I watched The Ten Commandments movie and couldn’t help but share my opinion. First, the editing was excellent. I feared it would end up looking like a movie trailer and lose important parts, but that didn’t happen at all. It’s content favored the biblical narrative, which makes it the most faithful to the original story of all the movies about Moses that I have watched. Actually, if you want to enjoy the movie even more, I suggest you forget the soap opera, the supporting characters (and some main characters as well) and the parallel plots and try to watch as though you had never seen any of those characters before. Understand each of them the way the movie presents them and not the way the soap opera portrayed them. The experience will be much more complete.
I think one of the coolest things about this version of The Ten Commandments (both, the movie and the soap opera) is that it’s the first time I see a Moses coherent to the description in the Bible. A more restrained Moses, the meekest man on earth.
Whenever I read his story, I wondered what kind of leader he would be. This offers rich and fertile grounds for the imagination of a writer. He was a gentle, educated and civilized leader, in charge of rebellious, stubborn and rather savage people. The times when Moses lost his patience, they had gone far beyond the tolerance level we would usually have. In other words, we would have ripped off their heads already, yet Moses was just beginning to get upset.
The production team at Record TV managed to bring to the big screen exactly what I imagined. And the interpretation of Guilherme Winter portrayed the exact shade of the biblical Moses. The characters, by the way, were one of the (many) highlights of the plot.
Before thinking about becoming a writer, I wanted to be an actress. I studied acting and the similarities I see between a writer’s work and an actor is that both need to build a character, which begins from the inside. You must understand the mind of the character, the way he thinks and how he sees the world. Then, you can move on to his actions and words. Much of the character’s world remains within him and will never be seen by the public or readers, but it makes all the difference to his credibility. And this is what we see with the characters of The Ten Commandments. This is what gives depth to the scenes.
The movie is Joshua recounting the story of the Hebrew’s deliverance from slavery (with some narrations to help move the storyline along). This allows the focus to remain on the main events, which are shown in a well-assembled sequence.
Besides not wanting the movie to ever end, the main reason I thought it could have continued for another 30 minutes was to better demonstrate the plagues. I thought it was clever how the soap opera linked each plague with an Egyptian belief, clearly showing that God was destroying their mythologies one by one. This explanation was restricted only to the plague of darkness. Yet, the presentation of the plagues had a good pace. They were all shown without skipping any (as what happened in Cecil DeMille’s movie) and without them occurring in video clip mode (as what happened in the Prince of Egypt animation).
However, even though it’s only a two-hour movie, there is no stalling. The scenes are agile and the events follow the Bible (the minimum you expect from a movie based on a book is for it to remain faithful to the original, despite the recent biblical adaptations of Hollywood forgetting about this “detail”). And, as in the soap opera, the dialogues were chosen very well. The words of Amram to his son, the words of Moses to the people, the scene of the people’s outcry… it’s easy to see how mankind is alike, regardless of the time period. Man’s conflicts have remained the same for thousands of years.
The stubbornness, fear, pride, doubts, courage, love, faith, gratefulness, faithfulness… what we consider the strongest in ourselves, both for good and for evil, has accompanied mankind since we began living in this world. And, to learn how to deal with this whole package, removing what is bad and strengthening what is good, we need the discipline represented by the Ten Commandments, the Word given by God.
It is not just a set of moral rules to calm the wrath of an evil god (as many uninformed people may think), but rather ethical principles capable of transforming semi-savage people into a structured and upright nation. It is a gift from a merciful God, offering the possibility of a future they would never achieve without law, discipline and instruction.
Likewise, with their minds enslaved by a corrupt media (the fourth power, which is the true Pharaoh of this planet), people are suffering nowadays, steeped in injustice that they helped create when they believe what they hear.
Deliverance is only the first step. The journey of Moses and the Hebrews was long and complicated because it’s much easier to solve physical slavery than it is to solve mental slavery. And the mind of those people was still in Egypt. The choices we have to make today are no different from the choices they had to make in the past. It is necessary to break free from the old concepts, the old way of thinking, to move forward into a new life. Otherwise, we are doomed to death. Not the death of the body, but to live like zombies in this world, guided by circumstances, without a reason to live, without focusing on anything bigger than themselves.
The Ten Commandments is a current movie. There has never been a time when so many complainers, moaners, negative critics and irresponsible lazy people have had a voice and space in social and formal media, to point fingers and make shallow analysis on issues they know nothing about.
The movie does not speak about religion. It speaks of the choice between conforming to what we are given every day or making the sacrifices necessary to change. Giving up the slave mentality is not easy, mainly because it forces us to take responsibility for our choices. This is the essence of the Ten Commandments: personal responsibility.
Stubborn Pharaoh was the one responsible for the continuation of the plagues. The people themselves were responsible for suffering during such a long time, because they turned away and stopped crying out to the only One who could deliver them. It was each person’s responsibility to protect his or her house with the blood of the lamb. It was Moses’ responsibility to extend the staff to open the sea. It was the people’s responsibility to remain firm in the wilderness, after they learned to trust that God would provide everything. God kept His word until the end, even before those who did not want to do their part, and insisted on throwing their responsibility onto someone else, complaining, murmuring and continuously disobeying.
Being obedient to the Word they received was proof of the conviction that God would do His part of the Pact. To live this faith was the personal and non-transferable responsibility of every Hebrew that came out of Egypt. It was the only guarantee of freedom and the only guarantee of victory over their enemies. This is why this story was written. For this reason, it should be told and understood.