Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014)

A review by Shlomoh Sherman
April 24, 2015

Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014)
Director: Ridley Scott
Writers: Adam Cooper, Bill Collage
Stars: Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, Ben Kingsley
Plot: The defiant leader Moses rises up against the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses, setting 600,000 slaves on a monumental journey of escape from Egypt and its terrifying cycle of deadly plagues.
Plot Keywords: Moses - Pharaoh - plague - God - Egypt
Taglines: Once Brothers, Now Enemies
Country: UK - USA - Spain
Language: English
Release Date: December 12, 2014 (USA)
Also Known As: Moses See more »
Filming Locations: Pinewood Studios, Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire, England, UK, Canary Islands, Spain, Andalucia, Spain, Ouarzazate, Morocco
Box Office:
Budget: $140,000,000 (estimated)
Opening Weekend: $24,115,934 (USA) (December 12, 2014)
Gross: $65,007,045 (USA) (February 20, 2015)
Company Credits:
Production Co: Chernin Entertainment, Scott Free Productions, Babieka
Technical Specs:
Runtime: 150 min
Sound Mix: Dolby - Dolby Atmos
Color: Color
Genres: Action - Adventure - Drama
Motion Picture Rating (MPAA):
Rated PG-13 for violence including battle sequences and intense images
IMDB Website for this film: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1528100/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

IMDB's Outline:
Epic adventure Exodus: Gods and Kings is the story of one man's daring courage to take on the might of an empire. Using state of the art visual effects and 3D immersion, Ridley Scott brings new life to the story of the defiant leader Moses as he rises up against the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses, setting 600,000 slaves on a monumental journey of escape from Egypt and its terrifying cycle of deadly plagues. Written by 20th Century Fox

First read Luana Fredris' review, December 12, 2014, which is typial of most reviews, negative.

Bland, lazy and arrogant
12 December 2014 - by Luana Fredris – See all my reviews
We all know Scott can bring a vision to the screen with ease, create a sweeping vista and bring a dream to life. In part he does that here; a version of ancient Egypt is brought to life, superficially it seems right, until you realise this is all this movie has going for it.

Its empty, like a chocolate cake with sawdust inside. I feel cheated, extremely disappointed, and unenlightened.

Apart from the incredibly distracting casting choices, we know ancient Egyptians were brown to dark brown, the costumes and setting just didn't ring true and continuously brought me out of the movie and into the increasingly monotonous script that lacked any originality, spark or wit.

Yes, this is straight by the numbers; even including a more 'scientific' approach to the story that I think was supposed to be clever or original, but just fell flat and drained even more life from the movie.

Performances I felt were very ordinary; Bale played his usual character role, serious faced throughout, as did Edgerton, although yet again and again I found distracting his manicured eyebrows and shaven head, clearly a poor attempt to look 'other', when his role should have clearly gone to another. The so called must have big names Scott whined of, such as Weaver, had hardly a word to say.

Its also overlong, or seems it. Large segments between set pieces drag on and on, you check your watch and instead of 30 minutes gone, you realise only 4 minutes have. This is nothing like gladiator. Scott has gotten old. Hes not going to get better.

Only watch if you like a biblical epic with no originality and dour presentation. Everyone else, save your cash and if you are tempted, don't bother with 3D.

Here's my take.

Out of curiosity, I decided to watch this movie surrounding the events which created the holiday of Passover and the Jewish People. It is only a few weeks after Passover as I write this. The last so-called Biblical epic movie which I saw last year was the highly intellectually insulting NOAH, the latest Russel Crowe pice of drek . And since NOAH is typical of Jewish stories managed and presented by gentiles, I expected this movie to be COMPLETE drek! Don't get me wrong. Some of my best friends are gentile, and they are remarkably good at most creative things but when it comes to presenting Jewish Bible stories, they just lack the "behind the scenes" knowledge to which only Jews are Midrashicly attuned.

On the other hand, even if these spectacular Bible-driven epics were actually handled by Jews, would they be much better? That depends, you say, on which Jews are doing the handling.


Oh yeah. Let's say they were done by completely secular Jews. My own opinion, NOT the gospel truth, is that the movie would suck just as badly as if done by the best well-intentioned goy . Why? Because classically irreligious Jews have their Biblical knowledge filtered down to them thorugh American Christian cultural understandings.

On the third hand, so to speak, I am not completely sure that I would enjoy seeing these movies done by Orthodox Jews who might turn the particular story into one gigantic cinematic super-Midrash .

Here Ridley Scott and the script writers have given us an interesting ecclectic take. And it is just this eclecticism which appealed to me as a Jewishly religious secularist.

We all know the story of the Exodus to some extent. The Israelites have been enslaved to the Egyptians for 400 years and finally a man is born who is destined to free them from slavery and lead them into the dessert where they will become a great priestly nation, afterwhich they will go to the Promised Land and live there as God's chosen people living their lives according to His TORAH mediated to them through Moses, their liberator. The story of the Exodus itself, as we all know, is a description of the struggle of the might of the Egyptian super-power against the Divine Power given to Moses to bring about a series of devastating ten plagues which destroy the economy and military might of the oppressors, leading to the Israelites' release.

For the most part, the movie dwells on the human and natural sides of the story, leaving the supernatural in the background. It is only towards the latter part of the movie that we see hints of the divine workings in the story, and ONLY hints. The plagues are shown to influence one another naturally. At first there is an unprecedented major attack by crocodiles upon the fishermen on the Nile. With so many Egyptian people being dragged into the water and ripped apart, no wonder the Nile became filled with blood. The presence of blood causes the frogs to leave the waters and fill the land. The uncleanliness of the frogs leads to unsanitary conditions among the people and their [frogs] carcasses bring about lice, flies, boils, and animal disease and death.

It is only with the arrival of the hail and the locust that we begin to see "the finger of God" in action. And supposedly the massive presence of locust and overpowering force of the hail bring about intense darkness, which is not to say that God is not also acting in these instances. As to the death of the Egyptian firstborn, and the saving of the Israelite firstborn by the painting of blood on their houses, the manner in which this shown in the film can only be described as God in action.

Also the crossing of the Reed Sea and the destruction of Ramses' army is shown in a naturalistic manner, the Sea lowering at low tide through which the Israelites pass over, and the drowning of the Egyptian army attempting to pass when the tide again rises.

As to the actual presence of God in the movie, from the time of the scene of the burning bush to the ending scene of the Israelites marching into the dessert, God is presented as a young boy who now and then confronts Moses, spurring him on in his mission whenever Moses is confronted by his own self-doubts.

Aside from the magnificent CGI special effects is the passable performances of the actors. No one goes to see this movie expecting to see Olivier or Burton; so don't expect Gone With The Wind, and just relax.

I did say that the acting was so-so but I was particularly put off by the dreary performances of John Turturro as pharaoh Seti and Sigourney Weaver as the mother of Ramses. And I like both of these actors. But of course, since Weaver was married to Ridley Scott, he is going to include her in the cast but they are a far cry from ALIEN in which Scott made Weaver's career.

What can I say? I turned down my critical faculties and told myself, I am not watching CITIZEN KANE, and I survived, sonehow enjoying the movie. Well I have always been a fan of Christian Bale but why does our MOSHE RABBENU have to be played by a guy named Christian ? Charlton Heston, where are you when we need you now?

Listen Pharaoh, get your paws off the Jews, you damn dirty ape!

Did You Know?

