Sunday, January 25, 2015

Couple of science and religion relevant movies in the list of best films of 2014

by Salman Hameed

There were couple of interesting films in 2014 that intersected the themes of Irtiqa. I had posted about sci fi film Snowpiercer (see Sacred Engine and the preservation of order in Snowpiercer) as well as about the HBO documentary, The Newburgh Sting, about the framing of three African Americans and one Haitian immigrant in the upstate New York town of Newburgh (see The creation of Muslim terrorists by FBI in "The Newburgh Sting").

But one of the more relevant and interesting films was Darren Aronofsky's Noah (spoilers ahead - so skip this paragraph if you are interested in seeing the film). It takes the Biblical story seriously but then takes it to its logical conclusion. For example, what would be the toll on a man who knows that the world is going to be destroyed except for a handful of human beings (though - the movie argues that humanity has to die...and that sets up a fascinating dilemma). The screenplay is great in providing psychological depth to the main characters. There are giants in the movie as well and that really sets the tone for the film. But, of course, the movie revolves around Noah, and his character is questionable - to say the least. In fact, he himself says that he wasn’t chosen by God "because he was good", but rather because "he would get the job done". And so when he comes to kill his granddaughters, you really believe him. And when he doesn't go through with his action, it is unclear why he didn't. In fact, the ambiguity is fantastic and the charitable interpretation of Noah’s actions (that he chose love over justice) comes from Emma Watson’s character – and not through God. This way, God/Noah in this story are not necessarily off the hook, and Noah can still be considered to have failed in his mission. And I also really liked the way 6-day creation was depicted - perhaps with evolution. Loved the film - as I have all other Aronofsky films (yes, I liked even the flawed The Fountain). 

In any case, here Kevin Anderson and I discuss The Magnificent Seven films of 2014 and all of the above films show up in our discussion. Enjoy!


f581596ee9c468d217a7ff183af41039 said...

Salman, You blog has occasionally mentioned Dr. Abdus Salam, so some of your readers might enjoy a recent documentary on his life and physics now available on YouTube. Not sure how long it'll remain there, but here's the link:

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