Friday, December 19, 2014

Exodus: Gods and Kings

I haven't yet seen Exodus: Gods and Kings. I may not ever. I have read one favorable review and another that seemed determined not to be negative but the others have almost uniformly disparaged the film whatever the perspective of the reviewer. John Podhoretz didn't like it either. From his review:
Raise your hand if you want to see Moses portrayed as an insurgent lunatic terrorist with a bad conscience, the pharaoh who sought the murder of all first-born Hebrew slaves as a nice and reasonable fellow, and God as a foul-tempered 11-year-old boy with an English accent.

All right, I see a few hands raised.... So let me ask you this: How many of you want to see how Hollywood has taken the story of the Hebrew departure from ancient Egypt—by far the most dramatic tale in the world’s most enduring book—and turned it into a joyless, dull, turgid bore? ....

For one thing, Exodus: Gods and Kings is jaw-droppingly offensive in the way it bastardizes its source material. The God of Sh’mot, the second book of the Torah, manifests Himself in many ways—as the burning bush, as a cloud that follows the Hebrews on their journey, as rain and fire, even as a trumpet blast. But he most certainly does not manifest as a human being, since the incorporeality of the divine is a central feature of Jewish theology, the third of Maimonides’ 13 principles of faith. I know Jews make up only 2 percent of the U.S. population and are therefore not collectively a box-office consideration—but if you’re going to make a movie out of their holy book, shouldn’t you, I don’t know, be careful not to throw the holy book into the garbage can?

Oh, and, by the way, it’s possible that the unpleasant kid-God of Exodus: Gods and Kings doesn’t even exist. Moses encounters the boy only after he’s been buried in mud up to his neck, has had his leg broken, and is delirious. Repeatedly, in the course of the film, Moses’ brother Aaron watches in horror as he goes to talk to this boy but appears, at a distance, to be talking to himself—which is another complete betrayal of the Torah’s account, since, like Moses, Aaron actually talks directly to God. Thus, we are given reason to question whether the God of Exodus: Gods and Kings is only a psychotic delusion. ....
Exodus, Stage Left | The Weekly Standard