Controversial faith-based film mesmerizes audiences

“Noah” is just one of many “faith-based films” that Hollywood is churning out this year and is perhaps the most unique.

Director Darren Aronofsky (“The Wrestler,” “Black Swan”) has a vision for this film that makes it closer to his previous filmography than the big-budget, large-studio release would seem to indicate. It creates an odd mash up of the eye-catching special effect event film that Hollywood is fond of and a more arthouse fare.

It is hard to say if it actually works, but it is so fascinating that it must been seen to be believed.

“Noah” is the story of one of the last good people on earth, chosen by the Creator to save the innocent animals from the flood that will destroy the evil of the world by building an ark. It is a well-known story in and out of religious circles.

What makes Aronofsky’s interpretation so fascinating is how he handles the source material. The story of Noah in Genesis does not go into great detail concerning the building of the ark, the gathering of animals and the time spent on the ark. Aronofsky fills in these gaps with giant rock creatures, a power-hungry king and family drama.

Rather than treating the story as history, Aronofsky instead treats it as any other text being adapted to the big screen. This allows a greater sense of freedom in explaining the in-betweens that are not touched upon in the text and creates a better sense of drama and suspense even for those familiar with the story.

There will certainly be people who call for the heads of everyone involved with the film, but it actually remains fairly accurate to what is in the text, only extrapolating things that are not found, save for the number of people on the ark.

Although marketed as a disaster film, it is the drama and internal conflict that Noah must deal with within himself and amongst his family that drives the film.

Noah (Russell Crowe) is not depicted as a perfect man, but one who wishes to follow the Creator’s instructions by any means necessary as he struggles with the guilt of being one of the few survivors in a massive tragedy.

He must overcome his own self-loathing and see that, although he is not sinless, there is more good than wickedness in him and his family.

Crowe has been hit-or-miss over the past few years, but he gives a fantastic performance, no doubt aided by a very strong supporting cast in Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson, Ray Winstone and Anthony Hopkins.

Although the effects were quite good and the performances mesmerizing, some people will simply not be able to get over the fact that this is a big-budget adaptation of a biblical text. Moreover, this is a big-budget adaptation of a biblical text that depicts evolution, giant rock people that fell from Heaven and a drunk, naked Noah.

It is actually quite astounding that the film was made, let alone that Paramount let Darren Aronofsky have his way with the final cut of the film.

It is not a perfect film by any means, sometimes delving a bit too deeply into the cliches of the disaster genre, but it is incredibly fascinating and worth viewing for the experience alone. Love it or hate it, “Noah” is memorable to say the least.