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A blog wherein a literary agent will sometimes discuss his business, sometimes discuss the movies he sees, the tennis he watches, or the world around him. In which he will often wish he could say more, but will be obliged by business necessity and basic politeness and simple civility to hold his tongue. Rankings are done on a scale of one to five Slithy Toads, where a 0 is a complete waste of time, a 2 is a completely innocuous way to spend your time, and a 4 is intended as a geas compelling you to make the time.

Friday, April 4, 2014


Not sure I would have seen Noah otherwise, but there was a preview screening at the Museum of the Moving Image.

It's an interesting movie, in a better way than when your spouse is saying your banana bread is interesting, but I'm still not sure it's actually a good movie.

But interesting.

The first interesting thing is the complete lack of sugar coating.  We can spend so much time with bible stories growing up, the idealized kinds of stories suitable for children of all ages, that we can forget that most of the people in those stories are kind of crazy.  Cain, Abraham, Joseph, Noah certainly.  And the director Darren Aronofsky doesn't let us forget that about Noah.  Nor does the portrayal by Russell Crowe.  There isn't a thing about the movie that lets us forget that you have to be a certain kind of crazy to build an ark because God tells you to, and to do most of the things that Noah goes around doing in the classic bible story of Noah.  It's an interesting choice, and I respect it.  I'm so tired of heroes in cinema that I was kind of delighted here when Noah forces his son Ham to abandon his girlfriend, who doesn't fare well in the immediate aftermath.  Not what we're supposed to do, not what we're used to seeing, not what we like to think of when we think of God and doing God's work and being Godly.  But it's actually true to the nature of the Old Testament, where bad things happen to people.

It's interesting to see the use of classic elements of sf/fantasy to provide the presence of God in the movie.  You need the hand of God to make the story of Noah work.  To make it rain for those 40 days. To get Noah to build the ark.  To keep the ark from being attacked and destroyed by the saner people in Noah's universe.  So if you've got to have a supernatural entity casting its gaze and spirit over the movie, why not have it be a cross between Tolkien/Peter Jackson's ents and Brandon Sanderson's koloss.

The movie has a bad guy, and the bad guy isn't the strength of the movie in cinematic story terms.  But in the bibliical sense, the character makes for some itneresting parallels with the story of Adam and Eve, providing temptation which mankind has to either embrace or resist.  The decision on what to do in Noah is much more interesting than asking what card you have in your wallet.

I dozed off only briefly, and I could easily have gotten sleepy-eyed for a lot more of the movie than this.  It's an interesting movie.  I'm hesitant to give it a recommendation, but I wouldn't warn anyone against.