Understanding Aronofsky’s “Noah” Movie

noah-movieHave you seen director and co-writer Darren Aronofsky‘s Noah movie?  I haven’t yet.  I’ve read a lot of Christian reviews and discussions about the Noah film.  They generally go back and forth: Noah is not biblically faithful enough, or Noah is an acceptable movie—like a Jewish Midrash meant to fill in the few biblical details (albeit by an atheist so one can’t expect the Midrash to be helpful all the time).

But this review by Brian Mattson is the most helpful thing I’ve read BY FAR on the movie.  He’s convinced me it’s Gnosticism in the Kabbalah tradition.  Maybe even a joke on ignorant Christian leaders.  Wow.  Still, some Christians have objected to Mattson with a big “So What?!?”  Mattson’s response to them is not shaming the average Christian moviegoer, but the Christian leaders who endorsed the film and the Hollywood studios who leaned on them to do so.

I encourage you to link to my little blog post on your social media to get this guy’s insights into the Noah movie out there.  I think he nailed it where no one else has.  See the video below of him discussing the issues and controversy surrounding the Noah movie.

Update 4/26/2014: I saw the movie last night with a group of friends.  We went out afterward and discussed what we thought.  After seeing it, and reading a few more reviews, I think Brian Mattson got is right.  He is the only person I’ve read who connected the dots to Kabbalah and who understands how films tells stories.  I’m amazed how many people seem to take a movie in like it happened in real time and the director just yelled, “Roll ’em!”  Mattson understands Aronofsky carefully crafted the exact order of the action and dialogue in the script and final edit so that what comes after interprets what comes prior.  In a coherent plotline (and Noah is coherent if one is paying attention to the details) everything is there for a reason.  Everything should make sense.  If one knows the Zohar’s Kabbalah story of Noah, it does.

For what it’s worth, the movie is not boring.  It is visually appealing and tells an interesting story.  But make no mistake.  It is clearly a reinterpretation of the biblical account of Noah.  The viewer (and my readers) will have to decide if the retelling is good, neutral, or evil.  My concern as a Christian is that the Noah movie makes evil look enticing (the serpent skin enlightening to the virtues of love), and makes people more ignorant of the Bible’s gospel message at the literal center of the Noah story. “But God remembered Noah!” (Genesis 8:1)  Why did God not abandon Noah?  Because God would not leave the godly covenant line of Seth without a redeemer (Genesis 3:15).  Noah the movie is a message of complete divine judgment on humans in which the “gospel” is Noah showing mercy, a risky choice that the Creator leaves in Noah’s hands.  The Bible’s account of Noah is a message of nearly complete divine judgment on humans in which the gospel is God showing mercy to his people whom he has saved through the ark (1 Peter 3:18-20; 2 Peter 2:4-5).  And that makes all the difference.

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