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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

Exodus: Gods and Kings movie review: whites only

Exodus Gods and Kings red light

Simultaneously the dullest and the most insulting version of itself it could possibly be. If only it had managed to be campy, that’d be something…
I’m “biast” (pro): have been a fan of Ridley Scott in the past…

I’m “biast” (con): …but not so much lately

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

I think I’ve finally figured out what Exodus: Gods and Kings is all about. I don’t mean how it’s a painfully boring, too-literal adaptation of a Biblical fantasy that’s been told plenty often before, and was not calling out to be told again. I mean how it’s possible that Ridley Scott could have made such a stodgy flick, and one that’s utterly tone-deaf to modern sensibilities. Cuz Scott used to be ahead of the curve, not decades behind it: This is the guy who made the groundbreaking Alien and Blade Runner back to back, fer pity’s sake, and then — 15 years ago! — reinvented the sword-and-sandal epic with the spectacular and very moving Gladiator.

Too bad the genre didn’t stay reinvented, but that’s not Scott’s fault. Until now. Why did Scott rewind to the 1950s with his absurd Hollywood-clichéd all-white cast and apparent insistence that his Exodus look and feel like something that wouldn’t upset delicate conservative sensibilities? Darren Aronofsky showed us how to make a Biblical epic fresh for the 21st century with his wonderfully bonkers Noah, in which fallen-angel rock monsters wander a desolate postapocalyptic landscape that serves as a metaphor for anthropogenic environmental degradation. Ridley Scott has a vengeful little-boy Yahweh pushing for war and engaging in murder and mayhem, and it has Jon Turturro (God’s Pocket, Fading Gigolo) as an Egyptian pharaoh.

I say this again: Jon Turturro as an Egyptian pharaoh. You simply can’t do this anymore. Even grading on Hollywood’s horrendous track record in representing anyone not white, it’s like Scott hung a No Coloreds sign on the movie’s front window. (Unless they’re playing mute domestics. The only actors with a darker than medium beige skintone who appear here play slaves and servants, and barely say a word.) And Scott’s excuse — about how he simply couldn’t get funding for his film unless it starred the likes of Christian Bale, so what else could he do but cast as he did — is clearly complete bullshit. Scott may be right in that he needed a couple of big names to get the film made, but even if we pretend that there are no movie stars in the world who aren’t white, very few of Scott’s appallingly all-white cast qualifies as a major Movie Star, or even a minor one. Joel Edgerton (The Great Gatsby, Zero Dark Thirty), who plays Ramses, adopted brother to Bale’s (American Hustle, Out of the Furnace ) Moses, is hardly a household name. Aaron Paul (Need for Speed, A Long Way Down) and Ben Mendelsohn (Black Sea, Starred Up) and Ewen Bremner (Get Santa, Snowpiercer), in other roles, are barely beyond the “Oh, hey, it’s that guy” stages of their careers. (Ben Kingsley [The Boxtrolls, Ender’s Game], here portraying a Jewish leader, is at least half Indian, and slightly better able to pass for Middle Eastern. And he’s a Name!) What they are is white. And with each new white face attached to a non-movie-star name that shows up onscreen, it becomes increasingly apparent that their whiteness is what mattered to their casting, not their fame.

(Please note that I am not putting down any of these actors. They’re all really cool and I’ve enjoyed their other work. It’s just that they totally don’t belong in this movie.)

Then there’s this, too: If you cannot make a reasonably plausible film set in a supposedly realistic ancient Egypt with a cast that looks believable, maybe don’t make the movie at all. (Or go the Aronofsky route and make it completely, unambiguously fantastical, not faux historical.)

So we’re back to why Exodus made at all? I figure there’s gotta be a Springtime for Hitler scenario happening. Maybe 20th Century Fox needed some sort of tax writeoff and figured a huge bomb was the way to go? (Alas for Fox, the film is actually doing okay globally, so it may not be quite as a big a writeoff as it deserves to be.) I’m not sure how else to explain, beside deliberately deployed incompetence and a conscious decision to be terrible, the very bad 3D CGI throughout the film, or why even should-be cool things like man-eating crocodiles and rivers of blood fail to be ever minimally compelling onscreen. They’re not even accidentally fun in a so-bad-it’s-good way. How else to explain performances that veer from wooden to hammy from actors we know are capable of better? No one here believes a word of the histrionic crap they’re spouting, and no one here appears capable of a genuine emotion in connection to it.

If only it all managed to be campy, that’d be something. But no. Why, it’s almost as if Scott and Fox didn’t want to take the chance of an unintended hit, like Springtime for Hitler turned out to be, and did their damnedest to ensure that Exodus was simultaneously the dullest and the most insulting version of itself it could possibly be. In this, at least, they succeeded.

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Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014)
US/Can release: Dec 12 2014
UK/Ire release: Dec 26 2014

MPAA: rated PG-13 for violence including battle sequences and intense images
BBFC: rated 12A (moderate violence, threat, bloody moments)

viewed in 3D
viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics

official site | IMDb
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, please reconsider.

  • Bluejay

    But there’s a simple reason why the main characters in Exodus are all white: it’s because they’re all descended from the all-white characters in Aronofsky’s Noah. :-)

  • Hank Graham

    I would argue that this is every bit as bonkers as “Noah”–but in a bad way. (Jon Turturo as the pharoah! I’m still giggling.)

    And there was one considerable artistic achievement here: how on earth can you make the parting of the Red Sea boring?


    This article is so stupid ,the fact is Ramses the second was a caucasian man with blond reddish hair with hawkish narrow nose as you can see his preserved mummy in the Egyptian musiam in Cairo ,also the Egyptians were very aware of different races ,they showed Africans as blacks ,they showed Egyptian men with reddish skin because they worked outdoors where they were tanned by the sun .while they showed Egyptian women as pale yellow or white because they stayed indoors..That is true for most modern Egyptians…Please buy or rent an Egyptian movie to see that for yourself …

  • LA Julian

    You think maybe they didn’t lose enough on The Counsellor?

    Personally I think Scott is engaging in some mean-spirited pomo games at the expense of his fanbase, which he despises for not appreciating his post-Gladiator body of work uncritically, and for being a bunch of wimpy progressive types unlike the noble manly men of elden days who built the Empire, all austere and rejecting of pleasures and women’s whiles — so he cast another Batman as Moses in some sort of cryptic commentary on fandom’s regarding of superheroes as modern saints and holy figures, and went out of his way to offend and disappoint at every turn — just as he did in Counsellor, Prometheus, and Robin Hood previously.

    (We’ll see for certain, if The Martian is the blatant Interstellar knockoff it looks like he’s going to turn it into.)

  • Ah, but if you want to take the Bible literally, black people are all the descendants of Ham, right? :-)

  • So you’re saying Scott should have cast red men and yellow women here? Got it.

  • Rose

    Why did Scott change the true African Sphinx face?

  • He started losing it when he chose and cast Russell Crowe over Antonio Banderas as the Spaniard in Gladiator.

  • There might yet be something fresh to wring out of the Exodus tale. I’ll consider seeing it if they cast characters who look remotely Egyptian. I’ll strongly consider seeing it if Moses stutters.


    Please don’t go for the Afro centrist nonsense , you can watch many Egyptian movie on line .that will give better idea about what Egyptians look like ,you can also to my face book page M Eid

  • chris92

    He didn’t, the actual sphinx is in the movie. It’s even missing it’s nose which would be historically incorrect but considering this is a film that says enslaved jews built the pyramids (despite being built centuries later then the time the film is set) i wouldn’t look at it as a source of historical facts. Then again there is no historical evidence of the jews being in egypt, of moses existence or of him leading a massive exodus over sinai so i guess they can do what the hell they want.

  • chris92

    It’s funny that gladiator is mentioned in this review and yet is a film that’s never held up to historical scrutiny, gladiator after all is a movie in which a guy from new zealand re-writes history by killing a character based on a real life roman emperor in a Colosseum. Another thing i’d point out is russell crowe playing a spaniard is just as ridiculous as john turturro playing a phroah, we at least know what spaniards look like and if the role had gone to antonio banderas then it wouldn’t have seemed so stupid in my opinion, but replacing a guy with a heavy accent and a tan with a pale skinned gruff kiwi is perfectly fine and not racist at all i guess?

    I will just add though he wanted paul bettany for the lead role in kingdom of heaven but the studio wanted orlando bloom hence why we ended up with his bland performance so i don’t think mr scott has as much control as people might think. Also this movie was brought to him by peter chernin and he has said in interviews he took it on as a director for hire whilst he develops some of his own projects, apparently he likes to keep busy so who knows what went on behind closed doors.

  • chris92

    I’ve read the book and it’s nothing like interstellar, the only similarities is both movies star damon and chastain but the facts are drew goddard was originally going to direct and hired matt damon, when goddard left damon suggested ridley scott. If that’s the case it wouldn’t surprise me if he talked to chastain about the movie whilst they worked together.

    Also what is all this crap about the empire? the guys old but i doubt he believes in any of that rubbish just like the rest of the population in england don’t. Also the counsellor made back almost 3 times it’s budget, facts are an interesting and insightful thing and they’re right at our disposal.

  • LA Julian

    Per Box Office Mojo the Counsellor cost $25M to make and made less than $17M back in domestic, leaving them $8M in the hole. Factor in that a significant part of the take has to go for distribution and marketing costs — which aren’t part of the production budget — and that the studio doesn’t get 100% of ticket sales back because the theatres keep some, AND that it gets a much smaller percentage of foreign box office, and they’re lucky if they broke even with that $54M. Or did you think all that $71M was pure profit?

    As far as Interstellar goes, it is beyond weird to put Damon AND Chastain in yet another space movie NOT set in the same series, right after they both starred in Interstellar and Damon was a “surprise” cameo. Are you aware of the shenanigans Scott had his perennial surrogate Crowe pull as Universal’s star to hand control of the Nottingham script to him behind the scenes, after his own studio bid failed on it? And there is no guarantee that the final product will look anything like the original novel once he’s done having Brian Helgeland or Damon Lindelof or whoever he picks for his next script rewrite fall guy, any more than Robin Hood looks like Nottingham.

    And most people may not be nostalgic for the days of Empire, but Niall Ferguson still gets gigs, the BNP and UKIP still get votes and seats, and plenty of people still hedge and hem about how “Yes of course it was wrong BUT” and believe that India and Kenya were better off under colonial rule. Just spend time on internet forums and you’ll run into them.

    Prometheus makes the most sense if it’s read not as a science fiction movie but as a parable about the dangers of letting minorities and women and silly weak younger white men (we know they are silly and weak because they are gay or let women make the decisions for them or are only seeking pleasure or wealth) run the adventure/ship which is symbolic of the Ship of State that has become a Ship of Fools — and equal ire is given to the previous generation of white men who let them take the reins in the first place, as they’re contrasted with the noble Engineers — the white giants who once walked the Earth — who self-sacrificingly created human life as we know it in our universe…and symbolically stand in for the Grand Old Men who created the Raj, and knew better than to treat cobras — where, after all, do cobras come from? — as friends to be won over with kindness.

    No, it isn’t a nice interpretation at all — but it fits with his recasting of Robin Hood as a sort of bizarro 1939-1945 analogue in defiance of all the history of the House of Angevin & Plantagenet, with his rewriting the Exodus story as one in which the Egyptians come across as more sympathetic than their slaves — which everyone seems to think was a tonal mistake, a pure accident, but which fits with his general xenophobia and “apres moi, le deluge” evocation of the French Revolution here and with Counsellor’s high-tech guillotine.

    Frankly, I don’t think he gives a damn any more if anyone likes his pictures or not, and it will be VERY interesting to see if FOX let him keep on with it, after Exodus hasn’t even made Noah or Robin Hood box office and isn’t on track to come close. (The Robin Hood fiasco lost Universal so much cash and cred both that I wouldn’t look to see them ever back another Scott picture.)

    If they do — after all the FOX execs’ boasting about what a huge important picture this was and all the advertising they did to the 300 crowd turned out to be hot air — then I think MaryAnn’s Producers 2 theory will be inarguable.

  • I didn’t hold up *Gladiator* as an example of historical accuracy but as an example of an extremely well-told story. Which *Exodus* is not.

    And sorry, but Russell Crowe does look plausible as a Roman Spaniard. Much more so than Jon Turturro as an ancient Egyptian.

