September 27, 2023

Before we dive deep into the murky waters of biblical adaptations, I want to remind everyone that movies are for our entertainment, and while they may be judged on their literal context, they, by no means, communicate what every single breathing individual wants to hear. With that being said, a close look at Darren Aronofsky’s (“Requiem for a Dream,” “Black Swan”) “Noah” reveals an intelligently crafted, respectful interpretation, if indeed that’s all it is.
Because this is my first look into the story of Noah since I was a more impressionable lad, I’ll give you the Sunday school summary. Noah, descendent of Methuselah and Lamech, is tasked with the responsibility of building an ark, by the Creator, in order to house the innocent while it purges all of humanity. That’s about where the similarities with the Bible stop, which works in favor with the overall accessibility of the film. Instead of a movie wrought with ┬áreligious symbolism that’s about as subtle as being punched by Jesus (“Man of Steel”), we simply get to view a visionary narrative projected on the backdrop of the Bible, giving the audience more of an option on how to view the epic unfolding.
While Noah (Russel Crowe) builds the ark with the help of his family and the Watchers, fallen angels turned into stone golems confined to Earth after being banished from the Garden of Eden, Tubul-Cain (Ray Winstone), the king who killed Noah’s father, leads a savage mankind pushed to the brink of desperation. Pairs of animals flock, crawl, walk, and slither their way to the ark’s erection, and the flood designed to wash away humanity’s wickedness does so as a sweeping entity of its own. As with most Aronofsky films, the cinematography is incredible, seamlessly weaving symbolism in a web of sweeping landscapes and pinpoint imagery.
Aronofsky’s Noah ultimately concerns itself with a story about a man torn between his dedication to his family and how that conflicts with the greater scheme of things. While there is enough to suggest a literal adaptation through the use of biblical names and plot lines (the creation, the fall of Adam and Eve), setting aside the religious context allows us to see themes of conservationism, sacrifice, and betrayal, all of which lead to the redemption and recreation of humanity shone upon by a brilliant rainbow. It doesn’t limit itself to what a specific group of people believe but, instead, makes us all question whether or not what we believe in is right.
While its Hollywood appeal and large budget may not normally characterize Aronofsky’s films, it retains his daring and dark drive to depict more than anyone else willing, making it well worth the watch. Overall, the script is much weaker than his past films, but considering the task he handed himself in visualizing such a known and respected story, there isn’t much lacking in making it a great film.

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