Noah is a powerful mythological film that echoes The Lord of the Rings more than Ben-Hur. Its world is fantastical yet gritty and, in places, bloody, but it is never reverential, as co-writer and director Darren Aronofsky delivers a tale that need not have any direct biblical reference. The story of Noah is biblical, but it is also universal, as cultures from around the world feature myths of water and flood. Noah succeeds because it emphasises the universality of its premise and delivers a thoroughly human story, as families and communities face extraordinary conditions and respond in different ways. In doing so, the film raises interesting questions about faith, especially the forms it takes and its impact. In his best performance in years, Russell Crowe shines in a role that veers from brooding to jovial, psychotic to endearing, while Aronofsky delivers both epic scale and intimate detail, ensuring that the viewer is thoroughly engulfed in his cinematic deluge.