Darren Aronofsky's NOAH
Movie review by Dennis D. McDonald
I’ve always loved biblical epics, starting with classics like BEN-HUR and THE TEN COMMANDMENTS. But I have to admit that NOAH is right up there with the best of the best.
Aronofsky’s vision is truly unique. Somehow he manages to combine a true to form old testament wrath-of-God tale with a recognizable struggle of conscience that only gets tempered by humanity — and humility — very late in the game.
The production design is massive and beautiful even in its depiction of a world blasted by Cain’s descendents into a dark, twisted, bleak landscape almost completely devoid of beauty.
Noah and his little family are chosen by “the Creator” — who speaks to Noah in dreams — to build an ark as a refuge for animals against the coming flood. Build it he does with help from fallen Angels attempting to redeem themselves. The launch of the Ark coincides with the onset of a massive deluge and an attack by the remnants of evil humanity.
While there’s a lot here that’s “true to the Bible,” the movie also makes sense as a fantasy set in a time and place far far away. We can’t help but wonder about the morality of such a world where the vices of humans are met not with forgiveness but with genocide on a planetary scale.
Out of this genocide emerges a new and greener world. You can’t watch this movie without wondering, “What does this story tell us about the relationship between God and humans?”
Religious overtones aside, Noah is visual storytelling at a unique almost surreal level. Yet the story focuses closely on Noah and his family and their own crises of conscience and faith. It’s grand entertainment but will not appeal to the timid. Best seen on a large screen Noah includes scenes of the Creation that are comparable to the majestic and beautiful depictions in Tree of Life.
Review copyright (c) 2015 by Dennis D. McDonald