  • chris92

    I didn’t say you did what i said was “It’s funny that gladiator is mentioned in this review and yet is a film that’s never held up to historical scrutiny”, and that’s because it isn’t. Yet people have commented elsewhere that the exodus movie whitewashes history, the problems felt with many who are boycotting the film is they feel there heritage has been stolen in an act of white supremacy, there are others that just see the casting as utterly daft. All i’m doing is pointing out many of these films very rarely hold up to historical scrutiny and scott has past form in this regard. Considering this article is called Exodus: Gods and Kings movie review: whites only which suggests it isn’t just the pacing, acting or all round plot of the film that is appalling or stupid and that the casting itself is ridiculous i would say it is an important and interesting point to bring up that this isn’t the only film that does this, so do we give those other movies a pass? It could be argued that all of these films are half fiction half fantasy anyway so it doesn’t matter altogether that much but if a movie is well made does that exclude it from being racially insensitive or just plain dumb, if alexander for example was a brilliant film could we forgive the irish accents? Or to put it another way are we happy for an actor to play a different ethnicity to his own as long as he is close to it in appearance and yet we are unhappy with actors like christian bale applying bronzer? either way not a lot of minority actors will be getting lead roles, instead we will just give them to the new zealand guy who looks like he could pass as a spaniard rather then an actual spaniard, i should imagine russel crowes accent was deemed more appropriate or perhaps understandable for a western audience and that’s why he got the role though. Personally I can’t wait for george clooney’s performance as julius cesar and will be interested as to whether or not he actually uses an accent or just sounds like george clooney, ben hur should be fun to as well as gods of eygpt which contains half the cast of game of thrones.

    In my opinion i don’t see that many differences with exodus and gladiator and i think that’s what scott has tried to go for here, it’s almost as if he’s trying to recreate old glory’s, they are both after all reboots of old fashioned epics that are both incredibly dull. And sorry but to me russell crowe doesn’t look spanish in the slightest even if you can buy it, you obviously have your opinion and i expect you to understand that just as you have problems with the casting of exodus there are some of us that have problems with other movies like braveheart and mel gibson playing a 7 foot scottish warrior with a bad scottish accent or derek jacobi’s perfect english one in gladiator, but taste is obviously subjective and we all take away different thing’s from the movies we see.

    I also hope that after the points raised in this review that you write an article (if you haven’t already done so) on the whitewashing of the oscars next, it’s funny how this movie didn’t get nominated for any awards when you think about it because it would have fitted in so well. The bottom line for me is those who want more diversity in there movies should open there eye’s to other cultures and perhaps embrace bollywood cinema and asian cinema but considering hollywood remakes any successful movie that comes with subtitles i can’t see that happening any time soon.

    I will add there is an article i read recently about the casting of a middle eastern actor in scotts new tv show killing jesus and how this has caused uproar in the conservative community, i guess it’s a case of you appease one side and annoy the other, it’s all about being on the right and wrong side of history i guess, personally i just look at scott as a 77 year old man who made some movies that bucked the trend (as you’ve said in your review) like thelma and louise but also questionable movies like black hawk down. I don’t know how much longer he’ll be around for but the torch i guess has already been passed to the next generation. Maybe he makes a good case for ageism and a man being out of touch due to the time and culture he was brought up in and maybe he has outdated views or maybe that’s reaching, whatever it is in my opinion what made scott good to begin with is even if a movie he made wasn’t that great it was still different, today he seems to have become boring and most of the films he puts out are often generic cookie cutter tentpole films that offer no new originality, the guy has been making films for 30 years so i’ll give him a pass and just remember the 3 or 4 movies he’s made that i did like while avoiding his newer output in the future, thank you for taking the time to reply to me and to anybody else who takes the time to read this who does enjoy the movie i’d just say this is just my opinion and different strokes for different folks.

  • chris92

    The way box office profit works is if a movie makes twice it’s budget (in this case 50 million) it has broken even that’s because the cinema chains take roughly half of the profits from the box office, 75 million is 3 times. The movie made 71 million which is 4 million dollars off, factor in the fact that you have tv and dvd sales as well as online streaming and the movie would have turned a small profit for a small budgeted movie, the film was not a financial failure and at it’s 25 million dollar cost not a risky film to make. I doubt it was ever thought that it would make 100 million dollars at the box office due to the films subject matter being so dark and the movie intentionally choosing to disregard normal narrative conventions. I didn’t like the film but i see it as being no different from any other niche art house movie. I’d also mention the fact that david lynch’s films have grossed just under 100 million dollars in his career combined and have all had budgets in the same realm as the counselor and yet he’s still making movies as divisive as they can be.

