Cert: 12A Runtime: 150 mins Director: Ridley Scott Cast: Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, Aaron Paul, Ben Kingsley and Sigourney Weaver
Follow me and you will be free. Stay and you will perish.
Ridley Scott loves publicity and his latest Exodus: Gods and Kings has received a lot of complaints from the religious world. The Biblical film has returned as of late, beginning with Darren Aronofsky’s Noah. Exodus is the next to stand the test with Christian Bale in the title role. What is Exodus: Gods and Kings about? Raised as brothers, Moses (Christian Bale) and the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses (Joel Edgerton) find themselves in deadly conflict. Defiant Moses is on a mission to free the Hebrew people from slavery. But Ramses’ refusal to accede to his demands has shocking consequences. A series of terrifying plagues are unleashed, including a devastating hailstorm and rivers running red with blood! Moses’ great journey of liberation leads to the breathtaking parting of the Red Sea.
This film will not be critiqued on it’s religious stand, I am reviewing it as a cinematic piece. Ridley Scott has surprised me with Exodus, it’s not that bad at all. It’s no masterpiece either. He has given us more of a realistic view of the tale that we all know. Presenting supposedly miraculous events in a more realistic manner, with massive parting walls of water being replaced by receding tides, etc. This may irritate certain religious groups, but events such as the Ten Plagues, as well as Moses’ early siege on a Hittite army, are all still highly captivating and visually stunning sequences. Scott’s interpretation of God is interesting, it’s well known it’s a child. I think it’s an interpretation of a Hebrew Moses if he would of lived the life of a slave. His subconscious is telling him what he all ready knows, that his people need to be freed. This is what Exodus is good for it’s open to interpretation. Scott is saying is it all a coincidence or is it an act of God? Christian Bale’s performance was also admirable, not his best by far. But he gave very raw emotion and leadership to the role.
As I’ve mentioned Exodus isn’t perfect by a mile. The rest of the cast bar Bale and Issac Andrews are very hollow and under developed. Joel Edgerton who plays Ramses really brought nothing to the character. It feels like Scott was just telling him be angry, be sad! I have questioned his casting since the project was underway, he felt like a very weak link in Exodus. The fact that Ben Kingsley and Sigourney Weaver were in Exodus made it interesting, but they literally on screen for a maximum of 5 minutes. They are such well established actors and they are very under used here. Aaron Paul was an interesting casting since Breaking Bad he has broken into film much more. He gave a decent performance but he also was very underdeveloped. The 150 minute run time was to much here, the ending seemed rather pointless and rushed. The first hour did drag a bit, you’d hope to of seen the wicker basket etc happening. But every thing is just said through dialogue. The score seemed rather OTT, it felt liked it belonged more in Schindler’s List. But Exodus is a visually stunning epic with great detail and costume design, with a strong Christian Bale. It also leaves us with questions to answer, if you fancy rattling your brains for a few hours go ahead.