Ridley Scott has made some great films. Between Alien, Blade Runner, and Gladiator (and that’s just scratching the surface), he has definitely made an impact on the history of cinema. Like many brilliant filmmakers, he has also made his share of mediocre films. This is one of such films. The most emotionally charged moment of the movie was the beginning of the end credits in which Ridley Scott dedicated the film to his late brother, Tony. Exodus: Gods and Kings is a retelling of the famous bible story of Moses.
This film has faced a lot of criticism due to the fact that many of the actors playing prominent roles within Ancient Egypt are not middle-eastern. While it’s true that the races that were present then are not the same as the races that are present now, it’s incredibly disappointing to see a film so blatantly whitewashed. However, it’s understandable why it had to be done. To mount a 140 million dollar film, the investors need some sort of assurance that they will make their money back, and it’s much easier to sell a film when there are big-name stars.
To play Moses, the film chooses Christian Bale, who is naturally very charismatic but doesn’t seem to be trying too hard. Joel Edgerton goes all out to play Ramses however, and really carries the film through many of the lull periods. There’s also a lot of very big name actors that have small, weird cameos that don’t hugely contribute to the plot. John Turturro plays a Pharoah of Egypt, Aaron Paul and Ben Kingsley play followers of Moses, and Sigourney Weaver plays Ramses’ mother. When described like this, the film sounds like a comedy, but it takes itself pretty seriously.
As a film, Exodus: Gods and Kings is aggressively mediocre. That said, there are moments of inspiration here and there: The decision to make God a child was an fascinating choice. The child actor they got to play him was very good as well. And the plague sequences were all pretty interesting. However, these moments of inspiration appear within a film that is pretty bland.
While many of the fight scenes in the beginning of the film are reasonably well put together, the last act of the film is really poorly edited. In a sequence with Ramses’ army chasing Moses and the Jews, there is no continuity in where people are located in relation to one another. Any relevant drama is completely lost because all of the events that occur seem so random. The film also ends in a very strange place. The film in general would have been stronger if it weren’t cut off where it was cut off. However, the film was in no danger of being a masterpiece, so, as an audience member, I appreciated it ending early. 5/10.