Flip open your Bibles to Numbers 12:3 to find the first inaccuracy in Ridley Scott's Exodus: Gods and Kings. "Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth," sayeth the Good Book of our hero, played by Christian Bale, an actor of hauteur even when saddled with a combover and potbelly. Bale's Moses is a sword-slashing general who strides around ancient Egypt like he owns the place, which, as the adopted son of the Pharaoh, he does, at first. This guy is fated to lead a slave uprising? The only way Bale's Moses could be the humblest man alive is if the rest of the planet were killed.
The pleasures in Exodus are tactile: the heavy turquoise bridles worn by the villainous Ramses II (Joel Edgerton), the matching blue-and-white headdresses of his soldiers as they dominate the Hebrew slave quarters like cotton stormtroopers, the zebra and tiger skins he uses as carpet, and the unearthly pink crab he munches on for dinner. We can hear the luxury: Even in chaotic battle scenes, you can discern every individual clink of the scaly gold armor.
But Scott, either from fear or distraction, has no take on what this story might mean. A budget this big ensures he's gotta sell tickets to Bible-thumpers and spectacle-loving heathens alike. Yet he can't decide if making rivers run with blood is heroic or horrific -- you sense he'd rather make Gladiator II: Attack of the Frogs. Thanks to a distracting father versus son versus favored adopted son plotline, he essentially has.
Director: Ridley Scott
Writer: Bill Collage
Cast: Christian Bale, Aaron Paul, Ben Kingsley, Joel Edgerton, Sigourney Weaver, John Turturro and Indira Varma