Eastern Orthodox film critic Peter Chattaway has not one, but two reviews of Noah.
Chattaway likes the movie, and the Biblical theme is fun, but unfortunately as a critic he undermines his review:
Thanks to a lengthy blog post by Brian Mattson, a theologian with the the Center for Cultural Leadership in California, the latest meme to work its way into public discussion of Darren Aronofsky’s Noah is that the film is somehow Gnostic, and that it presents a worldview in which God is really Satan and vice versa.
Is there anything to Mattson’s claims? Not really, and here’s why.
First, like a lot of successfully misleading claims, Mattson’s has a fair bit of truth. And one of the key truths he elucidates is that Noah, like other Aronofsky films, borrows some of its ideas from a form of Jewish mysticism known as Kabbalah.
Aronofsky told them he had turned to a number of extrabiblical Jewish sources for narrative material, “including the Zohar,” a key Kabbalistic text.
His main rebuttal to Mattson is partly:
He also doesn’t address the fact that many of the Kabbalistic elements he finds so sinister have their counterparts in Christian thought, especially perhaps in the Eastern churches. (Full disclosure: I’m an Eastern Orthodox communicant myself.)
Chattway is not all wrong- Kabbalah says that Abel's descendants were the "good side", according to Chattway, while the movie says that the good side came from Seth, which Chattway considers a common view.
Although Mattson is Protestant and Chattway is Orthodox, it looks like Mattson's review is more in keeping with what we would expect from an Orthodox writer.
where Mattson really goes off the rails is in his simple identification of Kabbalah as a Jewish form of Gnosticism.
Correct me if I am wrong, but while Kabbalah is not one of the ancient Gnostic mystery schools, it has a similarity in that they were about secret knowledge. There are restrictions on who is allowed to learn Kabbalah even within the rabbinical community, and views about it are sometimes controversial even there.
The only other thing Chattway equates with Orthodox elements are the idea of the fallen angels' redemption, proposed by St. Gregory of Nyssa. But that is not enough I think to show that "many of" the movie's unusual elements are shared with Eastern Orthodoxy.
The world of Gnostic mysticism is bewildering with a myriad of varieties. But, generally speaking, they hold in common that the serpent is “Sophia,” “Mother,” or “Wisdom.” The serpent represents the true divine, and the claims of “The Creator” are false. It is not God that commissions them to now multiply and fill the earth, but Noah, in the first person, “I,” wearing the serpent talisman.
Maybe Mattson is being too judgmental, but I would recommend readers look at both Mattson's article as well as Chattway's.
They agree that Aranofsky is basing the movie on Kabbalah, and Mattson finds this troubling and reads into it ideas that contradict Christianity, while Chattway tries to read into them ideas that don't contradict it.
Chattway's view is that the snakeskin reminds them of the pure creation that was lost. However, why is the snakeskin the only thing that should do this, an object associated with a creature that itself went astray? Granted, as Chattway says, it portrays the eating of the fruit based on the snake's instruction negatively, as it is later that Cain kills Abel.