Perhaps the reason that I was so eager to see by Russell Crowe’s new movie, Noah, was the unanimity among a few very conservative Muslims, evangelical Christians and Roman Catholics that this was a study in misanthropy and a perversion of Genesis with an extreme left wing environmentalist agenda.
And then there was a piece in the Wall Street Journal quoting Director and self-proclaimed atheist Darren Aronofsky “bragging” that this was the “least biblical” of any Bible story ever. Now that I have seen the film, I understand the media chatter about misanthropy and ‘extreme’ environmental agendas.
I disagree with all of them.
I was prepared to like the movie- despite the critics- (or perhaps because of them) and I expected to see huge and spectacular cinematography. And I was not disappointed.
A long-time fan of Russell Crowe and of Anthony Hopkins I expected also to see splendid portrayals of Noah and of Methuselah. Again, I was not disappointed.
But I did not expect to be plunged deeply into Noah’s psyche in the starkly visceral and profound way in which I was. That was surprising and more than intriguing to me. The man Noah played by Crowe is familiar to me: provocative yet all too familiar ground for me in my journey from atheism to Roman Catholicism- he vividly portrays the dark night of the soul- his anguish is raw, startling and his courage is ugly.
We know very little about this Bible story; we are given the sketchiest of details. Therefore the room for an imaginative interpretation of the ‘last just man’ on earth is there. And this man is someone we know…we can go where he goes, kicking and screaming but we can get there.
Taking the claims of anti-Biblical and anti-God, extreme-environmentalist agenda, misanthropic and supporting an atheistic viewpoint (there are more but these are the four I find most intriguing) one by one: