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MEXICO CITY – Darren Aronofsky‘s biblical epic Noah got a mixed reception at its world premiere in Mexico City Monday evening.
Hundreds of screaming teens attended the red carpet event at the Pepsi Center, many on hand to see actors Logan Lerman, Jennifer Connelly and Douglas Booth. Co-writer Ari Handel also joined Aronofsky onstage before the screening. The film’s star, Russell Crowe, wasn’t present.
Taking the stage before the show, Aronofsky told the audience to expect the unexpected.
“It’s a very, very different movie,” he said. “Anything you’re expecting, you’re f—ing wrong.”
When all was said and done, Noah drew a somewhat muted response from the crowd and mixed comments from both the audience and film critics. After the credits rolled, the audience applauded for about 30 seconds while remaining seated.
One American critic said he would give the film a favorable review, but another felt it was “a bit long and dragged in spots.” The critics requested anonymity due to a studio embargo on reviews ahead of the U.S. release.
Mexico City-based W Radio critic Mario P. Szekely said he doubts the film will connect with Mexican audiences.
“They won’t connect emotionally with the main character because it betrays the essence of the biblical character, and the payoff just isn’t good enough,” he said.
Some in the audience praised the film’s visual effects, while others had issues with the pace.
Moviegoer Manuel Salgado said Noah started slow, but gained momentum as it moved along.
Another cinemagoer, Veronica Muratalla, said: “In general I didn’t like it. It seemed slow, and I found it tiring.”
Noah has been banned in several Middle Eastern countries for contradicting Islamic law by portraying a prophet, but here in predominantly Catholic Mexico there have been no protests or controversy yet.
Martin Scorsese‘s 1988 drama The Last Temptation of Christ was banned from Mexican theaters for 15 years due to pressure from the Catholic Church. The film was finally released in March 2004, at the same time that another controversial religious-themed movie was set to hit cinemas: Mel Gibson‘s The Passion of the Christ.
Latin America figures to be a key target market for Noah — the territory has the highest Catholic population in the world, with more than 480 million followers.
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