Monday, April 7, 2014

No No Noah

I went to see the movie Noah last night.  What can I say? Well, British film critic Mark Kermode described it as: "It is what it is", and that's the best thing we can say about it. No doubt you have read many or at least some of the reviews, which have not been favourable. My review can be summed up in one word: excruciating. 

As we know, it bears little relation to the Biblical texts, quite apart from the ark and the animals and the names of Biblical figures given to the characters. On the positive side there is some good cinematography, and a tableau of creation at the centre of the movie is very good.  But after that, wow.  

The portrayal of Noah is nowhere near the Scriptural exploration of his character.  Crowe's Noah is a looney eco-warrior who is so convinced that the earth and the animals can only be saved by the destruction of humanity, he is determined to kill off his unborn grandchildren and refuses to find wives for his sons for fear they would procreate. He wants to ensure that they will all die so earth will be paradise again (we have heard that proposition before and not only from mad ecologists, but also from respected media naturalists). Aronofsky's Noah is a man absolutely saturated in despair and hatred of humanity: he is a nihilist. 

What is really disturbing for me is that God gets the blame: Noah is convinced that it is God who does not want humanity to survive at all and he is only following God's command. This is not just a departure from the Biblical text which concerns God's enacting a new creation, but almost an attack on God who is portrayed as a tyrant and misanthrope. 

And as for the fallen angels who become rock monsters and then are redeemed and readmitted to heaven in the end....well, we'll say no more. 

If you see it, do not take it as a version of the Biblical story, but watch it as a stand alone movie, a fantasy movie about another dystopian world, and come to your own conclusions....if you choose to go.

That said, I think should Russell Crowe and companions ever meet the real Noah in the afterlife, I sense that it will be a very awkward encounter.

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