Friday, April 25, 2014

Noah: Monday, March 31 2014

Directed by Darren Aronofsky, Noah is an American epic, biblically-inspired film, based on the story of Noah's Ark. It did well at the box office, and received high ratings from the film critics.

Russell Crowe as Noah, acts well the part of the obsessive person possessed by an idea he has to act out. Jennifer Connelly certainly looks stressed out as his wife, and Emma Watson makes the most of her difficult part in the story. It takes its toll of them all, and none of them look their best. Antony Hopkins plays Methuselah, and is barely recognizable.

It certainly had all the drama of an epic movie, and all the expected special effects. These included fallen angels who are now stone creatures, the Watchers, who battled for Noah, as he strove to keep anyone, apart from his family, and the animals and other creatures, from "coming into the Ark two-by-two". A little like science fiction here, but does that really matter when the story is such a vital myth?

The whole tone is dark, and the cinematography reflects that well. After all, the ancient message is that if mankind doesn't behave better, a fearsome G-d will destroy them all. This was probably one of the first, more developed tellings of such a dire warning. No more monkeying around: a good story to try to control the behaviour of the human primate. Noah explicitly applied it to the results of industrial development, with the warning that production has to be achieved along with concern for the environment. I would think the average person is fully aware of this, but if not, Noah certainly made the point and rubbed it in. Why is it such exhortations are always accompanied by such feelings that those giving the warning feel so morally superior to the rest of us ignorant, inferior beings?

When the Ark has grounded, Noah, we are told, grows vineyards. One day he gets totally, absolutely drunk, lying exposed in his nakedness. His two elder sons, Seth and Japheth, cover him, averting their eyes, and carry him into his tent to sleep it off. Ham, the younger son, laughs, showing no respect for his father. In the Biblical account, in Genesis 6, Noah wakens remembering his treatment by his sons. He blesses Seth and Japheth, and their children, but he curses Ham, saying that he, and his children, will always be servants for the older brothers and their children. This last little bit is missed out by the makers of the film. Possibly they thought the main warning was enough. In this age of Equality, did they not want to acknowledge that perhaps we are not all quite equal?

If you are looking not too critically for an epic movie, this is it. It ends with a vision of the rainbow that G-d uses to promise not to wipe human primates ever again. So the film ends on a brighter note than the rest of the story. Not a "feel good" film!

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