Christian Bale and Ben Mendelsohn both previously cast in The Dark Knight Rises (2012).
The Great Sphinx of Giza is visible in one scene. It is the world's oldest known monumental statue, having been built roughly 1200 years prior to Moses' birth.
Darren Aronofsky originally wanted Christian Bale to play the title role in Noah (2014) but Bale had to decline due to scheduling conflicts. The role ultimately went to Russell Crowe, a frequent Ridley Scott collaborator. Bale was later cast as Moses, another biblical figure, in this Scott-helmed feature.
The film was originally called simply "Exodus", but it later received the subtitle "Gods and Kings" because 20th Century Fox could not procure the rights for "Exodus" alone from MGM, who owns the rights through the unrelated film Exodus (1960).
To prepare for his role as Moses, Christian Bale quickly surpassed Sunday school basics and delved into scripture and literary works. He read the first five books of the Bible, the Quran, as well as Louis Ginzberg's classic, "Legends of the Jews" and Jonathan Kirsch's "Moses, A Life."
Christian Bale almost missed out on his role in the film as he was considered as being too fat. This was because Bale was still working off the weight he had gained for his role in American Hustle (2013). Bale however was able to lose the weight and reach the physique required for this film.
Egypt said it banned the film because the Hollywood blockbuster distorts Egypt's history and presents a racist image of Jews. The Culture Ministry explained its decision for the first time in a statement issued a few days after the ban was announced. It said the film put forth a reading of Egypt's history that is at odds with the story of Moses told by the world's monotheistic religions. Egypt is a conservative country with a Muslim majority and a sizeable Christian minority. Censors objected to the intentional gross historical fallacies that offend Egypt and its pharaonic ancient history in yet another attempt to Judaize Egyptian civilization, which confirms the international Zionist fingerprints all over the film, the statement said. The ministry said the movie inaccurately depicts ancient Egyptians as savages who kill and hang Jews, arguing that hanging did not exist in ancient Egypt. It also said the film presents a "racist" depiction of Jews as a people who mounted an armed rebellion. The ministry said religious scriptures present Jews as weak and oppressed. The statement also objected to the depiction of God as a child, which also drew criticism in the West. The ministry said it had convened two committees -- one of censors and one of archaeologists -- to review the film. The committee of archaeologists agreed with the decision to ban the film because it showed "a false and wrong mental image of Egypt's history," the ministry said.
In an interview with Esquire magazine, Ridley Scott called religion "the biggest source of evil", explaining, "Everyone is tearing each other apart in the name of their personal god. And the irony is, by definition, they're probably worshiping the same god". In another interview, Scott claimed that being an agnostic was a good quality for directing a Biblical story "because I've got to convince myself the story works."
The wedding song on the occasion of Moses with Sapoorah is in Turkish. The bridal fashion is also ethnic in taste to Turkish & Kurdish.
This film was banned in Morocco.
Despite the main characters being of African and/or Jewish descent, white actors were cast as the main characters, while minor role such as slaves and thieves were cast as black people. Furthermore, Ridley Scott claimed the movie would not be financially viable without white actors. This has lead to discussions of whitewashing and structural racism in Hollywood.
Christian Bale previously appeared in Treasure Island, opposite Charlton Heston, and directed by his son, Fraser Clarke Heston. Both Hestons played Moses in The Ten Commandments (1956).
This also marks the third time that director Ridley Scott has worked with Sigourney Weaver. First, on "Alien" in 1979. Second on "1492: Conquest of Paradise" in 1992.
12 of 13 found this interesting | Share this
This film is exactly 1 hour and 10 minutes shorter than Cecil B. DeMille's grand scale take on the same subject The Ten Commandments (1956) which runs 3 hour and 40 minutes.

Studying animal entrails to foretell the future is an Etruscan/Roman religious practice, not Ancient Egyptian. See more »</p>
In the wedding scene, a beautiful cactus can be seen. Cactuses did not exist in Egypt until few hundred years ago.
The plot rotates around twin blades given by old king to his two sons. The swords are leaf-shaped, about 3 ft long and made of steel. This is a dual anachronism: 1. Blade shape is wrong. Egyptian royalty at this time had a distinct melee weapon called khopesh - a sickle-shaped broadsword, that had a single slashing edge. Leaf blades were not used in Egypt in the 2nd millennium BC, they are a distinct feature of Celtic smiths of the Bronze Age. 2. Blade metal is wrong. At this time the only material used for blades was bronze - it's still Bronze Age. First reliable evidence of iron metallurgy appears only a few centuries later, circa 11th cent BC. Iron blades 3 ft long required amount of metal and technologies that became available no sooner than 8th cent. BC. Steel of quality shown on screen appears only in 8-9th cent. AD - 2000 years after the film events.
Throughout the film the horses are all shown with horseshoes. Horseshoes were not generally used outside Europe for almost another 1500 years.
Camels were only introduced in Egypt in Roman times, not yet in the time of Ramses the Great.
Archers are shown firing from horseback. This type of mounted archery was not developed until at least 400 years after the movie's timeline.
The horses have stirrups. This is very evident when Moses rides his horse at the stable scene. Stirrups were invented several hundred years later.
The Great Sphinx of Giza appears in one scene, looking very much like it does today. However at the time of Moses the Sphinx would likely have still had its nose, although we do not know when exactly it was lost. While the common story about Napoleon's soldiers using the Sphinx as a target for shooting practice (thus breaking off its nose) is proved to be untrue, there is no proof as to when the Sphinx lost its nose. There is a story about a ruler damaging the Sphinx in the 14th century, but the historian mentioning it also mentions the destruction of the ears (which clearly did not happen, therefore casting doubt on the whole story). The only thing we know for a fact is that the nose was gone by 1737 when British artist and marine architect Norden sketched the Sphinx without its nose.

