Darren Aronofsky, Ari Handel, & Niko Henrichon: Noah

I really loved the art, especially the skies. This story, of course, is set in a time pre-machinery, producing structures of earth, wood and stone–the lands were strewn with ruins and refuse that were toppled, petrified, and scorched, but all together it resemble the carcasses of forgotten factory towns. A graveyard of naked framing cracked open, revealing no life like the remains of a turkey completely ravaged after the relatives have returned to their corners of the world. I felt the dust in my lungs and, later, the water around me. The landscape stole the spotlight many times.

As for the story, it’s a retelling of Noah and the flood told to us by a superb choice. We get to watch as Noah’s righteousness breeds determination and is then consumed by it. As his determination transforms into willfulness–but whose will? As the willfulness consumes him and pulls him down into madness and despair. And finally when he was fully broken and subsisting on guilt, how forgiveness helped steady him on a path to redemption.

When he was supported by his family he was ridiculed by the people of Bab-Ilim and opposed by the watchers. When he was supported by the watchers and toed the line with the people of Bab-Ilim, he was at odds with his family. When the new world had surfaced and his family was at peace, he was embroiled in internal conflict. I would not be surprised if he never found peace until he closed his eyes for the last time.

I’ve always been good at separating adaptations and retellings from their source material. It’s something I think is essential to evaluating a work on its own merit. It can be difficult when the work is presented in a way that assumes the audience has previously acquainted itself with the source, and resorts to using it as a crutch or excuse for lazy story telling, thankfully, Noah isn’t one of those.

This retelling reshapes the three chapters from the book of Genesis into a story that not only grounds the greater struggle, but also highlights the internal struggle of everyone, from the oldest to the youngest. I really enjoyed it.

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