Rating: PG-13, for violence, disturbing images and brief suggestive content.
Darren Aronofsky’s take on the tale of Noah’s Ark is as visually striking and thematically wacky as you’d expect from the maker of Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream. This is not exactly a Sunday school lesson, but it’s also more faith-affirming than you might expect from a big-budget, studio picture. Russell Crowe stars as the title character, who receives a message from God that a massive, purging flood is coming, so he better build an ark and load the animals in, two-by-two, blah blah blah. Along the way he also must fight a descendant of Cain (Ray Winstone) and his fellow marauders. But he gets some help from a group of enormous rock monsters, which initially seem scary but turn out to be misunderstood, fallen angels. The flood itself – and the way it strands the terrified masses – is a disturbing thing to see and hear. Aronofsky also presents the possibility of infanticide as well as the vague suggestion of potential incest. All of these factors – plus the nearly 2 ½-hour running time – make this best for teens and older.