EXODUS GODS AND KINGS
By Gary Murray
Starring Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton and Sigourney Weaver
Written by Adam Cooper & Bill Collage, Jeffrey Caine & Steven Zaillian
Directed by Ridley Scott
Running time 150 min
MPAA Rating PG-13
Selig Film Rating FORGET IT!
Recently, religious films have become in vogue in Hollywood. There have been the inspirational films such as Heaven is for Real, end times films such as Left Behind and biblical epics such as Noah. The latest story from the bible is by Ridley Scott (Prometheus, Alien, Blade Runner) and goes down the path of The Ten Commandments with Exodus Gods and Kings.
The story is of Moses (Christian Bale) and the freeing of the Jews from Egypt. He is a warrior and a favorite of King Seti (John Turturro). The film has a great Gladiator style battle of swords and sandals that shows much promise. Then it totally falls apart.
Seti would like to see Moses run the kingdom and not his rightful heir Rhamses (Joel Edgerton). Rhamses has shown that he cannot be trusted. Advisors warn of bad tidings to come.
Two events define the film. Seti dies and Rhamses becomes king. The second is the true nature of Moses orgins—namely that he is a slave and a Jew. Moses tries to get Rhamses to let the Jews be free from bondage and Rhamses needs the labor. Rhamses keeps order with the whip and hangings.
The people of Egypt either experience a bunch of plagues or a series of unfortunate events. No one definitely knows what is happening or why. Advisors try and explain blood red rivers, locusts and frogs.
Moses gets hitched and trains the Jews to fight. He keeps seeing a little boy who gives him advice and whom he argues with over and over again. Is this God or has Moses been hit on the helmet a bit too many times? Again, no one knows for sure.
We finally get to the end and the parting of the Red Sea, which in the eyes of this production is just a low tide. There are no miracles in Exodus Gods and Kings just a bunch of bad days and lucky coincidences. When the water rises to destroy the bad guy army, most of the viewers have given up on the film.
While the special effects are impressive, the actual story is weak. Four writers crafted this film and none of them understood the actual point of the story. There is no false idol worship and Moses himself crafts the Ten Commandments himself. Those expecting Cecil B. DeMille will be past the point of disappointment. Again, there are no miracles in Exodus.
Christian Bale makes an interesting choice with the role of Moses. He snarls like Batman and looks like Charles Manson. He chews every piece of scenery as if he hasn’t been fed in a decade. It is so over the top to the point it is almost a parody, smirking and rolling his eyes as if he is embarrassed by being in the film.
Director Ridley Scott finds more sympathy with the King and makes Moses seem psychopathic. At times, everyone in the audience almost begins to root against Moses. There is a problem when your hero is not heroic and your bad guy gets all the understanding.
The only redeeming value behind the film is the production value. It looks perfect, with stories-tall statues and massive buildings. There is a lot of very impressive sets and set pieces on the screen but it is for no good reason. It is waste of cash.
Holy Moses is a more accurate depiction of The Bible than Exodus. Hollywood just can’t seem to get the Old Testament right. Like just about every other film made from a book– if you love the book, you’ll hate the film.