Director: Darren Aronofsky
Writers: Darren Aronofsky, Ari Handel
Stars: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Hopkins, Emma Watson
Darren Aronofsky is an artist. He is an artist because he defies his own production company, he tries to stay true to his vision and he really has the need to deliver what he feels he must. He always did that and always will. For me, he hasn't completely succeeded this time. Maybe because he chose a story that was too ambitious. But I understand why he did it. The need to retell Noah's story in a different, totally unexpected way, gave him the freedom to express his own beliefs about religion, nature, humans, wildlife, choices, dreams, family, community and so much more.
Noah can be read in many ways. It can be read through the clean Christian way and then you can be mad (if you accept it as part of your religion) or it can be read as a new story - based on Noah - giving another meaning in "saving the world from the Creator's fury". But either way I never really understood why Christians opposed so harsh to this movie and the director himself. This story, as all the stories in the Bible, are fairy-tales that carry deep meanings important for Christianity. And this particular one is one of the cruelest. A man is talking with God and decides to build an ark to save only his family and the wildlife of the planet, leaving everyone else outside. Every human being left to drown. Aronofsky showed this cruelty and does not offend in any way any religion. Let's clear that.
He decided to take this biblical story and turned it into a very glorious project that created a lot of fuzz and made, to most of the crowd, no impression after all. His attempts are worthy of respect, but his script has indeed many flaws. He decided to narrate this story by changing its base elements, keeping the important ones in though, like some names and the plan of saving humanity by building an ark.
The astonishing first part gives its turn to a totally different second part, where the roles are changing and the narration is weaker. You get a little bit confused, because your mind drifts away back to the "original" story. But wait a minute; Aronofsky already knew that right? And he expected all the negativity - especially from an audience like the American one - but his ambition somehow loses its grip in the movie. There is too much to digest and to accept if you are a Christian and on the other side, there is a whole new story for you to discover. The weakness lies in the fact that he couldn't really separate those two. He tried to escape from the biblical story, but somehow he failed to do that. Either way the result is magnetic.
The astonishing special effects, the lyrical depiction of Noah's visions, the landscape, the atmosphere, Clint Mansel's gorgeous score, all are harmonically put together. What I love to rediscover is the decline of the characters - it happened so abrupt in the second part - and how Noah from a trusted wise leader turns into a madman, obsessed with his own - imaginary? - Creator inspired visions. Noah and his intentions are in the center. He sees and he decides. What he sees, he interprets it his own way and the rest of the people just watch and obey. But until when?
People around him act differently than the people we know today. They talk differently, they react differently. They share a rare connection with Earth, one that we have lost long ago. They respect and live harmonically with it and they will protect it no matter what. But along goodness and pure purposes, there is always evil hidden, madness, jealousy, revenge. And in the ark the roles ARE changing. The peaceful environment turns into a prison nobody can escape from.
Aronofksy's creation is ambitious yes, but it also has a deep meaning. Its aggressive environmentalism is for many people hostile and extreme. But I do believe in the kind of art he represents (he is one of my favorites after all) and respect the way he sees the world. He tried to state something truthful through this story. He tried to create it his own way even if he had to stand against his own production company and a very wide - narrow-minded - audience.