Ridley Scott and Christian Bale wrestle with Biblical truth in new blockbuster
Director Ridley Scott's latest 'swords and sandals' movie Exodus: Gods and Kings is about the "emotional journey" of Moses as he opposes his step-brother Ramses to free the Jewish slaves from Egyptian rule.
The movie had already been accused of racism for its 'white-washing' of key Egyptian characters when Christian Bale, who stars as Moses, stirred more controversy.
Months ahead of the movie's December 12 release, Bale disparaged Moses' mental health.
"I think the man was likely schizophrenic and was one of the most barbaric individuals that I ever read about in my life," the actor and admitted atheist told the LA press in September, according to ChristianityToday.com. "He's a very troubled and tumultuous man who fought greatly against God, against his calling."
In other interviews Bale appeared to answer his own objections about the Bible's honest portrayal of Moses, as it does not hide Moses' sins nor assign him superhuman capabilities in his quest to obey God's wise commands.
"[Moses] is a fascinating guy, with all of the vulnerabilities and extraordinary capacities that come with being very human – almost too human, and quite harsh in his emotions," Bale revealed in January to Details.com.
He also admitted that he had not read the entire Torah, the five books of Moses in the Bible, until he was preparing for the role.
"If you read it all the way through, it's harsh...And violence in the extreme. [Moses] was not a man of any half measures whatsoever," Bale told HitFix.
Bale also suggested in the September press conference that he felt affronted by the quick and severe judgment by God and His servant Moses on the sins of the Israelites and other nations.
He put this down to a "mercurial" or inconsistent nature, rather than an all-knowing Creator demonstrating His mercy and His justice.
"The biggest surprise was the nature of God. He was equally very mercurial," Bale said.
Reports indicate that director Ridley Scott has embraced natural explanations for the ten plagues, not to diminish the miraculous timing of them, but to explain how they occurred.
"I'm an atheist, which is actually good, because I've got to convince myself the story works," Scott told the NY Times about the "ambitious" plot journey.
Scott remembers being unconvinced by The Ten Commandments version as a child, so he proposes that the parting of the Red Sea is the sudden recession of water and ensuing tsunami that accompanies an underwater earthquake.
Screening in 2D and 3D, Exodus: Gods and Kings could recoup its $140 million budget, according to boxofficemojo.com.