Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014)
Directed by Ridley Scott
Written by Adam Cooper, Bill Collage, Jeffrey Caine, Steve Zaillan
Starring: Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, Ben Kingsley, John Turturro, Sigourney Weaver, Maria Valverde
When Moses (Bale) learns of his true heritage he rises up to oppose the Egyptian Pharoah Ramses (Edgerton). As Moses works to free his people he’s aided by a series of catastrophic plagues.
This Hollywood epic was written by Adam Cooper (Tower Heist), Bill Collage (Accepted), Jeffrey Caine (The Constant Gardener), and Steve Zaillan (Schindler’s List). Oscar nominee Ridley Scott (Blade Runner) directed the film. The film stars Christian Bale (American Hustle), Joel Edgerton (Zero Dark Thirty), Ben Kingsley (Gandhi), John Turturro (Miller’s Crossing), Sigourney Weaver (Ghostbusters), and Maria Valverde (The Liberator).
This isn’t a new story or an unfamiliar concept for a movie. The story of the Jews exodus from Egypt has been told in multiple films. This time the writing seems to approach the story from a very worldly point of view. Instead of a story steeped in religion, the film only slightly acknowledges God’s involvement. The story does very little in terms of developing the characters. Instead the writers decided to focus on the bigger picture. This is an unfortunate choice that really weakens the overall story. While the characters seem interesting, we’re never really given enough insight into their relationships with one another. Overall, this one doesn’t do much justice to such an epic story. With such a religious premise, the writers did their best to take God out of the film. When God is depicted he’s done so in a form that weakens the message. Overall, the writing really hurts this one.
The acting in this movie is pretty good despite the screenplay. Bale and Edgerton do just about as much as they could with the writing. Unfortunately, the writing seemed to put Bale in a position to play more of a gladiator than a prophet. Edgerton also seems to play a weaker role than I expected. The writing seems to take away the power of his character’s position. This film has a number of nicely acted moments, but nothing comes together like it should.
Ben Kingsley, John Turturro, Sigourney Weaver, and Maria Valverde all do just about as much as they could with this one. One of the best performances of the film actually comes from Valverde. She manages to make her moments on-screen more interesting than most. Overall, the film features a good cast that does all that they can to make this movie work. This includes more than 4,000 extras who brought the Exodus to life.
The visuals in this movie are exactly what you’d expect from a Ridley Scott film with a $140 million dollar budget. Between the locations and the sets, the era is given a unique identity in the film. The visual effects all look great throughout this one as well. Despite the story, the film has some good blockbuster action sequences throughout. Like the acting, this doesn’t do enough to make up for the weaknesses in the story.
This movie feels like a weak attempt to bring Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and The Ten Commandments together. The writing creates more holes and questions than it can work through. The decision to minimize the religious aspects of the story come back to haunt this one. This was one of the more disappointing films of 2014. The opportunities missed add up to a weak movie that won’t work for most people. The film also works at a snail’s pace, which only helps to point out the problems within. I think that action fans might enjoy it to some degree, otherwise it’s not one to make time for. I give this one 1.8 out of 5 stars.