Exodus: Gods and Kings’ Bold and Compromising Re-enactment’

Ridley Scott’s Biblical epic, starring Christian Bale as Moses, goes big on spectacle but refuses to preach, says Robbie Collin


After Darren Aronofsky’s bible story re-imagining, Noah, became one of the most divisive films of 2014 – ruffling the feathers of both religious viewers and hardcore cinephiles alike – the release of 20th Century Fox and director Ridley Scott’s Moses movie, Exodus: Gods and Kings, was destined to carry another wave of controversy into theaters.

Ridley Scott’s version of the Exodus story focuses on the tenuous rivalry between Moses and Ramses.

“You have to work awfully hard to make a hash of the Moses story.  Yet that’s what director Ridley Scott did with “Exodus: Gods and Kings,” the Biblical tale most memorably put on film in Cecil B. DeMille’s 1956 version, “The Ten Commandments.” (There was a silent film by DeMille, and subsequent TV movies and an animated retelling.)”

Though Exodus: Gods and Kings doesn’t have the art-house edge or in-your-face craziness of Darren Aronfosky’s Noah, it still won’t be an easy sell for by-the-book evangelicals.

A lot of Christians have completely dismissed the film from the outset because of the films many deviations from the narrative in Exodus 1-14.  Moses wields a sword but not a staff; Moses is chatty but Aaron has almost no lines; Moses kills lots of people and fights in the Egyptian army; no “staff-to-snake” scene; no repeated utterances of “let my people go”; no “baby Moses in the Nile” scene.

“Getting past the obvious issues that Scott willfully to decided to cast white actors in the roles of Egyptians for no good reason, this movie’s problems go beyond that. But at least the plagues are good.”

Scott willfully to decided to cast white actors as Egyptians and non-white actors as slaves/servants, and an inexplicable preponderance of British accents.

With an atheist as its director and a lead actor who regrettably suggested Moses could be seen as “schizophrenic” and “barbaric,” the film more than invites skepticism from biblically faithful filmgoers. The hardhearted “Ramses” approach is thus the expected response from dubious Christian audiences. Is another approach is possible?

Worse, “Exodus” is ultimately undone by its horrible script, credited to four people. The movie’s technical achievements can’t drown out 21/2 hours of awfulness.  I walked out as I watched Moses chisel the tablets of stone while some creepy little boy poured tea. Need I say more?

“The only way this gets a positive rating is if it’s NOT compared to the classic “Ten Commandments”, otherwise it’s a shameful, waste of a remake. I barely got halfway through it before pulling the plug on its awfulness.”

In the end, should “Exodus: Gods and Kings” just be ignored? As Ramses said in the ’56 version: “So let it be written, so let it be done.


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4 replies on “Exodus: Gods and Kings’ Bold and Compromising Re-enactment’”


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