    As for nutters in the BNP they’re no different from the kind of headcases you find in any fringe group, they’re no different from islamic extremists in my opinion or anybody else that indoctrinates people through hate and division and should be ignored. But the kind of bullsh*t you hear from those who bring up about how there are those who still believe in empire and how unspeakably racist england is is no different from fox news reporting that france and the UK are practically islamic states now, it’s total horsesh*t. Bottom line is a majority of muslims are nice people and so are a majority of english people, don’t let a few bad apples spoil the bunch or cause you to make generalizations about people you don’t know and have never met, if scott joins ukip and starts unrolling policies that are seen on the far right of things that’s when we can say you know what mate there’s something not quite right with the way your brain functions.

    I’d also say most people online are either smart ar**s who think they know everything with to much time on there hands, mentally ill people who obsessively troll forums unknowingly spouting complete bullsh*t, trainspotting nerd types and people with heavy porn addictions and of course those on the extreme right and the extreme left, anyone normal is normally on facebook trying to get likes or hook up with other people whilst talking about how pi**ed they got on the weekend, majority rules i guess or we could just all except one another’s differences and not try to impose our ideologies onto each other, maybe the world would be a better place then.

    As for the martian the script was written by drew goddard and as of the moment no writers have come onto the project to re-write it, scott took the directing seat after goddard vacated it and the shoot pretty much happened straight away. In the case of robin hood there are conflicting stories, one says crowe wanted the story changed the other says scott did. Bottom line if you don’t like the guys movies don’t watch them.

    With prometheus i didn’t see any of the thing’s you mentioned in there but i should imagine our trails of thought are widely different from each others, i just see a very poorly written movie without a third act, cheers for the reply though.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    There’s no hard and fast rule, and studio PR can make almost any movie look like a success or a failure, depending on what the studio needs the film to be, but…
    The general rules of thumb, in the modern international film market, appear to be that a movie breaks even if:
    it doubles it’s production budget domestically; or,
    it triples it’s production budget worldwide.
    By that reckoning, The Counselor probably lost money, but not much.
    However, those rules don’t scale linearly with production budget. So in the final tally, Fox might consider The Counselor as a break-even project, or even a modest success.
    The biggest tick against The Counselor wasn’t that $16M domestic take. It was the $16M domestic take on a 3000 theater opening.

    Also, you may be giving the writing on Prometheus too much credit. But I think even the Space Jesus interpretations give too much credit to what is probably just a script that went through one (or tow or ten) too many rewrites.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I’m no physical anthropologist, but my understanding is that ancient Egyptians didn’t much resemble modern Egyptians, or any other modern racial groupings. That the ancient Northeastern African physical characteristics have long ago been blended with European, Arab, Persian, Levant, and even South Asian influences.

  • RogerBW

    I smell drunken bet. “I say I can make a movie so bad that every critic who can spell ‘movie’ despises it… and it’ll still make money!”

  • aulico

    Do we have Roman/Italian actors playing leads in the ancient Rome dramas such as HBO/BBC’s critically acclaimed series”Rome” -I think not!? Or for that matter in any of the ancient Greek dramas? No,we have a predominance of UK and US actors also often heavily made-up, but reviewers don’t seem to find this insulting,and neither do I. Where will it all end -we’ll be casting only Italian actors in Shakespeare’s Roman dramas next!!

  • Kenny Lemon Taylor

    And possibly Japheth too, as per Indo-Europeans.

  • LaSargenta

    Actually, I *do* complain about that. But, no one listens to me and I’m not a reviewer…JAFE.

    I’m the only person I know who actually appreciated Sebastiane … it was in Latin! With subtitles!

  • chris92

    He’s been doing that his whole career, blade runner was despised by critics when it was first released, alien got mainly positive but mixed reviews, the duellists was accused of being all style and no substance, kingdom of heaven was accused of being pro osama bin laden before it was even released, then twenty years later the critics all embrace these films because the movies themselves develop cult followings and the critics have to give way to public opinion. It’s all very well for instance for MaryAnn to say that ridley scott was a trend setter who made two visionary movies but the fact is only alien out of his first 4 films actually made a profit and if blade runner had of been a success maybe he wouldn’t have spent his entire career looking to make a hit or something both critics and the audience would like (and i know the guy say’s he makes movies for himself and doesn’t read his critics but there other interviews out there that contradict this), i would have been interested to see what he would have done anyway, instead we have filmmakers like nolan and his already boring dead wives/women in refrigerators troupe used again and again in his exposition filled overstuffed blockbusters.


