From Blade Runner to Alien to Gladiator and more, director Ridley Scott has racked up a rather impressive collation of work under his belt over the last decade or two. Well, you may or may not have heard of the latest addition to his filmography; Exodus: Gods and Kings. Let's hope that, in this case, it's the latter. Brace yourselves.
If there's one thing I appreciate about Scott's films, it's the way he manages to captivate audiences, so often, using a compelling, solid plot and remarkable filmmaking to produce both an interesting and an entertaining film. Exodus is the anomaly in his list of projects.
Whilst not all of his movies are widely loved, they're still watchable and fun guilty pleasures at times. Not Exodus. It is atrocious and just a disgraceful piece of work from such an all-round talented man. Honestly, I was MAJORLY disappointed and expected SO much more from it.
The story follows Christian Bale as the courgeous Moses, who single-handed my takes on an entire empire and defyingly rises up against an old friend; Joel Edgarton as the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses. Setting 600,000 innocent slaves free, Moses leads them on a journey of escape and prosperity as they try to break free of the curse that is Egypt - haunted and fully equipped with a cycle of 10 horrifying plagues.
There is so much potential for this to succeed and do well. The premise is an interesting one and certainly sounds like it could make for an entertaining watch, if handled well. However, it just ISN'T handled well and this, in turn, means it lacks substance and becomes too boring too quick. There are so many plot inconsistencies and we go off topic a lot and it just makes everything messy and frustrating to watch.
Exodus clocks in just under three hours - at around two and a half hours - and this should be more than enough time to explain things clearly and to have enough action and body to give us something even half decent. Nope. If you have such a poor grasp on such a monumental topic and idea then things are going to quickly spiral even more out of control. This film is way too long! I believe I heard it was going to be four hours at one point? Wow. Obviously, A LOT of trims and edits must have been made to get it down to the still bum-numbing runtime it is now. It's very clear that this has been cut and this doesn't help the situation one bit.
At one point, we're in a scene with Bale explaining how he's going to do something and a minute later we skip to another shot of him only to find out that he has already gone and done whatever he said he was going to do and, unfortunately, we missed out on the action of him going about completing this task. This happens not once but SEVERAL times. I can understand maybe once or twice but anymore than that becomes detrimental to the proceedings. Worse yet, this make the film feel even more rough and uneven.
As far as the cast goes, I love Christian Bale. He's such a wonderful actor and has masses of vastitude talent. He's fine in this too and delivers a not too shabby performance as our lead man Moses. Is it his best performance ever? No. Is it an AMAZING Oscar worthy performance? Not even close. It's fine and he gets the job done - efficient pops into mind. It's just disappointing that his character lacks the depth to make for a fitting role for the actor. However, he's alright but that's as good as the acting in Exodus gets.
Edgarton is alright as Ramses but, again, isn't spectacular. He just does not fit the part and, at times, it's almost as if he knows that and is trying too hard to get us liking him in this role. He seems a bit out of place and it's just weird seeing him in this biblical epic as an Egyptian Pharaoh. How about getting someone that actually looks the part is my first thought when watching him in Exodus. Nonetheless, his performance isn't bad it's just very wrong casting from Scott.
The same applies for supporting cast members Sir Ben Kingsley, Aaron Paul and Sigourney Weaver. They're all talented people and have had some brilliant perfemaces in this past but look so odd and out of place in this. It just doesn't work for them and this is distracting and it makes you feel awkward and annoyed; like you've just gotten out of the pool after having jumped in wearing your pyjamas.
None of their characters are developed either. Heck, a rock is far more interesting than they are. To be fair, even Bale and Edgarton are undernourished and have as little personality as a pencil: that doesn't make sense, right? Exactly. We do not get to attach or care for a single character and, considering the film has 150 minutes to polish and up develop these people, that's VERY poor and makes the story and climax even more blunt and tedious as we just do not care. In fact, most people have already tuned out anyway - if not left. It's almost as if Ridley Scott didn't even attempt to try to make this somewhat decent. I was very disappointed and was expecting SO much better from it.
I do actually have one positive to say about Exodus, though, believe it or not. The effects are simply BEAUTIFUL and this film is visually stunning and just looks so gorgeous on the big screen. The Ten Plagues scene is also quite cool. It's probably the only actual scene in this film that's entertaining but it's an awesome scene nonetheless and, again, the great visuals make it even better and intense.
Too tedious, too boring and just too awful, Exodus: Gods and Kings is Ridley Scott's misfire - a biblical epic that is in no way close to epic unless an epic FAIL.
About the Author
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.