innocent alike, with Na'el falling firmly in the latter group.
  • After the End: The setting of the film, according to the costume designer. The character's clothing was designed to look like it had been woven together of scavenged materials that survived the apocalypse, such as plastic or old tarps.
  • Alien Sky: The sky of Noah's world is filled with visible stars and galaxies, even during daytime. It helps with the "otherworldly" ambiance as well as the "closer to Heaven" motif.
  • Alone with the Psycho: Two ways. There's the actively homicidal Tubal-Cain, who most of the cast doesn't even know is on the ark. There's also Noah, who is more subdued, but comes to the belief that Humans Are Bastards and even they need to die, with his family actively avoiding him.
  • Ambiguous Time Period: The story doesn't attempt to create a realistic portrayal of any specific time period. The Cainites have a surprisingly high level of technology, including ironworking. The characters use glowing combustible rocks, which presumably don't exist anymore. Noah also discovers a scaled foxlike creature that doesn't look like any real creature discovered from any time period.
  • An Axe to Grind: Noah uses an ax while taking invaders who attempt to hijack to Ark.
  • Anti-Hero: Noah. He'll do anything he thinks God wants, to the point of temporarily becoming a Villain Protagonist and trying to kill the baby twins. Thankfully, he refrains once he sees them.
  • Artistic License Religion:
    • Noah's Flood is described in three religions; Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. None of these religions' narrations of Noah's Ark include an army trying to storm the ark, nor an environmental message, nor does Noah try to kill some babies in any of Abrahamic Religious traditions, he knew from the beginning that his descendants were to replenish the earth. In all three religions, God does not give Noah vague dreams as warning. God tells Noah about the Flood dfirectly. Also, the Watchers don't really have anything to do with anything in the story of Noah, and no stowaway is ever mentioned. Basically, the movie embellishes a lot to add conflict and because the original story is so short. Some reviewers have described the movie as a modern midrash, an elaboration and interpretation of the bare bones of the Biblical story.
    • For that matter, the Biblical Nephilim are usually considered to be the offspring of fallen angels, though to be fair the Bible is somewhat ambiguous about this itself, so the movie's interpretation isn't completely wrong.
  • The Ark: The film details the building of Noah's famous ark, which he builds with the assistance of the Watchers/Fallen Angels and woods from a forest that miraculously grew within a moment for by the grave of the Creator.
  • Ascended Demon: The Nephilim/Watchers. Once Semyaza asks God to forgive him as his rocky shell is being destroyed, he gets re-ascended to heaven. For that matter, all the remaining Watchers are likewise redeemed, taking out large chunks of attacking humans in the resulting explosions.
  • Armor Is Useless: The Watchers: despite being 12-foot tall angels made out of stone, they could be killed quite easily with spears and swords.
  • Broken Aesop: Cain killed Abel because Abel was rewarded when he offered God meat. Then why do Cainites follow the creed of Real Men Eat Meat?
  • Broken Angel: The poor Watchers, both physically and spiritually. Forced into stone bodies and then betrayed by the Cainites.
  • Cain and Abel: The story of the Trope Namer is recited on the ark by Noah, which the film visualizes the story's with a silhouetted man striking another silhouetted man to the floor with a rock. Then, Noah begins mentioning how since that time, sin has pitted "brother against brother, nation against nation" as the Cain figure throws his rock at Abel, only for the silhouetted Cain to be replaced by a barbarian, then a viking, a samurai, a centurion, a pharaoh, a Hun, a knight, a Redcoat, a rifleman, a police officer, and a modern soldier all within three seconds as the camera cuts to Cain's weapon flying through the air, changing every second from a knife to a machine gun to a broadsword to an axe to bolas, which impacts Abel and knocks him over as he flashes between every single uniform Cain wore. The story, and the generalizing visuals, serve Noah's point that man does not deserve to live because of his role in ruining creation. The image of Cain and Abel is then used one more time in the film: As Tubal-Cain rants about remaking the world in his image, he raises his weapon over Noah while they're in the exact same positioning as the silhouettes from Noah's story. Thankfully, Noah's son, who was tempted by Tubal-Cain's philosophy, defends his father and defeats the final descendant of the original murderer, giving hope that man can finally live a life of mercy.
  • Cain and Abel and Seth: Referenced. The inclusion of Seth in the Cain and Abel story is explicitly stated in the prologue, with Noah being one of Seth's descendants.
