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Erica Galindo
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Last edited on: July 31, 2015.
Exodus: Gods and Kings - SCH Movie Review
SCH Rating
Family Friendly
3.0Overall Score
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If there’s one thing Moses doesn’t need, it’s a god.

Surrounded by superstition and false belief in the Egyptian pantheon, this prince of Egypt believes only in what he can see: his cousin Ramses, close as a brother; the luxury and power of Egypt’s capital, Memphis; and his own intelligence and leadership skills.

Then, in the space of a few days, a prophecy comes true, he discovers his real parents were Hebrew slaves, his grandfather dies, and he is exiled for treason.  But even with his world turned upside down, he refuses to rely on anyone but himself.

Moses doesn’t need a god.  But God needs him.

After four hundred years of slavery, God is going to set his people free.  And Moses is part of that plan, whether he wants to be or not.

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Christian Bale’s Moses & Joel Edgerton’s Ramses march off to war; Photo Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox.

Visionary director Ridley Scott brings this latest retelling of the book of Exodus to the big screen.  Backed by talented actors including Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, Ben Kingsley, and Aaron Paul, he spins a tale of salvation, rivalry, vengeance, and acceptance.

Despite Bale’s personal feelings about Moses, his take on the character is both inspiring and human.  We see the skills that make him a leader, from his wisdom to his battle strategy and even a bit of impromptu cartography.  At the same time, we see his struggle with faith.  The film emphasizes the idea of wrestling with God, and we see Moses in quite the wrestling match with the Almighty, taking him from skepticism to stubbornness to anger to friendship.  It’s a journey that feels honest and vulnerable, never shying away from the rough parts of the relationship and reflecting many of our own paths to faith in God.

Edgerton gives Ramses an equal dose of humanity.  While his motivations are sometimes difficult to understand, the love he feels for his family is not.  His relationship with his infant son is especially deep, which makes the final plague that much more impactful.

See the trailer below:

Most other characters are sidelined in favor of these two.  Sometimes this is detrimental, taking away time from excellent performances like Kingsley as the Hebrew elder Nun.  His son Joshua, played by Paul, is basically there to watch Moses talk to God (or himself, from Joshua’s point of view).  Other times, the lack of screen time is beneficial, especially since Sigourney Weaver’s accent sticks out in this cast like a sore obelisk.

Visually, the film is a masterpiece.  Sweeping landscapes show off the opulence and beauty of Egypt and the desolation of the surrounding lands.  The plagues are seen as never before, grounded in the natural world yet so over-the-top that only God could have caused them.  The parting of the Red Sea is more of a gentle current, but the waves crashing back in more than make up for it.  Occasionally, some of the creatures are noticeably CG, but I would be shocked if this film didn’t at least receive an Oscar nomination for cinematography or visual effects.

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The Red Sea washes back into place; Photo Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox.


Christian Worldview

The story, of course, takes a good deal of artistic license.  Moses is exiled for a good deed rather than murder, the scene at the burning bush is nothing like the biblical story, and Moses’ first act upon returning to Egypt is to engage in tactical warfare that cuts off Egypt’s supply lines.

While foul language and sexuality are practically nonexistent in this movie, the violence will keep most younger viewers at home.  The film begins with an intense battle scene with many casualties (none seen clearly thanks to shaky cam).  The plagues bring about plenty of death and liberally spread blood around.  Dead bodies drift in the water and litter the beach after the Red Sea washes back in.  A chicken’s entrails and a broken leg cap off the reasons to keep your kids away from this movie.

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Christian Bale as Moses battling the Hittites; Photo Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox.

More glaring than that, however, is the depiction of God.  The casting choice that made the great I AM an 11-year-old boy isn’t the problem; that sort of thing has been done well before.  A vengeful God is also not a bad thing, as He is the only one justified in taking vengeance.  But the combination of the two makes for a frightening performance.

“I want to see [the Pharaohs] on their knees, begging for it to stop!” the boy screams at Moses.  Somehow it’s hard to see this same entity as a loving God who would give His life for the lost.

But the film isn’t without merit in terms of faith.  The Passover lambs are given plenty of attention, pointing to Jesus’ future sacrifice.  The intensity of the plagues leaves no doubt as to the power of God.  And as I mentioned before, Moses’ relationship with God is one of the most honest portrayals I’ve seen onscreen in a while.  Toward the end of the film, God observes that the two haven’t always agreed.

“And yet,” He says, “we’re still speaking.”


Biblical Discussion

Do you think this film’s depiction of God is accurate?  Is he angry and vengeful or compassionate and loving?

  • Deuteronomy 32:35 
  • Exodus 34:6-7
  • John 3:17

Does God still work miracles?  How has God shown his power in your life?

How does Moses’ relationship with God compare to your own?  When have you disagreed with God, and what was the result?


Find out more about the film at the Official Exodus: Gods and Kings Website.

Don’t miss our latest article on the movie: NYT: “Willful Child” God in ‘Exodus’ is “Deal Breaker.”

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