Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Thinking Outside of the Ark: A Review of Aronofsky's Noah

The recent release of Aronofsky's film Noah has sparked no small amount of controversy, particularly among conservative viewers (see here, here, here and here).  Such critics have excoriated the film as an anti-theist, anti-Christian, anti-creationist, and anti-Biblical piece of liberal propaganda.  Many conservative critics went so far as to counsel the public not to go see this bad movie because it is simply an insult to intelligence.  From such a standpoint, those who perceived in Aronofsky's film an opportunity to open up a dialogue about eternally significant matters were reprimanded and summarily dismissed as kowtowing to political correctness: "Anybody who says Christians need to see the movie to promote dialogue is being a tool. Anybody who says the movie is visionary is jumping on an Emperor has No Clothes bandwagon. Any pastor who creates a sermon to coincide with this awful piece is being played for a sucker. And the Christians who are promoting the film for money should be ASHAMED of themselves. Really, how dare you?"

But what would Noah himself have thought of this film? The antediluvian prophets might have wished for such a cinematic weapon in their arsenal in order to better persuade souls unto repentance.  Noah and his family might have enjoyed such a film on a big screen in the ark... something to help them (and the animals) endure the one hundred and fifty days of unrelenting rain. Shem, Ham and Japheth probably would have gotten a kick out of Aronofsky's interpretation of their respective love stories.  And what about Noah's wife?  Well, isn't it about time that she had her day in the sun as the heroine of such an epic struggle?

But what about the Rock People?  And Tubal-Cain? What about Noah's hallucinations?  His violent rampage?  His drunken insanity?  What about all the Biblical inaccuracies?

First of all, do conservative film critics really believe that the public is stupid enough to turn to Hollywood for Bible lessons?  What is more insulting to the intelligence, a wildly creative interpretation of the Biblical story of Noah, or conservative pundits' rants about what constitutes good cinema?

Let's be clear.  Aronofsky's Noah is more conflicted than a Javert personality inside of A Beautiful Mind meeting Hermione in the Labyrinth.  But that doesn't mean that the film had no redeeming qualities.  In fact, there were at least three aspects of the film that, in my humble opinion, made it worth watching: 1. The themes of justice, mercy, forgiveness and kindness, 2. The healing of the womb, and 3. The echo of God's command to "multiply and replenish the earth."

Aronofsky's Noah is as politically incorrect a film as may be seen on the big screen today (in part because of its pro-life, anti-abortion message).  If you enter the movie theater expecting to be taught a Sunday school lesson on the ancient prophet Noah, I guarantee that you will be disappointed.  On the other hand, if while watching the film you consider the present relevance of the Noachite narrative in relation to Aronofsky's interpretation, you might just be pleasantly surprised.  


1 comment:

  1. http://jamestabor.com/2014/03/29/bashers-of-the-noah-film-should-re-read-their-bibles/


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