REVIEW: EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS
SYNOPSIS: From acclaimed director Ridley Scott (Gladiator, Prometheus) comes the epic adventure “Exodus: Gods and Kings,” the story of one man’s daring courage to take on the might of an empire. Using state of the art visual effects and 3D immersion, Scott brings new life to the story of the defiant leader Moses (Christian Bale) as he rises up against the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses (Joel Edgerton), setting 400,000 slaves on a monumental journey of escape from Egypt and its terrifying cycle of deadly plagues.
Exodus follows the story of Moses as he rises up against the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramesses, in order to free slaves from captivity. It manages to give a balanced look into the life of Moses and his journey. For the most part, the movie feels realistic and gritty at times especially for the plagues (a pleasant surprise for a Biblical film), but it is also able to present unearthly material in perfect times. Speaking of unearthly, the movie’s take on a vengeful and seemingly imperfect God may be too daring for some, but it also added depth and twist to an all too familiar story. Scott’s (and his team of writers) idea of God is a scrawny, moody little child. It’s both fitting and irreverently critical of the figure that deals out such foul justice in the movie.
Most surprisingly, the scenes involving Moses and Ramesses are often electrifying. So is the 'burning bush' sequence. The battles will take your breath away with crashing chariots, splintering spears, flaming arrows, metal against metal and more gore than one would expect to see in biblical idealism. Ramesses' cold-blooded disregard for human life is shocking. But then again the Ten Plagues unleashed on the Egyptians by God as punishment are unrelenting in their devastation. The Nile runs blood red, overflowing with dead fish. Masses of flies spread dreaded and diseases. Clouds of locusts ravage crops and a sinister shadow of death creeps across the accursed land like a cold hand.
Needless to say, the movie's biggest asset is its acting. Joel Edgerton (Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, 2005), is an interesting approach to playing a pharaoh (Not resembling an ancient Egyptian in the least) while Christian Bale (The Dark Knight Rises, 2013) brought his “A” game in the part of Moses. Thought, to some extent the supporting cast seemed underutilized, visually speaking; the film was top notch, with my favorite being the parting of the Red Sea sequences. Everything else, especially the plagues, weren't too far off, but was quite obviously CGI.
Perhaps, if viewers can get beyond the idea that the whole story comes across as very big-blockbuster Hollywood with the whitewashed actors and a terrible array of accents or perhaps if seeing Moses part the Red Sea and experiencing the plagues sequences in glorious CGI then Exodus is quite possibly the movie to see. However, when you are surrounded with so much style and so little substance the film can drag on and seem like more of a chore to watch at one hundred and fifty minutes long. If there was a larger addition to relationships between the characters then maybe the runtime would equally suffice.
Overall, this flick does enough to warrant a viewing at the theaters because of its epic nature though is a tale that most people would already know about. It feels very familiar and yet still different enough to make it interesting, to say the least. Four stars out of five is well deserved here.
By Movi-Man Stan
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