Exactly why you never mess with guys named Moses. Especially when you’re near the beach.
If you don’t know the story of Moses by now, you probably should. But anyway, here’s what this movie’s all about. In 1300 B.C, Moses (Christian Bale) is a general and a member of the Royal family, which makes him a brother to Prince Ramesses (Joel Edgerton). However, he is not blood-related, so therefore, when Seti I (John Turturro) passes away, it’s Ramesses who is next to claim the throne. While this doesn’t upset Moses, he knows that this won’t be good because Ramesses doesn’t take responsibility well and lets his emotions get the best of him. Ramesses knows that Moses thinks this and therefore, he banishes from the land and forces him to survive on his own. While in exile though, Moses finds out that not only does God want him to continue out his plan, but that he needs Moses to take control of whatever the hell crazy stuff Ramesses is doing to his land. Obviously Ramesses isn’t going to fall for all of this mumbo jumbo, which makes God very angry and nature so drastically turns on humanity.
And the rest is, I guess, history.
A lot of has been said about Exodus: Gods and Kings, and most of it isn’t about whether or not it’s actually good and worth your time at all. Most of it is, and reasonably so, is about the casting of the white actors in roles that were made especially for Hebrews and Egyptians. It was a small bit of controversy that held some ground, but it was made all the worse by the fact that Ridley Scott couldn’t quite shut his trap and therefore, seemed to have kick-started a huge list of people boycotting his film.
Is it reasonable? Yeah, I guess so. But that isn’t really the point of this movie, or even this review. The point of this movie is to inform and possibly entertain the audience about the story of Moses. However, the point of this review is to tell you that while it does the former, the later is hardly anywhere to be found.
Most of this has to do with the fact that Scott doesn’t really do much of anything entertaining, interesting, or even enlightening about this story. It’s all as plain as day. It may all look incredibly pretty, but honestly, there’s only so much one viewer can do with really pretty visuals. Eventually, you need an interesting story, to be told in an incredibly compelling way. If you can’t do this, then there’s something wrong with your film, all problems with casting aside.
And no, I’m not making the argument that Scott’s movie somewhat fails because we all know the story of Moses, it’s mostly because he doesn’t know where to go with it. He shows us that, yes, Moses was a person who spoke to God, set out to do what he was called on to do, and when it didn’t, all hell (literally) broke loose. This aspect of the film is, at least, exciting, fun, and interesting, something you don’t get from the rest of the movie. It shows us that not only does Scott still appreciate a nice monologue when he wants to use one, but that his exquisite eye to detail still pays off.
That said, I’m talking about what’s maybe 15 or so minutes in a movie that runs on almost two-and-a-half hours. Which wouldn’t have been a huge cause for concern, had the rest of the movie been at least somewhat worthy of watching, but it’s so slow and meandering, you’ll wonder if Scott fell asleep while making it, or was already in the midst of planning and filming his next picture, that he totally forgot about what was already on his plate. Either way, it’s a bit of a snoozer of a film and it’s made worse by the fact that some signs of Scott’s genius shows, teasing us more and more about what this film could have been, had it not decided to get bogged down in whatever it was blabbering on and on about.
And the same could also be said for the cast who, despite all being pretty big, respectable names, don’t really offer much to a movie that desperately needed something to liven it up.
Though Christian Bale is one of the best actors we have working today, it seems that whenever he is in a major blockbuster picture, he never quite gets the chance to show everyone those skills he’s known to have. Here, as Moses, he gives a pretty wooden performance that, at times, can seem inspired, but for the most part, just makes it seem like he’s reading from a Gideon Bible and doesn’t really care whether or not he’s putting any effort into anything. It’s not a terrible performance, but definitely one of Bale’s high-points, I have to say.
Same could be said for the rest of the cast. The likes of John Turturro, Sigourney Weaver, Ben Kingsley, Ben Mendelsohn, Aaron Paul and María Valverde all show up here, but hardly any of them leave a lasting impression on us. They’re just here to service a script that doesn’t know what it wants to say or do about itself, nor does it really know how to treats its characters, so it just has them talk a lot about seemingly nothing and see if they can draw up any sort of emotion whatsoever.
It seems like that was the same guideline given to Joel Egerton, although he’s a lot better off with his role as Ramesses because he’s call on one thing and performs it well: Be campy. Egerton seems like he’s not only having a fun time with this role, but is at least more interested in diving deep into who this person may have been and why he was inspired to make the actions that he did. Though most of this gets lost in a muddled film that could really care less about any sense of humanity there may be in these characters, the effort is still noticeable and it’s worth commending Egerton for. Even if, you know, the character was written as a guy who yells a lot, forces people to die, and eats a lot grapes.
Consensus: Everybody in Exodus: Gods and Kings seems to be trying, except for Ridley Scott himself and it proves to be a major problem for a two-and-a-half-hour epic that moves slow, doesn’t say anything interesting, and hardly ever seems to know what it wants to do with itself, other than just try and inform people about the story of Moses that they may already have known since kindergarten.
4.5 / 10 = Crapola!!
Photo’s Credit to: IMDB, AceShowbiz
Fantastic review. I think that maybe Ridley Scott should slow down a bit. He releases about one film every year. Maybe if he took more time on each film they might become better.
That’s disappointing, the trailer looked half decent. To be fair, there have been so many ‘sword and sandals’ type movies in the last few years that they have all blurred into one anyway.
I don’t think I’ve enjoyed a Ridley Scott film since Gladiator.
Can’t say as I’m surprised. Misguided is possibly the best word. Nice job Dan.
“Even if, you know, the character was written as a guy who yells a lot, forces people to die, and eats a lot grapes.” You know, the same could probably get be said for director Ridley Scott. This is really disappointing news to read, although I’ve been reading it everywhere. The only reason I haven’t seen this yet is bc of these very tepid reviews. Oh well…..I guess you can’t win em all
Thanks for the review. I am not going to see that one. It is coming in my country next week.
I don’t get it. Was Charlton Heston Egyptian? He’s a white guy too. I don’t get what people want. I guess they want realistic. In that case, I wouldn’t be going to a movie like this one.
This just looked bad. Entertaining review to read!
You said it Bro! Crapola it was 🙂
I was debating whether or not to see this. Great review, you have affirmed my decision that I chose good. I was expecting this to be a hit though, considering all the Biblical-related movies that came out this year.
Great review, Bro! Boring and time-consuming… Mr. Scott needs hiatus I guess
Yeah it wasn’t great. Honestly don’t know why Sigourney and Aaron Paul even bothered with this. Best thing was the guy-liner
I had a very similar opinion on the film, it seems Scott just doesn’t have the magic anymore. Needed some more flair or something! Nice blog, lots of reviews which is great! Saw you commenting on another blog that I typically read and though I’d check your blog out, its nice and vast!
I write reviews too at http://www.simplefilmreviews.com!
I agree with every word! I didnt expect this from Ridley Scott!
I saw this today and just wrote my own review. I thought I’d check in to see what you thought, and it turns out we’re pretty much in agreement. I just found the whole film incredibly dull. It’s the closest I’ve come in a long time to leaving a film early.
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