Review: ‘Noah’ (M) **

MYTH? Legend? Fable? Allegory? Parable? The story of the flood and Noah’s building of the ark was oral tradition before men, endeavouring to explain what was then (and remains to some extent in our time) the inexplicable, wrote the Bible’s Old Testament.

images-1To present the story to a 21st century audience inured to movies filled with fictional inventions and heroic, destructive, fanciful creativity unrelated to modern reality, Darren Aronofsky’s film goes further than Genesis and the Epic of Gilgamesh, the first of its numerous predecessors to record it in writing.

Have the length and verbosity of that last sentence bored you? Such boredom is as nothing by comparison with the film. The screenplay by Aronofsky and Ari Handel introduces elements desperate for recognition in the film’s search for novelty. When Tubal Cain (Ray Winston) and the tribes that follow him try to take possession of the unfinished ark, Noah’s allies beat them to a pulp. Who are those allies? A cohort of near-invincible rock creatures that down tools from helping Noah build the ark to smite the intruders hip, thigh and everything else.

The film is crammed with 21st century notions of what the ark and its cargo might have been. Many of them assume technologies that did not exist at the time the flood purports to have happened. Tubal Cain is known as the forefather of smithing. Even before he surprises Noah by his arrival, the film depicts metal artefacts.

Aronofsky’s dramatic fabrication of the story of Noah (Russell Crowe), his wife (Jennifer Connelly) his three sons and their women, with its heavy reliance on computerised images, belongs in the same league as all those invaders from outer space. Creationists will blame the Creator for its assumptions that simply don’t withstand rational scrutiny, which science does on more reliable grounds.

At all cinemas

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