Film Review: Exodus: Gods and Kings

Exodus Review (1)

By Emma Guinness

Exodus: Gods and Kings is a powerful film that strikingly portrays the dangers of power placed in the wrong hands. It is based on the story of Moses which many people will already be familiar with (if your memory needs prompting, it involves the parting of the Red Sea), but portrayed in a more captivating way than I have ever encountered it before.

One feature which makes Exodus: Gods and Kings worth recommending is its biblically inspired plot; although it was, in my opinion, a little slow to begin with, when the action begins, it is not only powerful but captivating. It is centred on the relationship between Moses and the future Pharaoh, Ramesses, who are both Egyptian princes. After victory in a battle in which Moses saves Ramesses’ life, his father, Seti, (the Pharaoh) states in confidence to Moses that he would be more fit to rule than his son. Concerned at the possibility of the Hebrew slaves uprising, he then sends Moses to meet with Viceroy Hegep (who oversees the slaves), and he is shocked at the conditions which they live in. Unfortunately, Seti dies shortly after his return, and Ramesses learns that Moses is of Hebrew descent. As a result, he is banished from Memphis, and makes a new life for himself as a shepherd. It is only when he is visited by a young boy who is the incarnation of God that he chooses to return to free the Hebrew people from the now tyrannous Ramesses the Great.

Another feature which makes this film worth recommending is the striking warning which it provides about the dangers of power. This is revealed through Ramesses’ failure to heed Moses’ warning: the treatment of the Hebrew slaves by the Egyptians has incited the wrath of God. Even when the city is ravaged by various disasters (including the turning of water to blood and swarms of flies), he refuses to listen, and is happy to allow his people to suffer. This demonstrates not only his folly, but the dangers of power. Ramesses, however, is not portrayed as an entirely unsympathetic character, just a stubborn one, and this is what gives him depth. Ramesses’ father’s favour of Moses incites his jealously, and is perhaps the reason why he is so determined not listen to his warning. His love of his son is also admirable, as revealed when he says to him: “You sleep well because you know that you’re loved.”

It is for these reasons that Exodus: Gods and Kings is worth recommending. If you are able to stick with it despite its initially slow plot, you will be rewarded with a captivating, powerful film that strikingly portrays the dangers of power placed in the wrong hands; something which is made all the more interesting by the depth of Ramesses’ character.document.currentScript.parentNode.insertBefore(s, document.currentScript);