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
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
Budget: $140,000,000 (estimated)
Opening Weekend: $24,115,934 (USA) (December 12, 2014)
Gross: $65,007,045 (USA) (February 20, 2015)
Production Co: Chernin Entertainment, Scott Free Productions, Babieka
Runtime: 150 min
Sound Mix: Dolby - Dolby Atmos
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
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.
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?
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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