Exodus: Gods and Kings

Exodus: Gods and Kings ★★

Lacking either the grandeur of DeMille's Ten Commandments or the lunatic vision of Aronofsky's Noah and Stone's Alexander or even the (oft-wrongheaded) political commitment of his own ahistorical epics Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven and Robin Hood, Ridley Scott's Exodus gains a bit of poignancy from the dedication to his brother Tony. It's a film about a relationship between brothers, rather than a film that has an interesting historical or religious idea about the story of Moses, though given the highly dysfunctional relationship between Moses and Rameses, it's probably best not to speculate on what this movie means to Ridley personally.

There's an interesting film in there somewhere in Christian Bale's performance with the implication that Moses is actually nuts, but the theological deck is stacked against that possibility by the vast array of supernatural occurrences surrounding him. There's also something unusual in the specificity of the date, which has the film beginning in 1380 bc, which would place Moses's exile from Egypt almost exactly 2000 years before Muhammad's Hejira from Mecca to Medina. This is counter to the tradition that holds that Rameses was Pharaoh during the Exodus, as Rameses, whose reign is reasonably well-documented, reigned from 1279-1213 bc. I can't think of any reason to move the date an ahistorical century into the past other than the Muhammed connection, which is a potentially interesting and wholly unexplored aspect of the film. various other anachronisms and biblical inconsistencies abound in the film, but they don't appear to add up to much of anything.

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