  • Cassandra Truth: Noah, of course, when he warns Tubal-Cain of the upcoming flood.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The animal trap. We briefly see one of Tubal-Cain's follower's setting it, and then later Na'el gets her foot caught in it.
  • Cool Old Guy: Methuselah is over nine hundred years old, which gives him a wisdom and spirituality lost on nearly everyone in the corrupted world. His connection to the Creator nearly borders on magical when he gives Noah a seed that causes an entire forest to grow within moments.
  • Corrupt the Cutie: Tubal-Cain towards Ham, although it helps that Jerkass Has a Point.
  • Crapsack World: Earth prior to the Flood due to the sinful nature of humans. What little we see of the Cainite society includes or is implied to include copious amounts of slavery, cannibalism, rape, and murder.
  • Darker and Edgier: Than most biblical epics, and portrayals of the Noah story in particular.
    Russell Crowe: The funny thing with people being, they consider Noah to be a benevolent figure, you know? Because he looked after the animals: "Oh, Noah! Noah and the animals!" It's like, are you kidding me? This is a dude who stood by and let the entire population of the planet perish! He's not benevolent; he's not even nice! At one point in the story, his son says "I thought you were chosen because you were good" and he goes "I was chosen because I could get the job done, mate."
  • Dark Is Evil: Tubal-Cain and his followers wear a whole lot of black hoodies, armor and robes.
  • The Descendants of Cain: The film has the antagonists explicitly be the descendants of Cain. Not all of them are evil, they "merely" suffer from a near total cultural lack of the wisdom and compassion needed to use their knowledge and technology to live in harmony with nature— and each other. This has gone on since the beginning of their history, leading to ravaging the planet to the point of apocalyptic resource depletion and descent into cannibalism. Of the Cainites, only Ila and the girl Ham finds, Na'el, were shown to be innocent, and the former was basically raised by descendants of Seth.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Zig-Zagged with Noah. He reaches it when he witnesses the horrors in the Cainite camp. It's what convinces him that the Creator intends for humanity to be wiped out altogether, and that his and his family's only purpose is to preserve the animals, then die. He is then pulled out of it when he sees his daughter's twins, but it triggers a new one in that he feels he failed The Creator. After reconciling with Ila, he more or less pulls himself out of it, and welcomes a new world.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Noah, as in the source material, gets unhealthily drunk after the flood subsides. Crosses over into Binge Montage as he spends a long time in a cave binging on home-made wine. Points for creativity, because he literally gathers the grapes and ferments them on his own due to the lack of any wineries, breweries, and bars.
  • Dueling Messiahs: An interesting example in which both Noah and Tubal-Cain both count as both dark ones. Noah wants to save the world, but by dooming all mankind to drown, while Tubal-Cain wants to save his ruthless and bloodthirsty people so that their empire will continue to survive.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Probably the closest one we'll see in an Aronofsky movie. After enduring the violence of man, the Flood wiping out humanity, Noah almost killing his newborn grandchildren, and their son Ham leaving them, Noah and his family prosper on their new land with the animals, with The Creator bringing life to the planet once more.
  • Epic Movie: By a large scale the biggest movie Aronofsky's ever done, and featuring some of the most intricate special effects work in ILM's history.
  • Ermine Cape Effect: Tubal-Cain has some long whitish furs decorating his cloak. It doesn't look as imposing as he'd like.
  • Evil Gloating: Tubal-Cain announces as he is about to kill Noah that he will take Noah's women (i.e., his wife and daughter-in-law/adoptive daughter) for his own, not a terribly wise move when Noah's son is standing behind him).
  • Evil Is Hammy: Tubal-Cain doesn't just chew the scenery; He cannibalizes it.
    Tubal-Cain: WE TAKE THE ARRRRRRRRRRK!
  • Express Delivery: Ila announces that she's pregnant, and just a couple of scenes later, she is visibly pregnant, and then gives birth. It's probably the movie failing to make clear the passage of time, a problem the movie has a lot as you can easily miss the fact that it took Noah over half a century to build the ark if you're not familiar with the source story, instead of any action on God's part.
  • Face Death with Dignity: When the Great Flood finally comes, Methuselah, who was not chosen to go into the Ark with his descendants, welcomes his fate with open arms. Plus, he got his berry.
  • Faceless Mooks: Cainite elite soldiers wear helmets that cover their faces and are clearly modeled on welder's masks.
