“Noah”

 

 
Quick Stats
 

Genre: ,
 
Director:
 
Actors: , , ,
 
MPAA Rating:
 
Release Date: March 28, 2014 (USA)
 
Length: 138 min
 
Studio: Paramount Pictures
 
Producer: Darren Aronofsky (producer), Chris Brigham (executive producer), Scott Franklin (producer), Ari Handel (executive producer), Amy Herman (co-producer), Arnon Milchan (producer), Mary Parent (producer)
 
Written By: Darren Aronofsky & Ari Handel
 
Plot / Story
85%


 
Characters
85%


 
Acting
90%


 
Cinematography
90%


 
Soundtrack
90%


 
Uniqueness
90%


 
Total Score
88%


User Rating
3 total ratings

 

What We Liked


Wonderful visuals and an exceptional score in a film that is both a sweeping epic and a human interest story filled with the stuff of legend, myth, and ancient history.

What We Disliked


Too many deviations from the biblical account and too many inclusions of extra-biblical sources will distract many from the benefits of this film.


Bottom Line

The domestic drama and psychological realism which Aronofsky gives Noah to wrestle with are interesting enough, and Russell Crowe is the ideal actor to show Noah brooding upon his lot.

3
Posted April 15, 2014 by

 
Buy, Rent or Cinema
 
 

Full Review

It might have been a lot wiser to have called it “The Flood” rather than “Noah”. Calling it “Noah” was probably a big mistake for several reasons. In calling it “Noah”, Aronofsky put himself in two big boxes at the same time. The first box is an intellectual one. If you’re going to make a movie about a real human being who existed in history and name the movie after that person, everyone is going to expect you (rightly so) to tell that story with historical accuracy and respect: especially fans of that person. Movies like “Gandhi”, “Lincoln”, “Ray”, “Amadeus”, “Capote” are such films whose titles were the person’s name and, for the most part, the film’s creators made the film because they wanted to tell that person’s story. Very little artistic license was taken in these films because to stray too far from the actual story would not just be a bad artistic choice it would be a lie. It just makes intelligent and integral sense: if you’re going to make a movie about an actual person and the events of their life don’t be a revisionist: tell it like it was.

The second box Aronofsky put himself in was a religious one. And this is a really, really, really, really, big…dark…scary…unforgiving box. Those who put themselves in this box seldom get out of it unscathed. Mess with people’s minds and they’ll curse you for having done it to them. Mess with people’s religion and they’ll crucify you.

For a man as intelligent as Aronofsky (he trained as a field biologist in Kenya and Alaska, and is a Harvard graduate, ), you might be surprised by his apparent lack of wisdom regarding both “boxes”. Don’t be. He knew exactly what he was doing. He didn’t just want to get in to both boxes; he wanted to dive in head first and punch the walls around. How do I know this. He told me. Not personally or directly but in this quote of his: “Filmmaking is barely an art. 99% of my job is bureaucracy.”

In our humble opinion, he’s lying to himself.

We think he is lying to himself for a few reasons. First of all, no one who says “99% of my job as a film director is bureaucracy” and then also says “I try to choose the road that I have the most passion on because then you can never really blame yourself for making the wrong choices. You can always say you’re following your passion” is being honest with themselves. Passionate about bureaucracy? Maybe some people are but I’ve never met a child who was passionate about bureaucracy, have you? And Aronofsky’s passion for the story of Noah wasn’t born in him as an atheist, bureaucratic, intellectual:

It was born in him as a child.-

At around the age of 12 or 13, Aronofsky wrote a poem about Noah and the flood. Here’s part of that poem: “evil is hard to end and peace is hard to begin, but the rainbow and the dove will always live within every man’s heart.” And Aronofsky has said many times in interviews that the idea to tell this story has been in his heart ever since. Therein lies the struggle for him with this story: the child from the past cannot deny the eternal truths that spoke to his heart. The man of today cannot deny the scientific evidence that challenged his mind. And try as he may to deny it, that struggle between the faith of his childhood and the facts of his adult experience are splashed all over the screen. Bureaucracy my foot. That’s smoke and mirrors. That’s his way of saying, “Don’t read more into my films than is really there” because he doesn’t want you getting that close to him. But with “Noah”, Aronofsky has blown his proverbial bureaucratic cover. And, unfortunately, a lot of people are treating him the way Ham treated Noah when he blew his cover. Rather than recognize the vulnerability of the man’s unintended nakedness and treat him with respect (as Shem and Japheth did), they stare at his nakedness with cold, loveless, judgmentalism.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way. “Noah” is a really good movie. Really good. Does Aronofsky go off in to some weird places? You bet he does! So does Ovid in his version of the Great Flood story. And by the way, Christians, Jews and Muslims don’t have a corner on the market on the Great Flood story. The flood story is found in virtually every people group on every corner of the planet from the beginning of time and the truth is the account in the Bible tells us only that which we need to know in order to understand God’s plan of salvation: like every other place in the Bible. Does Aronofsky contradict Scripture? All over the place! Does he support Scripture in some places? Absolutely! But, again, let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way and talk about something he does right: Aronofsky presents us real people with real issues (which Noah, his family, and the world of his time were and had): a trait which is sadly missing from most faith-based films and something that has confounded me most of my adult life. The Bible is the grittiest, bloodiest, messiest, most human story in existence. Why it is white-washed and sanitized by those who claim to revere it the most is confounding to me. Faith-based film-makers could use a bit of Aronofsky’s gritty realism. And his incorporation of things from the midrash (as well as other flood myth elements) ought to spur us on toward higher level conversations not lower level condemnations. In fact, there is something genius about this film that I don’t think Aronofsky intended: it is revealing people’s true natures and, unfortunately, our true natures are not pretty.

