Noah is 'strange and perplexing' says Vatican newspaper
A Vatican-affiliated newspaper has called Darren Aronofsky’s biblical epic Noah a "missed chance".
The blockbuster is “ecologically and vaguely New Age” according to a review in Avvenire, which goes on to declare the film as “strange and perplexing…a lost opportunity, Noah without God”.
This is the first response from the Catholic Church since Noah was released to widespread controversy on 29 March.
The movie is loosely based on the story of the great flood, found in the Book of Genesis, but Aronofsky has described his adaptation as “the least biblical biblical film ever made”.
Russell Crowe stars in the lead role, alongside Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson and Logan Lerman.
Crowe, 50, spent a fortnight lobbying Pope Francis to watch Noah and briefly met him for a blessing, but the Vatican made it clear that the encounter was not intended as an endorsement.
"Look I'm not Catholic and I've never felt any connection with any previous Pope but I like this guy," Crowe said afterwards, before making the Archbishop of Canterbury his next target.
Noah topped the US weekend box office with opening sales of $44 million, despite the movie being banned in several Middle Eastern countries for its depiction of a religious prophet.
Aronofsky dismissed criticism as “all about the unknown and about the fear of people trying to exploit a Bible story”. “It will all disappear as soon as people start seeing the film,” he told Variety.
Lerman and Watson have also defended Noah, with Lerman calling it a “good telling of the story” and Watson praising his introduction of female voices.
Last week, a screening of Noah in an Exeter cinema was cancelled due to flooding, much to the amusement of social media users.