Noah Movie Navigates Murky Waters

Written by Edwin L. Carpenter on . Posted in Local

noahThe just-released Noah movie sails through some murky waters, just as the ark does. Parts of the newly released film are Biblical. For example, Noah is directed by God to build an ark and to bring two of every animal into it because God is going to destroy the Earth. Noah has a vision of the world submerged in water. But as Noah puts it, it is a “beginning” and not an ending because God intends to start over with Noah and his family but first the remaining people of Earth must perish in the impending flood. Noah and his family are to reproduce and so are the animals. Yet the movie also goes off in some unusual directions, including certain events with the Nephilim (the offspring of the sons of God (angels) cohabitating with women, the daughters of men, according to what certain scholars teach from the Bible). The giant rock-like creatures that dwelt in the land of Canaan help Noah build the ark! And at least one of them gets a second chance with God and rises up to heaven. The creatures are called “Watchers” in the film.

Another example of the spotty accuracy of the movie includes the fact that God is definitely portrayed as the Creator and that because of sin, He intends to judge the Earth. You don’t typically see this in most Hollywood films. But then, as a contrast, you have the scene in which Noah’s sons, Shem and Ham, try to take him out and kill him. And Tubal-cain, an evil warrior, winds up on the ark and attempts to take Noah out himself. Now the Bible doesn’t tell us everything that happened on the ark, but it certainly didn’t mention that particular event occurring.

The self-proclaimed atheist filmmaker, director and co-writer Darren Aronofsky, promised this epic film would be “the least Biblical film ever made” and seems to have mostly delivered on that promise, and yet he has given us flashes of the true account sprinkled throughout the movie. 

Played by Russell Crowe, Noah in this film is a determined righteous man, feverishly so. He sees the Earth as needing to be cleansed even if this means taking out any daughters that his own daughter-in-law would have (played by Emma Watson). Although he previously mentioned the post-flood period as being a fresh start, he later seems determined that no other human beings will be born into the world. This causes the conflict with his sons, not to mention that he leaves behind a young woman to die in the water, a girl that his son Ham was attempting to save.

The movie is violent too. There are several scenes which feature bloody results including Noah stabbing a marauder’s leg, the throat of an animal being slit on the ark with the resulting spurting blood, battle scenes resulting in a man being impaled and many people dying. Corpses are seen strewn on the ground, one with eyes wide open. The rock-like creatures wreak havoc as well.

Again, there are moments of Biblical light, such as when Noah gives an account of God’s six days of creation, and we see many of the events which he describes. The snake is also shown as a symbol of Satan, and the one that tempted Adam and Eve. This sin led to deeper and a larger scale of sin on the Earth, which led to God’s decision to flood the Earth. “The storm can’t be stopped” Noah tells his grandfather, Methuselah, “but it can be survived.” Ultimately, in this version of the story of Noah, he must decide whether to end life with the death of his newly born granddaughters, or rather be an instrument in propagating a fresh start.

This film focuses more on Noah and his struggles, in some ways, than it does on the Biblical flood. But, thankfully, we get that too. Jennifer Connelly plays Noah’s wife Naameh in the movie and, unlike the accuracy of this film when compared to the account from the book of Genesis, she is a rock, loyal and true to him. This film is murky when it comes to being Biblically accurate, with some of it being faithful to the Genesis account and much of it departing from it. Yet, one thing is clear: it portrays the creator God as having declared judgment on the Earth, yet tempering that judgment with mercy.

Author Information
Edwin L. Carpenter
About:
Edwin L. Carpenter is a pastor and long-time film reviewer for Dove.org He has a bachelors degree in Writing from Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Mich. He was raised in Brighton, Mich., by Christian grandparents and has a twin brother, Bill, who is also an ordained minister. Ed and his wife Jackie have one child, Daniel, who is newly married to Kristen and loves sports.

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