We are saddened and heart-sickened by the amount of vitriolic hate-speak we are hearing and reading about this man and this movie. And the majority of it is coming from Christians I know or am aware of by reason of six degrees of separation. I point no condemning fingers. I simply make the observation that the Bible says our speech is to “always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one” (Colossians 4:6) and “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29). It is especially painful because of what I believe this film is really about…and it is not about Noah or the flood.

Film is a director’s medium. Good directors working on a project that they are deeply passionate about (as Aronofsky has been for decades about “Noah”) inevitably project huge parts of themselves (as all artists do) if not all of themselves upon the canvas they are going to present to us. Many times an entire character is emblematic of the director themselves. And while I’ve never met Mr. Aronofsky I can tell you this: I think I know which character in “Noah” is him projected on the screen for all the world to see. And it isn’t Noah.

Aronofsky is Ham.

Aronofsky is Ham. Noah is Aronofsky’s Jewish heritage. Tubal-Cain is Aronofsky’s exposure to secular humanism. One is the religious heritage (his faith) he wants more than anything to be the truth. The other is a sociological reality which is more than willing to “validate” him in ways that Aronofsky just can’t embrace deep down in his heart. He doesn’t understand why his faith won’t respond in ways he longs for it to respond but he loves God too much to turn his back on Him completely. His Jewish faith claims to be the faith that has a relationship with God. Humanism has no problem telling him it is at war with God. But Aronofsky’s Judaism won’t explain itself when Aronofsky asks it tough questions. Humanism welcomes tough questions but humanism’s answers sound so…godless.

But rather than pray for this man (and those like him) who is obviously projecting something of his own struggles with faith, people are thumbing their noses at his flagrant disrespect for biblical accuracy? Not to mention, so many people have been praying for Hollywood to make more movies from stories out of the Bible and when someone finally starts doing it they are crucified because they didn’t do it the way “we”…”know”…they..”should have”?

Will everyone like this movie? No way! Will this possibly confuse and misdirect a lot of people? Absolutely. But isn’t that why we, the audience, are here? Shouldn’t we lovingly talk about these universally profound and important topics? When people like Aronofsky show us their “faith” or lack thereof, warts and all, are we going to love them or judge them? Which of our natures will we let win here? Will we take the high ground which leads to restoration, hope, relationship, (and yes, salvation) above the floodwaters of judgment? Or will we take the lower ground which leads to lovelessness, bigotry, and separation? Isn’t that what the flood story was all about anyway? Wasn’t God sick of mankind living according to his sinful selfish nature rather than a sacrificial loving one? If we were Noah, would we have spent 120 years telling people a flood was coming and that his building an ark was an example they could have followed to achieve salvation (as the midrash says he did) or would we have locked the doors and listened to them die the deaths they deserved?

Sadly, today I am hearing too many people of faith pounding hard on the nails in the doors so no one outside gets to come in rather than taking the time to open up and talk about the eternal truths of salvation that everybody desperately needs. Or, at the very least, applauding a team of filmmakers for having made a very entertaining and enjoyable movie?

You be the judge. Or should you?

Find the most competitive price for Noah in the table below. If viewing from a mobile device please click on + to get more information.

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Did you enjoy this review? If so, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below and don’t forget to give it a rating so that we can tally the total user ratings. If you have spotted a factual error in the review, please let us know here.

Rick Segall

 


3 Comments


  1.  
    Elaine Moton
    100%

    This movie has been getting bad reviews since it’s release. Many of my friends (Christian and non Christians) simply said “don’t waste your money”. Being an admirer of the acting talent of Russell Crowe, and a special effects enthusiast, I was going to see for myself until I read your insightful review.

    I want to be informed, entertained and touched about ANY movie based upon a historical figure, especially one of the Bible AND I would like for it to be as close to the FACTS as possible.

    Most everyone I know who saw this movie came away disappointed and with a bad taste in their mouths. I trust your review and as such, I will not go to see it. I might wait until someone I know rents or purchases it and watch it with them…MAYBE!




  2.  
    Michelle
    99%

    A great review. Well articulated with profound and professional information. Thank you, Mr. Segall.




  3.  
    Tracy
    100%

    I’ve been torn on whether I want to go see this. I’ve heard both sides now, Christian and non-Christian and although I try not to let any one in particular sway my decision, I think this review is spot-on. I like the way Mr. Segall broke it all down where it makes perfect sense on why it was made the way it was.

    Thank you for this, Mr. Segall!!





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