Even before the release of this movie, faith-based groups and the filmmakers were up in arms disputing and defending the Biblical accuracy of “Noah” and the message it sends to moviegoers. Film directors, particularly those making movies on subjects in which audiences already have prior knowledge of an event or book, face the difficult task of either producing a movie that will have few surprises and twists, or detouring the story off the expected plot path using creative liberties. In “Noah”, director Darron Aronofsky (Oscar-nominated in 2010 for ‘Black Swan’) appears to have tried to generate both interest and controversy about this epic tale; regrettably, Aronofsky’s latest work only succeeded at the latter.
The problem with this movie is not its Biblical soundness, but rather, the stale, labored pace of its storytelling with no support or bonding to the character “Noah”, played effortlessly by Russell Crowe. In the beginning of the movie, Noah is a loving, caring spouse and father, chosen by The Creator to decide the fate of humankind. With the spread of corruption and depleted natural resources at the hands of man, Earth becomes targeted by the Creator for annihilation. The only explanation of the good vs. evil storyline is the arrival of Tubal Cain and his warriors - the root of all evil on the planet we’re told. This simplistic mantra becomes even more disjointed as the face of good, Noah, morphs into despicable, crazed, almost cult leader figure, who espouses anti-Christian beliefs while weighing unthinkable deeds.
As I lost faith in Noah’s character and his morality, there was an even stronger focus on the bad habits employed by humans; so much that the earlier anti-Christian vibe now grew to include a hatred for all of man. The fundamental notion that all humans possess both good and evil disintegrates into the notion that humans are just plain evil, period. Another missed opportunity in the movie is the minimal attention given to Noah’s ark, the vessel that played the most vital role in surviving the coming flood and carried the planet’s future. After the quick settlement of birds, reptiles and animals by the pairs, the boat is largely ignored in the movie, minimized to prop status.
“Noah” will be a blockbuster movie due to its prerelease hype and controversy. Christian organizations will continue to point out discrepancies in the movie between the Bible’s version of “Noah” and Aronofsky’s. Regardless of the religious interpretations, the motive behind the film, or any creative liberties the director may have taken with the Biblical story, I found “Noah” a dismal film with very few redeeming qualities. The film’s lack of suspense, combined with its sluggish pace, focused the movie’s attention solely on Noah, himself; and in a Good vs. Evil plot, the ark leader shifted his alliance between these two paradigms like his boat yawing against the flood waves. It’s this paradox on humankind that shows an alarming, delusional Noah. Unfortunately, a controversial Noah character does not translate into an interesting “Noah” movie.
(Patrick King is a resident of Oro Valley and a freelance writer. You may contact him at email@example.com)