Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith, media and culture.

Noah’s Ark airs Sunday (3/22) @ 7:00 PM (ET) on UP TV.

Synopsis: Noah’s Ark is the story of Noah, an ancient farmer and family man, who is instructed by an angel sent by God to build an ark in the middle of a desert in order to save his family, and anyone who will listen, from a devastating flood. Noah faces ridicule and humiliation  in his quest to carry out a God-given task.

Filmed in Morocco and co-produced with the BBC, UP’s presentation of Noah’s Ark is written by Tony Jordan (The Nativity) and stars David Threlfall (Shameless) as Noah. Joanne Whalley (The Borgias) plays his loyal and loving wife Emmie. In the roles of his sons are Michael Fox (New Worlds), Ian Smith (The Syndicate), Andrew Hawley (Hinterland) and Nico Mirallegro (The Village). Ashley Walters (Truckers) plays the angel who communicates God’s will to Noah. Others in the cast include Emily Bevan (In The Flesh), Hannah John-Kamen (Death in Paradise) and Georgina Campbell (One Night). The film is directed by Kenny Glenaan.

The Ark (as the BBC dubs the film) is a Red Planet Pictures production, in association with Lip Sync Productions and Great Point Media.

Review: A vast improvement over Darren Aronofsky’s bloated and pretentious comic book version that ran in theaters last year — though this film also takes some dramatic liberties with Genesis version of events.  Notable among them is the decision to have God communicate with Noah via an angel rather than directly and the addition of a fourth son who gives into the temptations of the corrupted world.

Still, at least there are no rock monsters and, overall, it seems to me, to capture the basic message of the original story pretty well. Jordan’s script really transports you into the life and times of Noah as it convincingly portrays the day-to-day lives of its characters. At the same time, the issues the film raises — about a world filled with corruption and in which belief in God is routinely and smugly mocked — seem remarkably and disturbingly timely. The performances, beginning with Threlfall, are uniformly first-rate.

It all works so compellingly well, that it’s quite disappointing that the actual event of the flood seems to be a bit rushed and given somewhat short shrift. When the storm finally begins, it feels like the end of part one of a four hour miniseries — as I was eagerly anticipating the full depiction of aboard the ark during the flood. But, instead of being urged to tune in for an epic two-hour conclusion (which I would have done), the movie ends with what seems like a rushed conclusion.

While the ending may disappoint a bit, Noah’s Ark floats and will hold your interest throughout. And, perhaps, it will inspire some to check out the Biblical account. Though  flawed, Noah’s Ark is Recommended. 

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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