By Nick Brand

A film to watch as entertainment, rather than anything more cerebral, Exodus presents a convincing recreation of what life was possibly like at the time of Moses, for both Egyptians and Hebrews alike. The harsh life for the Hebrew slaves is vividly portrayed, and their humble living quarters is cleverly contrasted with the opulence of pharaoh’s palace.

Set pieces are the selling-point here, and a battle between Egyptians and Hittites is reconstructed magnificently near the beginning of the film, and the sight of the multitudes of soldiers and chariots charging at each other is truly spectacular and gripping, especially in 3D. In fact, throughout this long film, there are many truly epic scenes.

Panoramic views of the countryside are mixed with close ups of the landscape. In 3D, it felt as though you was actually walking across the land itself.

There is such artistry in the filming that even those, like myself, who are familiar with the biblical story, can still enjoy the film and marvel at the amazing special effects which so realistically bring to life those miraculous events, such as the plagues, and the parting of the Red Sea.

Purists will object to the frequent, and sometimes ridiculous, deviations from the actual story as told in the bible, but to be fair, the film adheres fairly closely to the biblical story, and allowances should be made for dramatic affect.

What may be less pardonable, however, for those with religious convictions is that Ridley Scott, the director, fails to portray God in any kind of awesome glory.

God, whom only Moses can see and hear, appears in this film as a rather sinister boy who never ages.

Having failed to liberate the Hebrews using his own military prowess, Moses takes a back seat, and watches while the plagues unfold.

Did the director, Ridley Scott, want to absolve Moses from any guilt relating to the suffering meted out upon the Egyptians? In fact, the boy-God’s actions are denigrated as being capricious by both Moses and pharaoh.

The friendship and subsequent bitter feud between Moses and his brother Ramses, who becomes pharaoh, as well as Moses’ torn loyalties between the Hebrews and the Egyptians, add human interest to the otherwise awesome events portrayed in the film.

The audience can only feel some sympathy for pharaoh, and his personality in this film is not as flawed as one might have expected.

Christian Bale’s Moses is heroic, and certainly a man whom one might admire for his leadership qualities, but denuded of his ability to turn the Nile to blood, or to part the sea with the raise of his arm, he fails to display the divine power one would have expected to witness through him.

Sometimes he is aware of what is about to happen, but his is not the agent through whom they happen.

This film succeeds in presenting the story of the Hebrew’s exodus on a visual and dramatic level, but clearly never intended to satisfy the audience on a religious level.


Movie Review: Exodus - Gods & Kings
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