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Review ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings’ From The Editor

“Exodus: Gods and Kings” features an all star cast and great performances. It’s just too bad all that talent was wasted on this film. When one hears there is going to be a movie about the story of Exodus, one would think that it will be a wrath parable about redemption, divine judgment, and the creation of the ten commandments.

One doesn’t expect it to be a tale of two dueling brothers, an 11 year old God with a psychopathic personality, and almost no mention of the ten commandments created as a result of the exodus from Egypt. With an altered story like that, it is unclear what we are supposed to take from this film.

there are just some occasions when it seems like director Ridley Scott is arbitrarily adapting historical fiction instead of saying anything whatsoever about it. Kingdom of Heaven was fairly impressive (at least, the director’s cut was), and Gladiator was popcorn fun, but then you have films like Robin Hood and now Exodus, which glumly go through the motions we’ve all seen before, occasionally spiking with an epic action sequence, and then vacating the premises of our collective consciousness as quickly as possible.

Upon entering Egypt, Moses quickly discovers that his God is a wrathful god. It is not enough that Moses is willing to train the Israelites to fight the Egyptians—and he does do this with some success. God wants the Israelites freed quickly. It could take years for Moses to win a war against the Egyptians on his own. So, God starts unleashing plagues. Moses does not participate in any of these plagues, and his job is to sit back and watch God’s wrath unfold during this part of the movie.

At first, God only sends little plagues that a typical 11 year old might enjoy watching. Moses is a grown man and does not scold the young god. The river runs red, the fish all die, and Moses can handle all of that. But then God’s campaign against the Egyptians escalates into the killing of every Egyptian first born son. Moses is horrified, but he continues to follow God. He follows God all the way to the Red Sea after that, though he feels incredible sorrow that God would take such an extreme measure. In the movie, Moses directly tells God that the killing of children is only vengeance. Divine judgment doesn’t play a role. God’s mass killing seems more psychopathic than godly.

After the victorious escape across the Red Sea, Moses is asked by God to start carving His laws into stone. It is a brief scene, and the laws are not explained. We are supposed to assume that God is talking about the ten commandments. Shortly after this scene, the movie ends with a much older Moses traveling through the desert, and God is still watching him in child form.

This is not the story of Exodus. It’s not so much that they altered it but that the filmmakers completely missed the point. In this story, Moses is quite possibly insane and only hallucinating this angry, child god that wants him to have a showdown with Rhamses. God, if he is real in this story, is a villain. The creation of the ten commandments is a brief scene, and the audience is never even told what they are. I don’t know why the scene was included, because it has no bearing on the story being told in the film. The biblical story of Exodus actually has a message. I have no idea what audiences were supposed to take from this film.

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1 Comment on Review ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings’ From The Editor

  1. Great review, perhaps not for the film, but for us.


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