Ever since I've read an extensive article about Darren Aronofsky's new movie in "New Yorker", i was eagerly awaiting the premiere. The director seemed to have some unorthodox - vegan/ecological agenda for the project. All of this in light of himself being an atheist (or agnostic, my sources are mixed). No way a triple A movie could touch on such controversial issues while being based on a Bible. No way it could be done in USA and be approved by religious Paramount bosses. No way it is to be shown uncut. Vegans and atheists might be the two most hated groups of people in America, why would anyone toss a hundred million budget towards them?
Well, this is the place where the movie shines: fallen angels in a form of massive stone monsters built a ship, the animals were directed to report to the ship themselves and the water erupted from the depths of the Earth. And all the other fantastical stuff. Cause why not? It's a myth, a beautiful story, why would you ever think of taking it literally? Even if some whackos do take it literally, most of sane religious folk do not. By pointing out the scientific inconsistencies of Noah story, atheists are really making fun of themselves.
Would all of this make religious people like the movie? Well..., not exactly. The central plot does not even resemble a message, which people get after reading the Bible, even if they don't take it literally. Noah is supposed to be a single moral man in entire world. A fine specimen, which creator would choose to use in his major 'reboot the planet' project. No way you would expect an eco-freak consumed by the idea that humanity is poisonous and should in fact be destroyed. The main sin of humanity is portrayed as exploitation of other species and the planet Earth itself. Apple, which Adam ate in a garden of Eden is just a symbol of this exploitation. The visualization of this is just perfect: the Apple pulsates, resembling a heart. Adam thinks himself created to an image of creator - thus a ruler and master of all other living creatures. His decision to eat one of his own kind gets him expelled from Eden. Noah sees it clearly: the humanity is unable to live in harmony with it's surroundings. His mission is to save what's left and then disappear himself, ending the human species as we know it. Noah does not see himself as a master of other species, rather a humble companion. The references to this idea are numerous in the movie. One of the corrupted humans is even portrayed similar to Gollum from the "Lord of the Rings". You might even hear "my precious", while he's preparing to sink his teeth into the flesh.
Noah fails in his mission of destroying humanity, because he sees a glimpse of hope in it. A sign of goodness. Something he could believe in. As i left a movie theater, i could not help, but think how much would he hate himself for his moment of weakness if he would somehow be shown the gloomy reality of the 21st century.
But how would this movie bring a message to an atheist?
"Vegan atheism". Is it a proper phrase anyway? I'm yet to find a proper study which would point to correlation between the two. But the link feels so apparent. If a creator created a man based on his image and then created all the animals to suit his needs and serve him, surely this involved a licence to breed, torture by keeping them in disgusting - unnatural conditions, later kill and eat them. These are soulless creatures anyway, just a commodity to facilitate mankind. There's even a scene in a movie, where a villain complains: "why did he create me in his image then??"
It's a whole different story for an atheist. Since everyone is soulless, how would one draw a line based on a mere level of intelligence? What about mentally ill human then, who's intelligence does not exceed one of a chimpanzee? Would atheist approve of torturing and killing of chickens, but not cows? Gorillas, but not orangutans? The answers to these questions are murky at the very least. Surely an atheist can still close his eyes and delegate the killing to others. He can still exercise his will without wondering too much about others. But maybe, just maybe - denying yourself of a soul is a glimpse which Noah would see as a hope for planet Earth.