Posts Tagged ‘Moses’

Alright, I do often write up film reviews on my other site and blog, but I will try to keep things even more relaxed and casual here.

So last weekend I went along to see EXODUS  with my wife and a friend, and it had not been seriously planned. I was aware of the film when it came out around Boxing Day time at Christmas, and I am a serious film freak so usually keep track of things like any new Ridley Scott films on the way.

I think that at first, I decided not to really get too exicted about it because the last few Scott films did not really amaze me (apart from Prometheus, yes I did like it-probably one of about five people) and his epic historical movies just don’t really grab me or seem to do what they should. Plus this time, EXODUS featured Christian Bale…

Hold on there, I don’t hate Bale, but after three films of his over the top super-gruff uber-macho Batman voice, I really find it hard to give him much time. He had sort of acted himself into a corner recently. But I agreed to go along and see this film anyway.

I was expecting huge epic visuals, continually grand visions on screen-this is what I got. It was good, it was exciting and largely very entertaining all the way. There have of course been so many film adaptations of the Old Testament tales over the decades, and from the begining of this film, it does not immediately seem much different from some of those. The scale of the images of Egypt and the middle eastern lands around on screen are much more detailed and evocative than they ever have been in a religious movie I think.

I will admit that the tale of Moses leading up to his eventual final events and the commandments were a little vague with me, being a while since I have looked over the Old Testament. Honestly, the acting and dialogue may be a little basic and simple but then, this is a biblical film and it is going to stick to most of the actual known modern international bible text. What makes the film move along and pull the viewer in is the soundtrack, the cinematography, and direction. We all know most of the story, and at least toward the very end of the film we will probably know how to expect the film to end. No real surprises…well actually there were some…

Like one or two of his other historical movies, Ridley Scott here added in a level of authentic related culture in the clothes that the characters wear, how they speak with elements of arabic and other minor middle eastern traits. This makes the film more interesting, engaging and authentic to some degree, or to a modern audience.

Thankfully, I found that Christian Bale toned himself down after a while when as Moses he left his safe position in leading Egypt and walked away in shame and guilt. Soon after, when he takes a simple and humble life, finds a wife he then experiences the changes personally which take his life in a spiritual direction.

This is where there are some serious and possibly radical changes in the way the story is presented to us.

*Spoiler Alert!*

This I had heard about around the time of the release of the film in from reviews and some criticised it, or it could be seen as a compromise to modern cinema audiences and how to depict an epic biblical tale on screen in our times now. In this film, Moses has an accident and falls, hitting his head badly. He is knocked down and rests for a short time. From this point on, he begins to speak with God. He hit his head…

It can be seen in this film, one view, that it might be suggesting that Moses knocked his head or something similar and in some way was simply delusional. A madman, a crazy person, who imagined that he heard the voice of God. Was he a dangerous madman? Was he even perhaps schizophrenic, split personality? Is it even then, suggesting that same thing about many people who believe in God or have a faith which might be irrational? I do not think that Ridley Scott is specifically suggesting this, but he has put this in, and it possibly serves to allow many viewers to enjoy the film without having a faith or being reigious at all-this is just an epic Hollywood historical drama. That is if you go with that viewe of the story.

Beyond this, even bigger spoiler sorry-God is shown as a small boy. Yes, you did read that right, God is a small little boy this time. I think I can actually understand this, as a small child can be seen as innocent, loyal, sensitive. Also it is suggested by Jesus that we should be like children.

So the film continues on with Moses meet the boy in the wilderness every so often (sorry that does sound strange) while Ramesses opresses his slaves in the building and construction of pyramids and temples. Moses warned of the wrath of God, that the people should be freed, Ramesses defiantly disagrees and then we see the legendary plagues. This is where the film really gets truly epic and apocalyptic onscreen. The crocodiles rise up in the sea, blood fills the screen-this is a real sudden shock. The plagues pass very quickly, one after another, but each very intense and vividly depicted, graphic and tragic like really never seen in previous version of this tale in a movie.

Bale could very easily hade just ran off and gone full-til gonzo nutty with Moses, but somehow he keeps his acting restrain and this is probably due to Scott keeping all elements of the film tight and controlled well. The tale is edited and chopped up, which I can understand as a Hollywood film on the big screen does not need to have every little detail up there-we understand and know much of this story. Cinema is visual most of the time.

This all of course leads right up to the final cross and parting of the Red Sea. Like his relation to God, this part of the tale is shown different to how it has been seen many times before. It does actually feel a slight let down, but it does makes sense really. It all seems to come down to a quiet humble ending, and the last scenes and image of Moses is a contemplative and thoughtful one.

I was glad that I did eventually see this film, and on the big screen. It did make my faith shine brighter for a while, it did make me think about my relationship with God in a way that I may not have for a while. Go and see this film, it is a good challenging movie. A movie about identity, faith, conscience, hope.

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