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Review: 'Exodus' delivers visual effects, reimagines God as a vengeful child

Published on Thursday, December 18, 2014

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Review: 'Exodus' delivers visual effects, reimagines God as a vengeful child
• Exodus Trailer

By JONATHAN KING

Moses believes only in what he can see, but he’s about to meet an unseen God face to face.

Visionary director Ridley Scott brings “Exodus: Gods and Kings,” the latest retelling of the story of Moses, 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.

Bale’s take on the main character is both inspiring and human. We see the skills that make him a leader as well as his struggle with faith. Moses has 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.

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.

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. 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. I would be shocked if this film didn't at least receive an Oscar nomination for cinematography or visual effects.

While foul language and sexuality are practically nonexistent in this movie, the violence will keep younger viewers at home. Excessive artistic license will also be a problem for many religious viewers, especially when it comes to the depiction of God as a vengeful child who wants “to see (the Pharaohs) on their knees, begging for it to stop!”

However, Moses’ journey is both honest and entertaining, and the film is beautiful and thoughtful. I would recommend seeing this film in theaters if only to best appreciate the movie’s massive scale.

 

 

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