  • Fallen Angels: The Watchers, multi-armed angels who lost their wings when they chose to descend to Earth, became encased in bodies of stone, and after sharing with humans the secrets of science and magic became enslaved by them. They understandably don't like humans for this, but decide to help Noah in the hope that it would allow them to find redemption in the eyes of God. It works, with Samayza being the first recipient to be redeemed.
  • Fantasy Metals: Zohar, a strange, not-really-explained, evidently non-renewable mineral that the descendants of Cain mined up pretty much entirely.
  • Females Are More Innocent: Despite being set a world where humanity as a whole has so monstrous as to be destroyed, all the atrocities seen in the film are committed by men, while women are present only as victims of massacre or rape. Additionally, when Noah cites his family's own sins as proof that they too have evil in them, the worst he can come up for the women is that they would do anything to protect their children.
  • Foreshadowing: Methuselah mentions how his father Enoch told him the world would end by fire, and he is surprised when Noah speaks of death by water. Considering the rest of the story, he was right (the Bible references a few times a future fire-type apocalypse), and his words were one hint that this wasn't going to be the end.
  • Genre Throwback: To biblical epics of the 50's and 60's.
  • Genre-Busting: In addition to the above trope, the film contains elements that would be found in Fantasy epics, Psychological Horror stories and environmentalist fables as well.
  • A God Am I: Tubal-Cain is the ruler of the descendants of Cain, and in his anger at the Creator's indifference to him, has decided that the entire Earth is made for Man to dominate. The forests, the animals, and even the lives of others exist only for man to exploit as he see fits; he even directly conflates himself with the Creator in his ultimate moment of hubris:
    Tubal-Cain: I give life, I take life away. As you do! And I am just like you, am I not?
  • Good Hair, Evil Hair: Manages to show the evolving characterization just with Noah's beard. He starts out with a "fatherly" full beard, but it gets shaggier as the time on the ark gets longer and Noah's family becomes more afraid of him. Then, after the floodwaters are gone, Noah's beard is trimmed back, showing the crazy is gone and replaced with his old "fatherly" qualities.
  • Graceful Loser: Tubal-Cain congratulates Ham for 'becoming a man' after the former stabs him, and even gives him the snakeskin relic he stole from Noah's father as he dies.
  • Gray and Gray Morality: Noah is willing to let everyone who isn't in his family die. Tubal-Cain wants to give his remaining people a fighting chance at survival. Noah is willing to kill his granddaughters to ensure the human race would end, while Tubal-Cain actively condoned cannibalism and rape to strengthen his forces.
  • The Great Flood: Obviously, the film
  • Green Aesop: In this version of the story, Man's reckless behavior towards the Earth is as much a provocation of the Flood as his murderous nature towards Man. The Cainites are characterized by their industry, which is described in terms like a cancer spreading across the world. They are ironworkers, in spite of the ancient, ambiguous timeframe, and even wear helmets that resemble welder's masks. Noah, on the other hand, does not eat meat and instructs his children not to even pick flowers without need. The good demons are literally made of stone, part of the earth, to push this point further.
  • Hero Killer: Tubal-Cain proves to be a pretty efficient one. In addition to killing Noah's father at the beginning, he's also the first one to take down one of the Watchers on screen and nearly defeats Noah in the climax.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade: The Watchers are depicted in the Apocrypha as angels who were entrusted with humanity's well-being, but sinned through their lust towards human women and sired children with them (the Nephilim, the principal cause and need for the Great Flood). God even sent his greatest angels to hunt them down and punish them. The movie's vision either removes these aspects of their character entirely or just doesn't show them, leaving only their well-meaning duty to teach mankind about science and the workings of the world. That said, morality in the Apocrypha isn't exactly as black and white as in Christianity, and many of the Watchers are also more benevolent entities in other texts.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: Tubal-Cain is only briefly mentioned in the Book of Genesis, listed as one of Cain's descendants, and plays no part in the Noah story. Here, he's leader of the Cainites and Noah's antagonist.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Most of The Watchers (save for Og), believe that God has seen the corruption, exploitation, and murder humanity has committed and called the Flood to eliminate his corrupted creations. Noah is initially reluctant to think like this, but after walking through the village of the Caininites, seeing men exchange their own daughters for animals to slaughter, and facing someone who's face calls to mind the Serpent, Noah fully accepts the extinction of humanity and only lets his family board the ark with the knowledge that they'll eventually die with no way to have children and continue the human race. The Watchers come to appreciate humanity after getting to know Noah, but that does nothing to shake his shame for his species. Noah is so adamant that humanity is hopeless that he attempts to kill his own grandchildren, only to realize that the Creator was putting the fate of humanity in the hands of Noah, and that only by choosing mercy could Noah prove that humanity was worth saving.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The extreme of the last Cainites' hunger leads to them killing and eating their own neighbors.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: Inverted and defied by Ham. He kills Tubal-Cain who approves, thinking he passed on his legacy to Ham. After the deluge, Ham is resentful of his father, but expresses hope that humanity will learn to be kind and leaves in peace.
