I have yet to see Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, and honestly I will probably wait for it to come to my living room — not that I wouldn’t love to see it larger, but we parents only get so many nights out. But I have seen all Aronofsky’s other movies and enjoyed them, maddening though they sometimes are. I think he is a fine and adventurous filmmaker, and I am also glad to see a Biblical movie with drama, instead of the plodding pace and dull visuals of a dramatic re-enactment from a true-crime show. I’m looking forward to it.
Alas, Noah is clearly pundit-bait, a chance for people to flog their dead horses again. The simple fact of the source material made Bill Maher’s mind up for him — a close-mindedness that disappoints me, since I can’t see him complaining about a film of the Odyssey replete with similar creatures and witches. Meanwhile, right-wing commentators like Glenn Beck don’t much care for a vegetarian Noah in the mold of Abel – but those who say Aronofsky’s vision is less faithful than Cecil B. DeMille’s might reread their Bibles.
Since everyone has their own soapbox, let me spend a brief moment on mine: just to ask Aronofsky’s, or anyone’s, audience to engage works of art on their own terms, to seek not an exact retelling or to have a bias confirmed, but for the chance to be surprised.
Of course, one might be disappointed, even angry. But it’s easier not to be, if one goes in with an open mind, instead of a checklist.