Exodus: Gods and Kings ~ A Capsule Movie Review by Allen Kopp
There aren’t many movie spectacles anymore like Exodus: Gods and Kings. It is a retelling of the familiar story of Moses (played by Christian Bale) and how he led the Hebrew people to freedom after four hundred years of slavery by the Egyptians. (And how did Egypt use all those slaves? To build its monuments and tombs, some of which still stand today.) John Turturro (an odd choice) plays the pharaoh Seti (with a strange British accent). When Seti dies, his son, Ramses II (Joel Edgerton), becomes pharaoh. Ramses may be a god to his people, but he has the full range of human frailties (self-doubt, fear, etc.) He’s no strutting, arrogant jerk here, as we have seen him portrayed before.
The foundling Moses is, of course, raised by the Egyptian royal family as their own. He and Ramses are like brothers, although they are nothing alike. When Moses, as a man, kills a slavemaster, it becomes apparent that he and Ramses are on opposing sides. Moses is exiled, or chooses exile on his own, and flees across the Red Sea. When he is rescued, near death, from a terrible storm by a tribe of Bedouins, he marries a woman of their tribe and they have a son. In the meantime, God is speaking to Moses through the “Burning Bush.” God’s messenger to Moses is a small boy who appears to be about twelve years old with a grownup’s command of the language. God instructs Moses to return to Egypt and lead the Hebrew people from slavery. Why was Moses chosen out of all the others to carry out this task?
Egypt needs its slaves to build its tombs and monuments and has no intention of giving them up without a fight. (As Ramses explains, the monuments, which are so necessary, represent power.) God unleashes the Ten Plagues on Egypt, not only as punishment, but also to contrast His own power with the power of the Egyptian deities. After the tenth plague (death of the firstborn), which costs Ramses his infant son, he capitulates, bringing about the exodus of the Hebrew people from Egypt.
I can’t attest to the historical or biblical accuracy of Exodus: God and Kings, but, for my money it’s solid entertainment on a spectacular scale, far superior to most of the mainstream crap that’s out there. (Horrible Bosses 2? Oh, please! And do we really need another Dumb and Dumber?) There’s something about seeing the grandeur of ancient Egypt in a big-budget Hollywood movie that makes it worth the time and effort. Just enjoy the ride and don’t pay any attention to those people whose job it is to tear everything down.
Copyright © 2014 by Allen Kopp