The Christian world has been abuzz in deep discussion and analysis over this controversial adaption of the epic biblical story of Noah and the Great Flood. When you are so overwhelmed with this onslaught of opinion it is hard for the average Joe to know what to think!
There have been mass allegations against this film. Some are calling it the ‘Babylonian Chainsaw Massacre’ while others are claiming that Noah has Gnostic undertones and draws inspiration from Kabbalah. There are also those who are saying it is deeply and passionately biblical and shows Noah as a real man with a real relationship with his God. Many of the opinions surrounding the film have been tied to religion and concern over the preservation of the original biblical story.
Noah (Russell Crowe) and his family live as nomads in isolation and in constant fear of the evil meat eating hunters who have systematically destroyed the land. Noah has a prophetic dream where the creator shares his plans to wipe the earth clean with a flood and tasks Noah to build an ark to house the innocent animals to ensure that they survive the purge. En route to his grandfather (Anthony Hopkins) with his wife (Jennifer Connelly) and his 3 sons, we are exposed to the desolation of the earth and the cruelty of the hunters. The family discovers a young girl (Emma Watson) who is left orphaned and injured who they quickly adopted into their family. Noah receives some unlikely help in his quest to build the ark and also attracts some unwanted attention from the locals and their ‘King’, Tubal-Cain (Ray Winstone).
Noah’s director, Darren Aronofsky, obviously never set out to recreate the biblical story word for word, what he did set out to do, he achieved by pulling off an amazingly epic film based on any information he could find surrounding the story of Noah and the Great Flood. The amount of research that went into the making of this film was intense, Aronofsky and his co-writer, Ari Handel, spent many years studying the Genesis text, investigating the meaning of each word, consulting with biblical scholars and studying complimentary ancient texts including the Dead Sea Scrolls, The Book of Jubilees, and The Book of Enoch. Biblical consultants were hired and filmmakers went as far as to construct two full-sized arks according to the measurements and directions in Genesis (73.16 meters long, 22.86 meters tall and 13.72 meters wide!). All this to get the true backdrop for this riveting storyline to play out within it.
This film’s major themes were mercy, justice and provision. Spiritual crises were prevalent in this movie as Noah battled self-doubt, unworthiness of salvation, being devastated by the cruelty, greed and selfishness of humanity and wanting desperately to be righteous but getting it terribly wrong. Each actor gave an outstanding performance that really showed the bare humanity of man and raw and real emotions experienced by this sacred family. The production design, cinematography and graphics were really inspiring, although watching Noah in 3D was a bit disappointing as the birdlife and animals appeared rather fake and fuzzy.
This film did drive home the absolute heartbreak Noah’s family must have had, knowing that, and hearing, people dying outside the ark. Knowing the panic and desperation of people trying to save themselves. Noah and his family really did suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. No wonder things went awry.