I honestly didn't have high hopes for Exodus. I was disappointed with Noah, the other biblical Hollywood blockbuster that came out earlier this year, and I didn't see anything in the trailer that made me think this film would be anything different. It looked just like another beautiful mess. Which is why I was so happy to see Exodus doing more than just showing up and looking pretty.
One interesting aspect of the film is that Exodus isn't afraid of offending it's audience, at least not the way that Noah was. Noah took the story of the Jewish Patriarch (also a Christian Patriarch and an Islamic Patriarch) and paints it with so many colors that it's at times, unrecognizable as the story we've all come to know. This makes it easy to ignore, to think of it as "just a movie." Not that that was the intention, Darren Aronofsky has argued that he was following the story as closely as he could, but it being a two page story with no dialogue, there was a lot of room for interpretation. Exodus on the other hand sticks closer to the text. The God of Exodus isn't the rosy caregiver seen in later parts of the Christian bible, this is the Old Testament God, the God of the Torah. He's here to prove the Egyptians are just men, and to show them who truly has the power. The characters provide a dialogue for this in the film, questioning God's actions with lines like these: "What kind of God would do this?" in reference to all the Egyptian first born sons dying in their sleep. Moses responds with, "No Hebrew children died last night." Leaving the audience to take away what they will.
Overall, the film was an enjoyable biblical adaptation that was the closest thing to telling the story straight up the middle (meaning the film is not completely historical and not completely biblical) that I've ever seen, and it did that while still being an entertaining film. That's a huge win for Hollywood, and it's a win for movie goers. It's definitely worth the ticket price. Check it out if you're feeling a little cabin fever setting in this weekend.