  • Instant Birth, Just Add Water: Ila goes from her water breaking to holding a pair of twins in minutes.
  • Jesus Taboo: A minor source of controversy with the film is that the word "God" is never used, although characters do often make reference to "The Creator".
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Tubal-Cain points out to Ham that Noah is threatening to kill children, and allowed his potential wife—his last chance to find a wife—to be trampled to death. Granted, he just wanted to be a new, evil Adam post-Flood, but at the time, Noah was dead set on it.
    Tubal-Cain: He abandoned your woman to die, and now he plans to kill your brother's firstborn. Are you going to tolerate that?
  • Kick the Dog: Tubal-Cain's pretty okay with killing animals and making them go extinct. At one point, he casually grabs an eel-like creature, the only one that could have survived the flood, and bites its head off to regain his strength. He justifies his actions because he thinks The Creator made man the most superior being and all others are nothing compared to the ultimate creation.
  • Kill It with Water: The Great Flood.
  • Logical Fallacies: Tubal-Cain is prone to using them in quick succession.
  • Last Stand: the Watchers fighting of the angry mob of Cainanites.
  • Love Redeems: The sight of Ila's newborn children causes Noah to stop himself from killing them and sing the old lullaby he would sing to her when she was first adopted.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Invoked by Ham, who starts to oppose Noah for leaving Na'el caught in a leg trap to be trampled by Tubal-Cain's army.
  • Nay-Theist: Tubal-Cain doesn't question the existence of the Creator at any point of the movie. But he does resent Him deeply, first for casting humanity out of Eden and then for sending the Great Flood to destroy them.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: The Watchers felt pity for humanity after being expelled from the Garden, so they chose to fall to Earth and teach humanity. For their sacrifice, humanity pillaged the world, killed its brothers, and then finally started hunting them. Noah's ancestor Methuselah saved the remaining ones.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Tubal-Cain taunts Noah about how he will take the women for himself. With Ham standing right there. Understandably, despite Ham's bitterness at his father, he isn't ok with the implication that his mother and sisters are going to be raped, so he kills Tubal-Cain.
  • "Noah's Story" Arc: The entire plot.
  • No Animals Were Harmed: Almost all of the animals in this movie are CGI creations.
  • Not Blood Siblings: Shem and Ila.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Emma Watson. And not only does she stand out against much of the rest of the cast, but her character supposedly grew up with Noah's family since she was six and the child actress didn't have anywhere near as much of an accent. In fairness, she isn't the only offender on that charge - apparently Noah and his father are from New Zealand and Wales respectively.
  • Not So Different: Lampshaded in one of Tubal-Cain's multiple Rage Against the Heavens monologues. Tubal-Cain sows misery and death, even against the innocent, but so does the Creator. The idea is further illustrated with the death of Na'el, a reminder that not everyone killed in the Flood deserved it.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: God is referred to as The Creator throughout. This may be a reference to Jewish belief that pronouncing the name of God is forbidden. note 
  • Offing the Offspring: What Noah plans to do with his grandchildren if they are girls. Luckily, this is averted when he sees them.
  • Omnicidal Maniac:
    • Believe it or not, Noah has shades of this. First when he decides not to find wives for his children, lets Na'el get trampled, doesn't even attempt to help the drowning Cainites, and lastly decides to kill any girls Ila may give birth to in order to allow humanity to die out to protect creation.
    • Tubal-Cain is the biggest example of one in this movie. He's completely fine with cannibalism, rape and murder and is also responsible for the extinction of many species, both on and off the Ark.
  • One-Man Army: Methuselah was this as shown in a scene where he single-handedly incinerates an entire army with a Flaming Sword.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Tubal-Cain towards Noah as shown when he knocks aside Shem who was trying to save his daughters from Noah.
