Book Reviews

I know the film has been out for a while now, but I missed seeing it in the cinema and so have only just seen it. I'm sure there's others out there who still haven't watched this and are wondering whether it's worth the time and effort, so here goes: my review of Exodus. 

The film begins with Moses later in life living in the Pharaoh's palace as his adopted son along side his half brother. Now I'm not sure if this part was based on any Jewish Midrash or if it was purely artistic license, but either way I thought it was well done to show how Moses' life could well have gone being brought up Egyptian. Apart from some pretty epic looking battle scenes, this is where much of my enjoyment of the film ended.

As far as I'm aware, the film wasn't written or produced by Christians or Jews. Nor did I hear or read anything about the film makers consulting Biblical or traditional sources for this, (as did happen with Noah) other than for the obvious storyline – although Bale did read the Torah and some other sources to get into his role as Moses. I do remember reading an interview with Christian Bale (Moses) in which he basically said he didn't believe anything miraculous about the Exodus, so don't go into this film expecting to see a Moses you recognise or can relate back to the Old Testament story you probably know.

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Moses' character turns out to be quite the opposite of what you may expect and isn't really anything close to a strong leader or confident and bold man of faith. He's a strong and confident Egyptian army general in the beginning and then becomes an argumentative and stubborn man when God tells him of His intentions with the plagues. Definitely not the man who requested his brother Aaron to speak on his behalf which, incidentally, didn't occur in the film.

Aaron always seemed to be lurking in the background when Moses spoke with God, afraid to approach. He also couldn't see God, that was something only Moses had the ability to do.

Speaking of God, this was another portrayal I initially liked at first, in part at least.

God appears throughout this film as a child.

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I admit, at first I didn't like the depiction. But then when the first miraculous event happened at the simple nod of this apparent child, it made me rethink my view and I saw the portrayal as maybe a clever way to show that God doesn't need to look like some burly old man with muscles and a beard to be seen as strong and powerful.

But as the film progressed, each encounter with God made him seem more and more like a petulant child stomping his feet in a strop with the Egyptians. At one point Moses even yells at God saying his plan is no more than just revenge.

The film is also peppered with subtle unbelief. Despite showing the Egyptian gods fail to help them against the Hebrew's God, the advisers to the Pharaoh are shown explaining away each miraculous event in some naturalistic way. Even Moses tells God that he disagrees with his plans and methods of dealing with Egypt, saying he'll have no part in it.

I will say though, that watching this did make me want to re-read the actual Exodus story again, so maybe some good will come of this film and inspire others to read it for the first time.

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I could go on, but I think I've said enough. If you're looking for a fairly decent action film, with some nice battles and special effects based loosely on a biblical story, then I'd say go for it. But if you're looking for an accurate portrayal of the Exodus account, you're probably better of giving this a miss.

 

Rating: 3/5

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