Set aside biblical accuracy and historical accuracy. Ridley Scott‘s Exodus: Gods and Kings doesn’t need to be a chapter-and-verse retelling of the Book of Exodus nor does the movie need to back everything up with empirical evidence. It just needs to tell a compelling story, and it fails miserably. The Exodus story is a rich narrative filled with betrayal, discovery, destiny, and freedom. All of these aspects technically exist in Scott’s film, but in the most perfunctory manner possible. The director couldn’t care less about exploring these emotions and themes in a meaningful way, and it’s only in his desire for big set pieces that he inadvertently stumbles upon the curious viewpoint of seeing the Exodus story as one driven primarily by violence. The movie is a “biblical epic” not in that it reaches for some grand theme or is willing to consider the role of the divine. It’s a biblical epic because it’s based off a Bible story and cost a lot of money, and it’s more enthusiastic about letting you know the latter than the former.