There’s a thoughtful, enlightening review from Steven D. Greydanus in The National Catholic Register focusing mostly on the theological issues in the film. It’s obvious Noah gave the reviewer plenty to think about – at one point he says he would like to write a complete commentary on the film. It’s long, and it requires more than cursory reading, but is well worth taking the time. Here’s an excerpt; read the rest at the link:
For many pious moviegoers, I suspect some of the film’s more provocative flourishes will be a bridge too far, while the biblical subject matter may be off-putting to less pious viewers. Have Aronofsky (raised with a Jewish education) and co-writer Ari Handel made a film that’s too religious for secular viewers and too secular for religious ones? Who is the audience?
Well, I am, to begin with. For a lifelong Bible geek and lover of movie-making and storytelling like me, Noah is a rare gift: a blend of epic spectacle, startling character drama and creative reworking of Scripture and other ancient Jewish and rabbinic writings. It’s a movie with much to look at, much to think about and much to feel; a movie to argue about and argue with.
It’s certainly not the picture-book story that most of us grow up with, all cheerful ark-building, adorable animals and a gravely pious, white-bearded protagonist. Noah, played by a flinty, authoritative Russell Crowe, is the hero, but that doesn’t make him saintly. Or, if he is saintly, it’s worth recalling that some of the saints could be off-putting, harsh, even ruthless. We want our heroes to be paragons of virtue and enlightenment. Yet when you get down to it, the difference between Moses or David and corrupt Hophni and Phineas is one of degree, not kind. We are all made of the same fallen stuff…..
….Aronofsky has been pondering the Noah story for decades, and working on this film for more than 15 years. Somehow he has brought the first major big-studio Bible film in decades to the screen. The work of an uncompromising filmmaker who makes the movies he wants to make, it’s an outlier for the genre to be sure. It’s not often that a movie with giant rock monsters has me pondering ancient and modern cosmologies, rabbinic literature and Tolkien — and also makes me cry.