  • Only One Name: Noah and his family.
  • Our Angels Are Different: Angels are shown as giant beings of golden light, and when they turn to evil, the fall towards the Earth and become trapped in rocks that make them resemble Golems. From then on, these fallen angels are known as the Watchers.
  • Papa Wolf: Noah, and later Shem.
  • Pillar of Light: Whenever a Watcher dies.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Drawing from the Biblical story of Noah, the Creation narrative, the Cain and Abel story, the binding of Isaac, some non-canonical Biblical sources (such as the Book of Enoch for the Watchers/Nephilim), and Aronofsky's graphic novel. The origins of the Watchers even draws some parallels to the story of Prometheus.
  • Pun: One of the six-armed Watchers assures Noah that his family is in good hands.
  • Protagonist Title: The main character is the biblical Noah, who's righteousness makes him the one man the Creator will trust with the future of humanity in the face of a massive flood.
  • Real Men Eat Meat: The belief of Tubal-Cain and the Cainites, who are willing to eat live animals thrown into a crowd. This unmerciful attitude towards livestock is contrasted with the vegetarianism of Noah and his family, who tend and care to other creations.
  • A Real Man Is a Killer: Tubal-Cain believes this as shown when he is actually pleased that Ham kills him telling him that he's a man with his last words.
  • Redemption Earns Life: Well, more like "Earns Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence" for the Watchers.
  • Rock Monster: The Watchers of the film, upon their Fall, became imprisoned in the soil and mud of the Earth as punishment for their disobedience. In the graphic novel, they merely (and knowingly) lost their wings, and look more like six-armed giants.
  • Rousing Speech: Subverted, as a few speeches that would have been made by the hero in any other movie are here given to the megalomaniacal Tubal-Cain to an army of thoroughly awful people.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Tubal-Cain fights at the front and kills Samyaza, and even forges weapons for his army.
  • Running Gag: Methuselah really wants some berries ever since his grandson brought it up. He's still waiting for them ten years later when he meets Naameh and Ila. He finally finds one just as a tidal wave of water rushes at him.
  • Sanity Slippage: Noah, just before they board the ark. It really sets in afterward, leading at least one reviewer to compare the arc to the Overlook Hotel, with two madmen aboard — one nobody knows is there, and the other, Noah, who everyone knows about and are actively trying to avoid.
  • Screaming Warrior: Tubal-Cain and some of The Watchers certainly have this trope down before the Flood hits.
  • Shout-Out: The film features a scene in which a burr is planted in the earth and a scene in which a small white flower grows instantly in the ground from a drop of fluid. Both of these images are also used in Aronofsky's The Fountain.
  • Sleeper Ship: Non-space variant: Noah and his family use drugged smoke to place the animals into a hibernation-like sleep so they can survive the Ark's voyage without having to be fed, watered, or caged.
  • Soiled City on a Hill: Based on the earliest version of this trope.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Aronofsky's The Fountain. This article even points out several of the similarities between the two.
  • Uniqueness Value: Every animal in the arc is the last of its kind and gender. So when Tubal-Cain or Cainites catch and kill the ones heading to the Ark, they're ending an entire species. In the graphic novel, the climactic fight even shows sabretooth tigers and other antediluvian mammals being slaughtered while defending Noah.
  • We Can Rule Together: Offered to Ham by Tubal-Cain.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The movie never even attempts to explain how the species saved are supposed to get through the genetic bottleneck of having only two left apiece, not to mention that Ham and Japheth would have to marry their nieces if they wanted wives. And if they do, of course, what exactly happens the next generation...
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The setting is not supposed to be any specific area in the modern world. The planet shown in the intro has continents that do not match them as they currently look, though they closely resemble Pangea.
  • World-Healing Wave:
    • A minor one when Methuselah gives Noah a seed from the Garden of Eden. He plants it and it sprouts a forest, possibly the only one of its kind left on Earth.
    • A major one after the Flood, as the land that rises when the Flood recedes and the animals on the ark reproduce.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The Watchers were on the receiving end of this, when Cain's followers no longer saw room for them in their conquests. Luckily, Methuselah saved a good amount of them before they became completely extinct.
  • You Killed My Father: Tubal-Cain killed Noah's father and stole the relic signifying the latter's birthright. However, there is no personal resolution to this arc, as the former never knew Noah had witnessed this, and the latter merely added it to the pile of humanity's wickedness.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/Noah