Exodus: Gods, Kings and Conversation Starters


Exodus: Gods and Kings is an attempt to reinvigorate the biblical films that were once Hollywood gold. Telling the story of Moses and the Hebrew Exodus, Ridley Scott takes things to an epic scale with his interpretation of the well known tale.

The key thing though is that this is his INTERPRETATION. As per usual when a biblical film surfaces so do the standard Christian criticisms ‘it doesn’t stick to the text’, ‘God depicted as a child?’, ‘it is full of bad theology’, ‘the plagues didn’t happen that way’ etc.

This troubles me. The desire among some to knock down rather than build up is a worrying trait that is such a turn off to engaging with Christianity.

This film is flawed, it is not perfect. For one thing it is not clear throughout the film which side we are supposed to be on. Should we be routing for the emancipation of the Hebrews or should we empathise with the Egyptians particularly as they face plague after plague sent by God to free his people?

A flawed film however does not mean it is without merit. Films like this and the recent Noah film should should be great opportunities for conversations about our faith. Rather than focusing on the negatives the positive opportunities should be embraced.

The film asks difficult questions around God and the tendency towards violence (particularly in the Old Testament) and how we square that with our faith in 2015.The depiction of God as a child is somewhat interesting in this regard as it almost depicts God as the petulant child non wavering its desire to achieve the end result regardless of the consequences. There is a difficult conversation to be had in this regarding the difference between the Old and New Testament and what each teaches about faith. Finding those willing to have this conversation is almost as challenging as the thought itself!

For those who argue that it doesn’t stick to the text my argument is why would it? Any adapted screen play in Hollywood makes changes tr cuts to the text from which it it is taken but we are seem unable to apply this thinking to biblical films for some reason. The thinking being we should stick faithfully to the text as it it is deemed by some infallible. I don’t buy into this argument at all as the text taken word for word on screen may not be the most engaging for a viewer and dare I even suggest which translation we use???!!

Exodus: Gods and Kings is a decent watch engaging in places and epic in scenic scale. It is flawed, it is not perfect, that however does not mean we should not talk about it.


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