Ridley Scott has been getting a lot of stick lately for his ethnically incorrect casting of Exodus: Gods and Kings. But that's not the movie's real problem, writes Kurt Loder.
The story is so familiar that cynics might wonder why a pressing need was felt to retell it. It's set in 1300 BC, in the Egyptian capital of Memphis, and recounts the life of Moses (Christian Bale), a Hebrew foundling unwittingly adopted as a baby by the Pharaoh Seti (John Turturro), who raises him alongside his biological son, Ramses (Joel Edgerton).
The actors are famously talented, and they engage with their characters as best they can. But their performance styles are at odds throughout, and the story's overtones of Sunday-school pageantry are hard to dispel (at some points, everyone seems to be playing dress-up).