    The oldest mummy in Egypt that of a man named ginger who lived in Egypt 5300 years ago ,his mummy currently in the British musium in London ,it show his cacasian face and his red hair still attached .also just look at the thousands of ancient Egyptian paintings and statues ,ancient Egyptians near always showed their images as cacasian people with fair or reddish skin ,some showed themselves with red or blonde hair….please look a t the painting of queen Nefertari ,the wife of Ramses the great.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    You are aware that, due to the volume of contradictory physical and cultural evidence, this is an issue under current, open, scientific debate?

  • Danielm80

    That won’t stop Johnny Depp from playing an Egyptian leader.

  • Ethnic Italians are Caucasian, and there are Roman genes spread all over the continent. So there’s nothing in the least bit weird about actors with ethnic European backgrounds playing ancient Romans.

  • the critics have to give way to public opinion

    No, we don’t.

    If you’re suggesting that *Exodus* is going to develop a cult following and be praised by critics in 20 years, can you back that up with anything from the film that might be seen as worthwhile?


    The fact is the ancient Egyptians left us so much of art , paintings ,statues ,and literature ,even poems expressing their daily life and their physical appearance…..Google search Ancient Egyptian love poems …they are real nice and often they refer to their lovers as white skin

  • David

    Who exactly is this movie for? Religious people aren’t interested in a secularized version and non-religious people probably wouldn’t care. There have already been great versions of the Exodus story in films like Prince of Egypt and Ten Commandments.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I dunno, I don’t think it’s Turturro’s looks so much as his Brooklyn accent that would throw me off. But, hey, it worked for Harvey Keitel… for certain values of “worked”.

  • Bluejay

    But Logan Lerman played Ham, no? Well, there you go. I’m going by the film, not the book. :-)

    Also, that idea isn’t actually in the Bible.


  • aulico

    Article incorrect about leads being all white. Golshifteh Farahani playing the Pharoah’s wife,Hiam Abbass playing Pithia(both middle eastern and leading players) and a host of other international actors not,I might add just playing slaves and menials! Ancient Greek or Roman film dramas are not cast with Greek or Italian actors e.g. HBO/BBC’s critically acclaimed “Rome” series,had a predominance of “white” UK actors and the film “Alexander” likewise. No fuss was made about these and countless other classical films! Where will it all end,perhaps casting all historically based Shakespeare film adaptations e.g. Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar,Antony and Cleopatra and many others,with only Italian actors – I think not!! Therefore the criticism of “Exodus” casting ridiculous and not warranted!

  • aulico

    Article incorrect about leads being all white. Golshifteh Farahani playing the Pharoah’s wife,Hiam Abbass playing Pithia(both middle eastern and leading players) and a host of other international actors not,I might add just playing slaves and menials! Ancient Greek or Roman film dramas are not cast with Greek or Italian actors e.g. HBO/BBC’s critically acclaimed “Rome” series,had a predominance of “white” UK actors and the film “Alexander” likewise. No fuss was made about these and countless other classical films! Where will it all end,perhaps casting all historically based Shakespeare film adaptations e.g. Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar,Antony and Cleopatra and many others,with only Italian actors – I think not!! Therefore the criticism of “Exodus” casting ridiculous and not warranted!

  • aulico

    But that’s the point-they are not solely actors with ethnic backgrounds playing these Roman/Greek parts-there are many actors with startling anglo-saxon looks ,and probably backgrounds. I am of Italian/Greek origin and I’m sorry,but I and my fellow countryfolk celebrate the fact of our european ethnic differences-Romans in fact have a remarkably pure bloodline-look at Roman faces today and you will see mirror images of ancient Roman portraits-and these faces are not reflected in the anglo-saxon casting of certain actors. But as in all good drama it is the interpretation of the actor that matters,not the ethnic type. John Turturro(who has been much criticised,unjustly I feel, for his casting) is of Italian/Sicilian descent and has in fact the classic almond shaped middle-eastern eyes,perhaps his line came from North Africa/M.East, somewhere in the dim,distant past! Critics and the like of this film are really splitting hairs on this race issue,as I have commented before there is a truly international cast in the film and some of the “ethnic” players are playing lead roles in the Egyptian household,and have not been solely cast as slaves and thieves.So actually there could,if one wished be a strong case against anglo-saxon playing Italian/Levant,but there isn’t and there shouldn’t be,otherwise we might not have had the wonderful Derek Jacobi playing Claudius (a pure Roman Emperor )or Anthony Hopkins playing Ptolemy.

