I’ve never been sure what to do with the biblical story of Noah and his ark. It mirrors of lots of middle eastern creation myths (e.g., Gilgamesh) and morality tales from around the world, and is possibly derived from oral traditions of a Black Sea flood around 5600 BC. The story of Noah and his floating island full of pairs of peaceful animals persists at least in part because childhood bible school images. None of this stopped Darren Aronofsky, one of my favorite and most eccentric film makers. With hard hitting movies like Requiem for a Dream, The Wrestler, The Black Swan and The Fountain in his past, Aronofsky is nothing if not adventurous. Aronofsky was almost ruined by the financial failure of The Fountain, but recovered with the super-low budget The Wrestler. Randy The Ram's character almost brought Mickey Roarke’s career back from nothing for a little while until people realized that he wasn’t really acting all that much. So, on the one hand, I’ll see anything Aronofsky does, on the other hand, I figured that this movie could be a theological minefield, since Noah is important in Christian, Muslim and Jewish tradition, with their variant amounts of literalism and because the writers here seem to have invented details in a story where the original is quite lean. Most of the time, movies inspired by books leave out most detail; in this one they needed to add it. Thankfully the movie was NOT in 3D. The visuals were, as always for Aronofsky, excellent, creative and impressionistic. Russell Crowe, in the title role, was excellent, being paternal, possessed, visionary and approaching complete madness at times. Noah was NOT a one-dimensional comic book character. Jennifer Connelly was also excellent as Naameh, Noah’s dedicated wife, who, as the movie progresses, becomes more worried about Noah’s state of mind than the flood. The FX of the flood are quite good and the moral degradation of the antediluvian people (except for Noah’s family) and the ruined state of the world are depicted quite convincingly. The rock-monsters that helped Noah build the ark (apparently fallen angels) seem to have been recruited from Galaxy Quest and were quite a strange touch. I don’t recall them from the Bible. Where I thought the movie got off the tracks was in the “3rd quarter”. Mostly concerned with a non-biblical narrative of Noah’s deteriorating state of mind and his murderous intent to be sure that humanity did NOT survive the flood (including his family), I thought that 20 minutes or so of the story could be lost and would leave a better movie….it got a little too close to The Shining for me. I guess that an Aronofsky movie would not be complete without some descent-into-madness, and on the whole, I will continue to see any movie he makes. No one will accuse him of just illustrating a Sunday school comic book. Right or wrong, the film has more depth to it than most biblical epics. It’s strange, but then Noah is a strange character in a strange story.