Exodus, Gods and Kings…a movie review by Roz Tarszisz

December 3, 2014 by Roz Tarszisz
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Do we really need yet another swords and sandals cutlery saga? Why rehash ancient history? What could we expect from Director Ridley Scott?

These were just some of the questions I pondered while watching this biblical epic.

Indeed it’s an epic – 150mins long – and best watched in 3D, as special effects are pretty good. Standout scenes depicting the plagues are real and horrifying with frogs, flies and locusts jumping off the screen. When the river runs red with blood we can almost smell it.

The characters are well drawn within the parameters of their roles. Moses (Christian Bale) is a decent sort who does not believe in his destiny to lead the slaves. Rhamses (Joel Edgerton) and Moses were close childhood friends and lead the army together. King Seti (John Turturro) and Rhamses’ father, has high regard for Moses. When Seti goes to the hereafter, Rhamses gets on with the business of erecting bigger monuments and pushing his Hebrew slaves harder.

It’s always good to see Australian actors in an international production. Working out who is who under the eyeliner and wigs provides its own entertainment. Edgerton’s portrays a man aware of his limitations and not entirely comfortable in his own smooth skin.

As the designated baddy, Hegep (Ben Mendelsohn) gets to sulk and smirk but we have seen worse baddies. Sigourney Weaver as Rhamses’ mother, has nothing to do. Ben Kingsley as a slave leader is, as always, competent and believable and Haim Abbass shines in the small role of Moses’ mother.

What is missing are a few defining moments and some memorable lines – such as those spouted by Maximus in Scott’s other dusty epic, Gladiator. Moses doesn’t really get to declaim much. Sand and scrub, dust and stones are what the two films have in common.

Action sequences are striking such as when Rhamses chases after the departed slaves and there is grandeur in both his folly and the scenery. The narrative is well served by the musical score.

In seems a tad anachronistic that a palace soothsayer has a Scottish accent. Edgerton and Mendelsohn have toned down their true-blue accents and one soon forgets Bales’ more subtle American one. He is a vast improvement on Charlton Heston as Moses.

EGK joins a long list of biblical movies without adding much new to the genre. So will this be the definitive version of Exodus? Let’s hope so.

3/5 2014 Released December 4 Rated M 150mins

Starring Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, John Turturro

Directed by Ridley Scott

Written by Adam Cooper, Bill Collage, Jeffrey Caine, Steven Zaillian

Music by Alberto Iglesias


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