  • aulico

    Beg to differ-John Turturro is of Italian/Sicilian descent and he has the classic almond -shaped dark eyes that are very prevalent in the Levant and N.Africa.

  • Rose

    I don’t listen or read white world history as written by your authors. Everyone in Africa knows the Ancient Egyptian and Sudanese were black. They laugh at white folksfor iinserting themselves where they do not belong.


    That is total garbage ,the name of the country Sudan means the land of the blacks ,you must be a victim of Afro centrists garbage and in terrible denial of your senses or your eye sight not to see the Ancient Egyptians as caucasian people.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Well, I’m no cultural anthropologist, either. I only know what I’m looking up right now, and what I’m seeing is a lot of debate, but if there’s any consensus, it’s that ancient Egyptians were North African – no black, not white, not Arab or Persian or Indian – and that there are very few (and perhaps no) modern examples of people who closely resembled them.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I like ham.

  • Rose

    Ramses iii dna test is subsaharan African. He was the only Pharaoh who’s dna was released. Where are the braids, twists, dreads, and afros that appeared in the paintings found in Ancient Egyptian tombs in European people’s, culture…that’s right…they dont wear them. Lol

  • Rose

    Can u really look at that Sphinx and see a Caucasian face. If u do…u r crazy. Please read wiki and see want Ancient and modern historians said about it. Kola Boof is Egyptian..looks black to me.

  • I see faces in England and Ireland today that look like those on Roman statues. Some of them are even blond.

  • The characters you name are by no stretch of the imagination “leads.”

  • aulico

    And I see faces in Greece and Italy,that look Egyptian,in fact when I’ve visited Cairo I have been take for an Egyptian,and my parents are Greek and Italian,which is why it makes this whole Exodus race casting a non-starter,in fact by your comment above you’ve just validated my argument.

  • No, I haven’t. Whatever faces we see anywhere, the fact remains that the main cast playing the leads in this movie look ridiculous.

  • aulico

    They are indeed by every stretch of the imagination leading players and renowned actors in world cinema,and I think the actors concerned would be insulted not to be considered so.They have larger roles than Aaron Paul and Sigourney Weaver! I don’t know how up you are on your world cinema,but Hiam Abbass,Golshifteh Farahani,Kevyork Malikan,Ghassan Massoud,are all huge draws on the continent,in fact I wanted to see the film as soon as I heard that Hiam Abbas was in it as I’m a huge fan of her work. Not forgetting Dar Salim,playing Commander Kyhan,another terrific actor extremely well cast. Another aspect that I find appalling is that general criticism has been levelled at the casting,with words to the effect that “no ethnic actors are playing Egyptians” and as stated above,that’s simply not true.
    Ben Mendelsohn(agreed not an “ethnic” actor) has been generally lauded for his performance, and I also think he is wonderful in the film – now if he does not add a touch of camp (which I believe you said was lacking)to the proceedings,then I don’t know what does. If you would care to embellish a little on how you find the film an”insulting version of itself”? I find it to be a wonderfully executed,almost old fashioned(in the best possible way)movie,which is very careful not to come down on one side or another of the argument,and therefore does have something valid to offer a modern audience,on an age old story. Let me finish by saying that the film is going down very well with critics and public alike, on the european continent, in fact I believe it has broken box office records already in Italy,and Italians certainly know their cinema. Horses for courses……

  • bronxbee

    could you provide a citation?

  • bronxbee

    i had a friend whose last name was Scarecino — he was from sicily. he said his last name came from “saracen” north african settlers/conquerers of sicily and the area.

  • bronxbee

    unless you think jews are “ethnic”..

  • Tonio Kruger

    I’m pretty sure that the ancient Egyptians did not make any movies back in Ramses’ time.

    But it would be nice to see proof that I’m wrong.

  • Tonio Kruger

    Well, I doubt he’ll be playing Anwar Sadat for obvious reasons but still… you may have a point there.

  • Tonio Kruger

    It says something about the trickiness of ethnicity that I routinely meet people of black, Jewish or Irish descent who look more like the stereotypical Latino than I do. And despite my being of Mexican and Polish descent, I have had strangers tell me that I look either Greek or Italian.

    For that matter, my Mexican-born father used to say that my late sister’s blonde hair came from his side of the family but that’s a subject for another day.

