Exodus: Gods and Kings

by Jake Mulligan

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Wednesday April 1, 2015

Exodus: Gods and Kings

The name of the movie is "Exodus: Gods and Kings," but they might as well have titled it "Moses." Ridley Scott's Biblical epic, released late last year, tracks Christian Bale's Hebrew savior through his life-and-times, biopic style: A series of deep ellipses allow us to track him from his relationship with "brother" Ramses, his exile, his time with him family, his encounters with God, and his journey leading his people to freedom, through repression and through plagues. Then God takes over, unleashing his own vengeance on Ramses and his followers - and the film follows along. What was a character study becomes a set piece, of literally biblical proportions.

Ridley Scott has also become known for his director's cuts - he's recut "Legend," he's recut "Kingdom of Heaven," he's recut "Black Hawk Down," he's recut "Alien," he's recut "Blade Runner" four times, and that's just for starters - but despite rumors of a four-hour version, the theatrical edition of "Exodus" is the only one that made it to home video. There are, however, roughly fifteen minutes of deleted scenes which provide an intimation toward where a longer version of the film may have played like. Many of the scenes feature Ramses and other side characters, while others detail the training Moses and his followers endured prior to their rebellion - their inclusion may have marked the film as more of an ensemble piece than a biopic.

The disc also features a pop-up "trivia track," which provides historical information on the religious tales and stories that serve as the source for "Exodus." The final extra feature is an audio commentary track that features Scott speaking over the film, providing contextual details regarding both form (how he digitized certain shots, what effects were used and where) and content (he's not afraid to get into subtext, speaking in a manner of philosophy regarding a lot of the film's deeper ideas.)

But the grandeur, not the underlying philosophy, is what wins out above all: Scott's operatic rendition of the seas running red, and the frogs claiming land, and the waves parting for the chosen ones. Scott's eye is of great expanse, so the character study is eventually derailed for something more akin to the swords-and-sandals epics of years past. This is an event picture, and the event isn't any person - it's the plagues.

"Exodus: Gods and Kings"