Film review: 'Exodus: Gods and Kings'

November 29, 2014 3:25 PM

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Film review: 'Exodus: Gods and Kings'

"It's not even that good a story," Moses grumbles early on in Ridley Scott's "Exodus: Gods and Kings," shortly after learning of the mysterious events that transformed a lowly Hebrew slave into a full-blown prince of Egypt. It's a sly, knowing wink from a filmmaker who clearly has a terrific tale on his hands, yet faces a bit of a challenge in selling it to a more cynical, less easily razzle-dazzled audience than those that greeted the biblical epics of yesteryear. What's remarkable about Scott's genuinely imposing Old Testament psychodrama is the degree to which he succeeds in conjuring a mighty and momentous spectacle -- one that, for sheer astonishment, rivals any of the lavish visions of ancient times the director has given us -- while turning his own skepticism into a potent source of moral and dramatic conflict.

If this estimable account of how God delivered His people out of Egypt feels like a movie for a decidedly secular age, its searching, non-doctrinaire approach arguably gets closer to penetrating the mystery of faith than a more fawning approach might have managed. Like "Noah," the year's other nonco...

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