  • Tonio Kruger

    Given that “ethnic” used to be used quite often as an euphemism for “Jewish,” that is ironic.

    Of course, it has also been used as an euphemism for almost any non-WASP ethnic group including blacks and Hispanics.


    Actually the ancient Egyptians left us far more than any movie can express ,they left us tens of thousands of art and paintings ,mural ,statues ,temples ,poetry ,writings ,etc ,they all show what they looked like ,and described in detail ,their daily life….for all who like to know what Egyptians look like ,tomorrow Sunday January 25 MISS UNIVERSE PAGAN 2014 WII BE AIRED ON American TV at 7 pm ,one of the contestant is Miss Egypt Lara Debani ,a very beautiful Egyptian girl.

  • Spacedog1973

    Your lack of knowledge of African people’s speaks volumes. Red hair? African. Any physical feature you could describe? African.

    The fact that you equate Africans as having a singular look is almost laughable if you weren’t so deluded.

  • Spacedog1973

    They weren’t white, dude. Dont be a fool.

  • Spacedog1973

    It’s not afrocentrism. Its African history.

  • Spacedog1973

    North African is African. Are you someone who is fixated on what you think is an African feature? Have you actually ever been to Africa? Seen a black family? Brothers, sisters, uncles, cousins all having different akin colours, different features, yet all black?

    Or are they somehow different than black within their own family.. Because you say so. Lol

  • Spacedog1973

    DNA tribes is one company that used the data from the American and British medical journals. If you have the skills, you can Sequence them yourself. Its a well known fact.

  • Spacedog1973

    It’s irrelevant if you were taken as an Egyptian when you went to Cairo. This movie is about ancient Egypt, not modern Egypt.

    Does John Mccain look like Little Big Horn?


    You are ignorant ,the fact is simple , north Africans are racially different than sub Saharan Africans ,in fact ,even the U S census bureau classify north Africans as white…..You may want to Google search miss Egypt ,or watch Egyptian movies on line , the Egyptian movie industry have been around since early 1900 ,and it is one of the largest movie business in the world.


    They were white ,you are the fool.I am Egyptian and my skin is whiter than you if are white.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    North African is African.

    Yeah, but the’re not Sub-Saharan African. That big ass desert created quite the boundary between pre-industrial populations.

    Because you say so.

    Well, I didn’t actually say anything that you just said. But what I have said has come from an admittedly cursory look at the current research on the topic of Ancient Egypt. If you disagree, take it up with them. Though I would suggest updating your PhD first.

  • Enough. This discussion is now at an end. No more posts on how awesome Egyptians are. (It’s off-topic, and it’s a given.)

  • Sheeit, we need dis film to beez all black, so it be ghetto wit guns, niggas callin eachotha muthafuggas, drugs, hoes in tight outfit, rap muzik an weed wit bling everywhere. Y u gotta make dem “smart like” white movies dat be boring? Just need ta get u sum niggas pumpin wyte wimmen an miscegenatin’ so we can use dis movie to attack dem whites. Us niggas hate wytes an want be breed yall out existence witha racial war so wuts up.

  • calilife4me

    Nubia was in North Africa and inhabited by black people. Nubia occupied what is now southern Egypt. Queen Tiye, Great Royal Wife of Amenhotep III was a Nubian woman. She was the mother of Akhenaten and grandmother of Tutankhamun.

    The race of ancient Egyptians wasn’t questioned until the 19th century when American and English archeologists began to loot the tombs and couldn’t believe that black Africans could be so advanced.

  • Jabberwocky

    Scott should have made a movie about Ireland… at least the actors would have fit in.

  • Dee

    Huh? Jennifer Connelly’s mother was Jewish and Logan Lerman is 100% Jewish. Surely they can play Old Testament characters.

  • Bee

    Jennifer Connelly’s mother was Jewish and Logan Lerman is 100% Jewish. Surely they can play Old Testament characters.

  • Chico Lopes

    Very bad movie. Unbelievable, really, and yes, it should be at least kitsch as De Mille´s one. I thought the worst actor was the one who played Ramses. The memory of Yul Brynner was insulted…And why Sigourney Weaver appears so little?

  • StupidIsAsStupidDoes

    Yeah, just like DIE ANTWORD is South African. Just because they were born there, doesn’t mean that’s where their entire family line is from you clown.

  • disinterested_spectator

    And don’t forget the fact that Moses married a black woman (Numbers 12:1).

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