Blogs Culture House Daily

Russell Crowe and Darren Aronofsky’s ‘Noah’ is thoroughly weird

2 April 2014

2 April 2014

The Archbishop of Canterbury has had himself photographed with Russell Crowe, after attending the screening of Noah in which Russell C has the title role. ‘A great visit…impressive,’ he tweeted of Crowe. Which was one way round saying that the film itself was tripe, though his spokesman said that he found it ‘interesting and thought-provoking’, which is presumably an Anglican way of saying ‘rubbish’.

The Archbish may have been completely thrown, in fact, by Darren Aronofsky’s entirely personal take on the flood story in Genesis.  In the Bible, God destroys the earth and the animals with a deluge that undoes his own work of creation, and then remakes it all over again courtesy of Noah, his offspring and the inmates of the Ark (the fish are all fine, obviously).

Subscribe from £1 per week

In this version, Russell Crowe-as-Noah goes one better than God and decides that humanity doesn’t deserve to survive, so he’s not entirely thrilled when Emma Watson – Mrs Shem – gives every sign of thwarting him. In fact, his evil plan for annihilating the human race is only reversed courtesy of the intervention of Jennifer Connelly who, as Mrs Noah, I would cheerfully have drowned myself. In other words, the patriarch gets it all wrong; the wife gets it more-or-less right. I think, then, we’d be right in saying that this is a feminist as well as environmentalist take on the Old Testament. What men do, women undo and you know, things are all the better for it. I knew, somehow, we’d end up with a female-friendly take on Genesis; what I didn’t bargain for was just how weird it would turn out to be.

PS: I don’t want to spoil it for you, but half the fun of the Ark story is imagining just what a business it must have been feeding and watering the animals; in Noah, they fall asleep for the entire duration, which seems cheating.

PPS: It’s difficult to know how to put this without a spoiler alert, but I think we all understood that in the post-Diluvian world, the offspring of Noah would end up marrying their cousins. In this version they’ll end up marrying their nieces. Which is somehow far more yucky.

More Spectator for less. Subscribe and receive 12 issues delivered for just £12, with full web and app access. Join us.

Show comments
  • smike e

    As can be seen, even in those days people had to buy their clothes from Matalan.

    • Mike Donnellan

      See any gays going in “two by two”?

      • smike e

        Sorry to disappoint you, but I’m normal.
        You might have better luck on a gay contact website or whatever they’re called.
        Though to be honest, I agree with Putin on this, in that it should be a crime for it to be taught or promoted.

        • Mike Donnellan

          You apparently (wilfully?) misunderstand me. I happen to agree with you.

          • smike e

            Sorry, my mistake. ))

            • Mike Donnellan

              Thank you for your kind correction. Best regards,

  • No Good Boyo

    What is it with Christians (or at least the mainstream denominations), that they feel they must be unfailingly polite to everybody? It seems people can attack them, undermine them, disparage them, and then all they have to do is invite a bishop to a party for a thoroughly courteous endorsement?

    I can’t help thinking the C of E might enjoy rather more credibility if the archbishop of Canterbury could be relied upon to say, occasionally, “It’s utter crap! And they call it a biblical epic? It’s got nothing to do with the Bible! Biblical and epic in terms of the money squandered on a load of rubbish, perhaps.”

    Instead, we produce immensely expensive, manifest tripe, and all he can say is “Well, it’s certainly interesting …”

    • Mike Donnellan

      “What is it with Christians (or at least the mainstream denominations), that they feel they must be unfailingly polite to everybody?”

      I think you have a valid point and as a practising Catholic it’s in this area where my views diverge from the mainstream. This “turn the other cheek” thing I suspect, was intended as a rule for the “brothers”, in other words early Christian believers who would already have had an understanding of what was right or wrong in accordance with the teachings of Jesus; and was certainly not promulgated in my view, for example, as a way of appeasing extremist nutters who would kill you and rape your wife and daughter before offing them too. But “turn the other cheek” has been adopted by our political elites because it serves their ulterior motives in so many ways (Saudi involvement in 9/11 for example), and gives them a certain appeal in the eyes of the “great unwashed”.

Can't find your Web ID? Click here