[Messenger[YHWH]: Flesh decays, but stone endures.
Zipporah: What kind of God says to a man to leave his family?
Rhamses: You say that you didn't... cause all this. You say this is not your fault. So let's just see who's more effective at killing: You or me.
Moses: Who are you?
[Messenger[YHWH]: I am.
[Messenger[YHWH]: I've noticed that from you.
Moses: What?
[Messenger[YHWH]: You do not always agree with me.
Moses: Nor you with me. I've noticed.
Moses: Where have you been?
[Messenger[YHWH]: Watching you fail.

The full soundtrack details for Ridley Scott’s biblical epic Exodus: Gods and Kings have been revealed. The album features the film’s original music composed by Academy Award nominee Alberto Iglesias (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Constant Gardener, The Kite Runner). The soundtrack was released on December 2, 2014 by Sony Classical and is now available for pre-order on Amazon, where you can also listen to audio clips.

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Recent Posts
Could they not find a Jew in Hollywood to play Moses? - risingsun361
Moses is a terrorist! - ikari_shinji24
Read the Bible first PLEASE! - jeremyidavidson
One of the most iconic scenes messed up. - rithicp
Historic mistake! - khaledzaki74

Discuss Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014) on the IMDb message boards

Cast overview, first billed only:
Christian Bale ... Moses
Joel Edgerton ... Rhamses
John Turturro ... Seti
Aaron Paul ... Joshua
Ben Mendelsohn ... Viceroy Hegep
María Valverde ... Zipporah
Sigourney Weaver ... Tuya
Ben Kingsley ... Nun
Hiam Abbass ... Bithia
Isaac Andrews ... Malak
Ewen Bremner ... Expert
Indira Varma ... High Priestess
Golshifteh Farahani ... Nefertari
Ghassan Massoud ... Rhamses' Grand Vizier
Tara Fitzgerald ... Miriam

The Moses film
Dietz Ziechmann May 7, 2015 at 10:22 AM
To: Shlomoh Sherman and Todd Rosenberg

"Moses the Lawgiver", starring Burt Lancaster in the starring role, with Anthony Quayle, Irene Papas, Ingrid Thule, some Hebrew-named actors (probably Israelim), script co-written by Anthony Burgess. Was a joint Italian-English TV series.(RAI-ITC). I saw a segment on You Tube last night (in Italian, no English subtitles). It remember seeing it on American TV. I think the Hebrew roles were done in English and the Egyptian roles in Italian with reciprocal dubbing for the respective language areas. (The Uk/US airing were all voiced in English, of course).

DVDs are available thru Amazon. The version with the original title.is multi-disc and only playable on Region 2 (which exludes most US DVD layers). The other version is simply called "Moses" and has a picture of Lancaster on its cover. It's 1 disc, cheaper, and is playable on the standard DVD players in the USA.

This telling of the Exodus story is much more realistic and believable than the Cecil DeMille depiction. In this Moses and his followers cross the marshy Sea of Reeds (not gargantuan Red Sea as in the de Mille extravaganza). I think this version is more faithful to the actual Torah text.

Looking for info. about this film brought me to a video by R. Michael Skobac in Toronto discussing maschiach and ha maschiach. (I didn't know/remember a tent peg could be "anointed by oil", but Skobac cites Genesis. Anything that serves G-d's purposes can be anointed. Ha maschiach is a different story.) (Go to www.jewsforjudaism.ca for materials. "Ca: stands for "Canada".) B'shalom, Fred Flintstone. Like a boss.

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