Monday, March 24, 2014

The Biblical Waves of "Noah"

There is a firestorm of controversy brewing around Darren Aronofsky's "Noah" and guess what? I called it.

I knew it, I knew it, I knew it.

Okay, I got that off my chest.

Seriously though, you take a director like Aronofsky and you ask him to make a Biblical movie? That sounds like a bad idea. For those viewers who were already eclipsed and amazed by the "Bible" miniseries film making power that brought the theaters "Son of God" it may seem like 2014 is the year of the Biblical epic. But that's not the truth. "Noah" doesn't fit into that category.
Here are the reasons that I support my statement:

1. Aronofsky's other work.
I have seen every other film by this director expect "The Fountain" which is on my to-watch list. To say that he doesn't shy away from showing everything is a gross understatement. He doesn't search out controversy as Lars von Trier does; but he does know how to a film get way beneath your skin. "The Wrestler" remains one of the few films that I couldn't finish...
In "Pi" there were drills taken to the head and brains lying in sinks. In "Requiem for a Dream" drugs raped the characters, both mentally and physicallly. With "Black Swan", Aronofsky showed up the nasty side of ballet, crafting a psychosexual drama piece that was all about the madness. He never shies away...never
With "Noah" we're told that it's hardly a Biblical representation of the man—his words—and that Aronofsky doesn't "give a f*** about " his approval ratings or how the film scored in test screenings.

2. The Bible
Even if Aronofsky did stick to the Bible, he would have plenty of ammunition to make a hard-core R-rated movie. Think about it. Just the flood itself gives us massive carnage on a scale that could put "Saving Private Ryan" to shame. Just Noah and his family survive the flood, everyone else on the planet dies...that's a lot of death.
No only that, but post-flood events aren't quite family friendly either. Genesis describes one scene in which Noah gets drunk and strips gown naked, wandering around. Two of his sons clothe him, but not before he's made a fool of himself.

3. Aronofsky on Aronofsky
Aside from being generally snide and coy about the film, Aronofsky and his actors have all admitted that this take on the story of Noah isn't by the book, pun intended. There are a lot of creative liberties being used here; but the hush-hush around the picture hasn't let us know what that is. My guess is that God won't be a preeminent figure in the film and Noah may be portrayed as a zealot acting out of faith without justification—which, to the skeptic—is exactly what happened.

4. The controversy
This, surprisingly, is the most controversial movie of the year so far—sorry "NYMPH( )MANIAC" and Lars von Trier—with good reason. Von Trier made a film about sex and called it "NYMPH( )MANIAC" while as Aronofsky is walking on the dogma of a religious group...which one sounds more explosive to you?
"Noah" supposedly has been cut and re-cut after audiences didn't like it at trial screenings. Critics have been sworn to's just a big mess; but that's what everyone wants. It's like every other popular movie out there...a big steaming plate of controversy sells tickets.

5. Son of God
The impressive/flop nature of "Son of God" implies that "Noah" might be a success; but not the one that people expected. Because it's a story about the Bible, the Christian group who saw "Son of God" will watch it. Because it's "Aronofsky", his fans will see it. It will probably earn more popular appeal than "Son of God" did. Although love by some, it was scorned by the critics who branded it as a horrible piece of trash cinema...ouch.
To amuse you, here's Abhimanyu Das' wonderfully biting review: Son of God

Yet what does it matter?
If you think that Aronosky is going to make a literal Noah story from the Bible, think again. Besides that, haven't film makers always taken creative liberties with their subjects?
I'm going to see "Noah" because I'm very excited about it and I have no expectations.
What about you?
Share your thoughts with us.

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