Ridley Scott’s version of the Exodus story focuses on the tenuous relationship/rivalry between Moses (Christian Bale) and Ramses (Joel Edgerton). Raised as brothers and princes of Egypt in the palace of Pharaoh senior (John Turturro), the two spend most of the movie opposing each other in a (quite literally) cutthroat manner.
The relationship reminded me a bit of the dynamic between Christian filmgoers and “secular” Hollywood films, like Exodus, which attempt to adapt the Bible. The Christian filmgoers are a bit like Ramses: hardhearted, skeptical and maybe a bit jealous, looking for every reason to punish the secular outsider who has the nerve to tell a story that isn’t theirs. I’m not saying Ridley Scott is Moses, mind you; just that Christian audiences can sometimes act like Ramses: stubborn, grumpy, vengeful, closed-minded and unwilling to listen to someone they’ve already decided is an enemy.
For Christian audiences, one approach to Exodus: Gods and Kings would be to distrust and dismiss it at the outset, looking only for what it gets wrong, embellishes, excludes, or underemphasizes. This approach would call foul on all sorts of things: Moses wielding a sword but not a staff; Moses being chatty but Aaron having almost no lines; Moses killing lots of people and fighting in the Egyptian army; no “staff-to-snake” scene; no repeated utterances of “let my people go”; no “baby Moses in the Nile” scene; and every other deviation the film takes from the narrative in Exodus 1-14.
This approach might balk at the problematic casting of white actors as Egyptians, non-white actors as slaves/servants, and the inexplicable preponderance of British accents. ...1