I was going to write about a different movie, but decided instead to go finally check out Noah, and I’m glad I did. Aronofsky has reaffirmed his position as one of Hollywood’s best working directors. I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel going in, but I just really loved Noah on so many levels. It examines the morality of god viewed through human eyes unlike any movie I’ve ever seen before, and that’s something I’ve always wanted to see.
Growing up, my family and I used to go to church every Sunday. One of the bible stories I always enjoyed was the story of Noah, and the destruction of the old earth. That second part is what always struck me as difficult to grasp as a child. Not everyone could be evil, could they? As Aronofsky’s version doesn’t shy away from showing us, not everyone was deserving of that fate. One scene about halfway through was particularly haunting, like it was straight out of my nightmares as a god-fearing child.
‘Noah’ is really two separate movies. The first half; his origin, and the vision shown to him by god, that the world would be destroyed, and his need to build an ark for the pure creatures (animals). The movie starts slow, but really builds well to the end of its first half. This first ‘movie’ climaxes in a fantastic fantasy action set-piece more akin to Lord of the Rings than anything else. I loved the world he created for this segment, with all its post-apocalyptic influence and more mystical elements. This is also what I imagine upset most of the religious audience who didn’t take kindly to this movie. Granted, I don’t really remember ‘the watchers’ from Sunday school; basically angels cast down into the bodies of giant rock monsters to keep an eye on humans (think the Ents from LOTR).
While this first half of ‘Noah’ really is great, the second half is where I was constantly on the edge of my seat. I won’t give away any specific plot details, but the dilemma it’s trying to show is how man acts under intense moral pressure, especially when given orders straight from our creator. I love that Noah almost shifts into the antagonist about halfway through, almost challenging the viewer by saying “Oh sorry, you like this guy? Well, do you like him now?” This is all to ask the audience; What does someone do if their god demands something that they could never do? That is a central theme of the movie, and it revolves in a very satisfying way, no matter what your religious preference is (at least in my opinion).
Overall, Noah was probably one of the best movies I’ve seen this year. I can understand some of the criticism it’s getting by religious groups, but I really think that Aronofsky kept the heart of the story of Noah intact, which is the most important thing.