Exodus: Gods and Kings: Film Review
Cast: Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, Ben Kingsley, John Turturro, Ben Mendelsohn
Director: Ridley Scott
It's perhaps apt that Exodus: Gods and Kings is dedicated to Ridley Scott's deceased brother Tony, given that this story is about the bond between brothers.
Christian Bale is Moses, and Animal Kingdom star Joel Edgerton is his apparent brother Ramses in the year 1300BC as Scott's retelling of the classic Sunday school tale is doled out.
With Moses willing to do anything for his brother and apparently being preferred as the King of Egypt by King Seti (John Turturro, who appears only in a handful of scenes), his world is rocked when he discovers the truth of his lineage.
Exiled by Ramses and with the bond seemingly shattered for good, Moses rises up against the Egyption Pharaoh as God's messenger urges him to let his people go-go. But the quest for freedom continues and the clashes bring a series of terrorist-like raids, the personal cost for Moses could be too high.
Emotionally withdrawn and relatively bland in execution, Ridley Scott's Exodus: Gods and Kings may tell an epic story, but it draws it on a canvas that's lacking any real flair.
An extremely flat execution of Moses' exile, the almost Keith Richards' like Ben Mendelsohn as Hegep, and a pre-ponderence of guyliner prevent Exodus: Gods and Kings from achieving any feeling of grandeur over its 150 minutes run-time.
The one sequence that finds Exodus coming alive is the depiction of the plagues unleashed on the Unbelievers. It's here the CGI comes into its own as Scott effortlessly brings into reality the horror of vengeance. Likewise, the parting of the Red Sea is creatively impressive and smartly executed, with a deftness of touch that's somewhat lacking throughout.
Bale and Edgerton start off strongly but with a lack of character development (creatively, there was nowhere for those involved in the writing to go without bringing down a series of plagues on themselves), they soon pale and fail to reach the emotional highs which are needed to help Exodus soar out of the ordinary. A few off-kilter humorous moments involving the seers - including a cameo from Ewen Bremner - add some levity to the ponderous proceedings.
As a 21st century realisation of a timeless story, Exodus: Gods and Kings is sorely lacking.