Darren Aronofsky is one of my favorite filmmakers. It’s been rewarding to watch him develop over the course of his five feature films (Pi, Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain, The Wrestler, and Black Swan) and how he’s matured in approach to certain themes—namely, obsession and death. His latest feature, Noah, should be dripping with these two themes as it’s the story of a man directed by God and willing to let the rest of the world die. While it does provide some intriguing departure from those themes, Noah feels like a series of compromises that soften the impact of the themes as Aronofsky gets bogged down in explanations that feel like excuses, and then struggles to return to the fascinating and complex moral drama at the center of the story. Although he has his frequent collaborators providing the picture with grandeur and majesty, and the filmmaker’s trademark earnestness remains, his style begins to work against him as Noah veers between gritty reality and difficult humanism.