I want to sidestep the ‘how much of it is really Biblical’ argument for a moment and instead concentrate on the story as depicted in the film. When Noah discovers that he is going to be a grandfather he starts to lose the plot. He decides no one should survive the flood – including his unborn grandchildren. And so begins the most moving part of the film for me. Noah intends to butcher the children as soon as they are born. The horror of this really gripped me.
At this point in the movie the story reminded me a little of the account of Jonah – the way he became overly destructive in Ninevah, disappointed when God did not destroy the Ninevites, but instead showed compassion. And this led me to consider a question. The God we see portrayed in this film is mostly one of destruction, so when your God embodies destruction how long before you become destructive yourself, as Noah does here?
On the flipside when your God embodies compassion how long before you become compassionate? Jesus once had a meal with a grumpy old Pharisee. A wayward woman came in and washed Jesus’ feet. When the Pharisee took issue with this Jesus told him that the woman was compassionate and caring because she had experienced the forgiveness, rather than the judgement of God.
I think that Noah’s reaction portrayed in the film (I haven’t watched it yet, though) is typical of the human religous reaction to a command from God. Instead of that law becoming something which brings new life as it was intended, man turns it into a means of destruction. This is what happens when we only regard the letter of the law and not the spirit behind it. God wanted to destroy all life from the Earth for the reason is starting again. Is it possible then that Noah’s reaction in the film is a misunderstanding of God’s intention because all Noah could see was the bit about all life being wiped out? Our own law system in our society is unbearably legalistic, apart from legalistic religion itself. How many people are disproportionately penalised for a minor misdemeanour, such as parking your car in the wrong place, just because “the law is the law and that’s that” ? In human hands, law becomes a force for evil and does not produce the good it was intended to.
Can you watch Russell Crow without thinking of Gladiator! It must be his gravelly voice. I did like the bit with the fountains of the deep opening up. I’ve often read that and wondered what it was like and I’m glad that someone used a bit of imagination and erected some Nelson’s Column type spouts. Crude perhaps but effective I thought. I might watch Noah on DVD some day but not sure I want to sit in the cinema for this one.