It's safe to say that I am a big fan of the work of director Darren Aronofsky.
From “Pi” to “Requiem” to “The Fountain,” he made such huge leaps forward each time that the anticipation of what he might do next became a fascinating game, especially since he wasn't exactly cranking out a new movie every year. He's managed to reinvent himself onscreen with his last few films, in new ways each time. “The Wrestler” felt like him stepping into a world completely outside his own experience. “Black Swan” is a beautiful, haunting film that struck an unexpected nerve with audiences around the world. That was four years ago, and since then, he's been hard at work trying to bring his most personal vision yet to the screen.
It seems almost impossible to sit down with him for six minutes to discuss a film as richly imagined and densely detailed as “Noah,” but that was the task tried to accomplish on Sunday. I was still grappling with my own reaction to the film less than a day after seeing it, and Aronofsky is trying to distill the entire experience down into words after spending most of his creative life thinking about this idea in one form or another.
As a result, this interview all feels like a rev up to the real conversation. Maybe we'll find time to continue it in more depth in the next few weeks once he's done with the onslaught of publicity demands, and we can take a little time to dig deeper and discuss some of the film's bigger ideas and the layers of work that he's done to build in all sorts of other texts besides just the Book of Genesis as source material. It's an impressive act of filmmaking-as-scholarly-inquiry, and it deserves more than one brief glance before moving on.
So much of our pop culture is made to be disposable, digested quickly and then forgotten. “Noah” is a film that practically dares you to leave the theater, do some reading, and then return to again. It wants to create conversations about ideas such as our relationship to nature, the way we use resources, the impulse of mercy, the innate wickedness of human nature, and the fragile world in which we place our full faith. It treats one of the most famous Bible stories of all time as world myth, unafraid to interpret and explore, and I think you get a quick glimpse of just how much it means to Aronofsky as a storyteller from this short chat.
“Noah” is in theaters this Friday.