Exodus: Gods and Kings

Exodus: Gods and Kings ★★½

Despite the level of talent involved in Exodus: Gods and Kings, I expected very little from this re-telling of Moses and how he led his people out of Egypt sometime before etching The Ten Commandments, and as such, I was not disappointed. Then again, I wasn't exactly blown away either, so this one lands exactly in the middle of a road called "Average Street".

Ridley Scott seems to have a real penchant for these overly bloated epic dramas which generally involve horses, battles and fire - and all three are in ready supply here. Christian Bale effectively conveys the transition of Moses from beloved general to less-beloved leader of the Israelites, but in the latter third of the film has to play half-barking mad and doesn't pull this off so well. Meanwhile, Joel Edgerton occupies the role of Egyptian pharaoh Ramses well-enough, but it's the "need" for names like Sigourney Weaver, Aaron Paul and Ben Kingsley in smaller roles which is utterly baffling since all offer nothing other than being recognisable.

The plagues, when they come, are well-rendered, but it's all over so quickly after such a long set up that it felt like a bit of a cheat. Still, Scott and writer Bill Collage's determination to make this one slightly more grounded than most films involving God getting his own back on his uppity creations is a good decision. The parting of the Red Sea, for example, doesn't just happen when Moses waves his staff, and the water's return looks appropriately spectacular, while also serving to conveniently overwhelm the less than engaging conflict between God's prophet and the man proclaiming himself to be a God.

All in all, Exodus is passable, but only just. There's no-one anywhere - beyond, perhaps, the families of the cast and crew - praising how amazing this film is.

2.5 One-Sided Conversations with One's God for Exodus: Gods and Kings.

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