Review: Exodus: Gods and Kings

ExodusGodsAndKings Ridley Scott’s take on the famous biblical story of Moses is an attempt at bringing stories of old into the mainstream audience's purview. Known for such prolific period pieces as Kingdom of Heaven and Gladiator, Scott fails to impress here on just about every level. Exodus: Gods and Kings is the biblical story of Moses and his flight from Egypt. The original story is one of controversy in modern times due to its fantastical claims. In a film setting these things can be easily overlooked with the advent of computer graphics and such. However, the main crux of the issues of the movie come from the very bizarre nature of the story itself. Frankly, the narrative isn’t compelling enough to make for an interesting two and half hour movie.

The story follows Moses (Christian Bale) and his brother Ramesses II (Joel Edgerton) through their adult lives as they receive a prophecy that one day a man who saves someone will become a leader of his people. During a battle, Moses saves his brother’s life and panic besets Ramesses. As the next in line to become king, Ramesses believes that now Moses will usurp him and so he has Moses and his family banished from Egypt. While in exile, Moses begins seeing visions of God and has several conversations with him. He accepts that his people are in fact the enslaved Jews of Egypt, and he works to set them free. At this point in our story things begin to fall apart at an insane rate. Practically in real time we see Moses walk back and forth to Egypt in an attempt to understand his newly found religion and save his people. Before anything interesting happens we are subjected to seemingly 45 minutes of absolute nothing and then finally God begins to give Moses instructions. When God tells Moses to sit back and “watch this” we are shown all of the infamous biblical plagues on the big screen. While that sounds thrilling it really fails to impress. Considering that its incredibly repetitive makes for a sense of urgency to get past it and move on with the story.

In the end, Exodus: Gods and Kings ends on a whimper. A film by a director who is known for such larger than life period pieces just comes up short. All and all, the film feels pointless and a general waste of everyone's time. Christian Bale gives the Moses role his all per usual and is a bright spot in an otherwise tedious adventure. He brings gravitas to the character much like Russell Crowe did for Noah earlier this year. Joel Edgerton as Ramesses is a mediocre performance. Edgerton is given little to work with here and comes off as very flat and uninteresting. Ridley Scott has done some amazing films that are unforgettable in the mind of the modern and not so modern cinephile, however, Exodus: Gods and Kings is not one of them.

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