Exodus: Gods and Kings

Exodus: Gods and Kings ★★★★

2014 saw the return to the big screens of not one, but two, fully-fledged Biblical epics. Noah from Darren Aronofsky was a sizable success at the box office and critically well received. Sir Ridley Scott's Exodus:Gods and Kings however was met with a touch of apathy as his loose interpretation of Moses' leading the exodus of Hebrews from Egypt failed to ignite the box office. Released in December, it struggled to compete with the final Hobbit film for the holiday cash and was considered a missed opportunity. There is no doubting however of the technical qualities Scott has brought to bare here. A film that meanders a little at times, it is nonetheless another epic in scale and storytelling to add to Scott's canon of work. Led by Christian Bale as Moses and Joel Edgerton as Ramesses II, this doesn't quite follow the Book Of Exodus. Criticized by numerous groups about the historical inaccuracies, some never gave this a chance. As a piece of cinema though, it has some stunning imagery and set pieces that bring ancient Egypt to life in glorious color, and Scott's penchant for authenticity is clear to see with the sheer scale of the production. The plagues, the treachery of the times, and the quest for power all play big parts here in a story most will know if they've read the bible or gone to Sunday school, but Bale's portrayal of Moses is a strange one for me. Edgerton too plays the baddie efficiently, but the likes of Sigourney Weaver and Sir Ben Kingsley get little screen time.
Scott directs with his usual flair here, but this is patchy. The parting of the Red Sea and the plagues are very well done, and his visual recreation of ancient Egypt could be compared with his work on Gladiator. Bale though offers a conundrum. As a prophet and man of God he's also full of rage, an odd mix for a biblical figure and he's hard to like despite his iconic status. A film that won't be for everyone, this is still an impressive piece of work regardless of its flaws.

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