Last night, I was at the UK Premiere of Noah.
I admit I’ve taken a huge interest in this film and in the many vigorous online discussions around it. I’ve read loads of blogs and (to be honest) felt a smidge of irritation each time I read a comment which said the movie ‘mocked’ God. Seeing as the film hasn’t been released in the UK yet, how did they actually know? Chinese Whispers seems to me, to be a pretty poor thing to build a film review on.
So here’s my thoughts; The movie is a 12A, so it’s not likely to corrupt or defile you…at least no more than a regular diet of Eastenders or CSI. And if you have anything resembling a real relationship with Jesus, it won’t rock your faith. And if it does, I’d question the foundation of your faith…rather than blame the movie.
The four of us who attended last night, came out with differing views. It was a good movie but because we have a faith and a headstart knowledge of the Bible, we were able to question it, critique it and be honest about the good and bad bits. At no point did it make any of us question the Biblical version (or worse) shatter our faith in a miracle-working God. None of us felt our convictions shaken…and that’s the truth. If you have a sincere knowledge/conviction in a living God, it’ll take way more than a movie (if anything) to unsettle that.
And so for the film itself! Here’s what I can say: the Noah story that we were all told as children, is present and accounted for in the film. Noah himself is a righteous man, torn apart by the violence and darkness around him. The world is literally eating itself alive with evil and lust. At no point did I see him as a mad man…he’s simply a man on a quest, to obey his Creator and restore the world to the original purpose it was created for. The Genesis story is in there, plus hints of the story of Abraham. There’s one particular scene which stuck with me: Noah and his family on board the ark, while all around them, there are screams and wails of dying people…the family wants to help, but Noah knows they can’t. This HAS to happen. There is no other way.
If you’re looking for a theologically robust film, this isn’t it, but did the filmmakers ever say it was?! Not to my knowledge…they said it was an ‘adaptation’. And it is. There’s spirit beings trapped in the body of rock monsters, glowing rocks, an elderly grandfather with a healing touch, an adopted daughter for Noah and a bit of an on-its-head understanding of the primary purpose of humankind.
But so what? This is not meant to be another 10 Commandments. This is meant to be a fantasy film, ala Middle Earth meets the Bible. Fantasy is what Tolkien and CS Lewis used to point to a bigger moral/Messianic picture. Did we boycott those movies because they had wizards and elves and hobbits? Was God able to use those films to speak loudly to people about the need for redemption?! Yep! So, why should this be any different?
Personally, I think it’s great that filmmakers (even ones with no faith) are turning to the Bible for inspiration. And that is truly where the inspiration came from.
Last night at the Premiere, Darren Aronofsky and the cast got on stage. Darren started off by saying this movie had been in his head for 30 years. When he was 13 and in grade school, he wrote a poem based on the story of Noah’s Ark. That original poem was read out last night – it was a wish that humanity would stop tearing itself apart, stop focusing on the evil, but look instead to the dove, to the rainbow, symbols that there IS a better way. That poem never left him and decades later, he directed a film about it, starring a pretty impressive Hollywood cast.
Meanwhile, instead of at least going to see it and making an informed decision, quite a lot of the community I am a part of, have torn it to pieces.
Nope, it’s not theologically robust, but neither (in my opinion) is it likely to lead people to a godless grave. It’s a fantasy film, nothing more.
My advice, hand over £6.50 and go and see it when it’s released on April 4. But perhaps instead of going with a hard heart, determined to find ways in which it dramatically differs from what you know, go with an open heart and see if you can pick up some kernels of truth.
We’re fond of saying ‘God can use anything’. If we really believe that, why don’t we give Him a chance to do it…