Taking his cue from Cecil B DeMille biblical movies, Exodus: Gods and Kings finds Scott in his creative element. Conjuring opulent and startling visions, the visuals often swamp a story steeped in the grandeur provided by a mega-budgeted production.
Pharaoh Ramses (Joel Edgerton) rules ancient Egypt with an iron fist. Overseeing a mighty empire, Ramses dares anyone to defy him. Taking the challenge is Moses (Christian Bale), who is determined to destroy Ramses’ rule. Plotting to free thousands of slaves and launch a rebellion, Moses charts a heroic and dangerous course. Battling plagues and the power of Ramses’ army, Moses stands firm against the tyranny of an empirical regime.
Exodus: Gods and Kings cannot be accused of not being dazzling to watch. The CGI boffins earn their money with ancient Egypt brilliantly brought to life. The sandy vistas and deadly plagues seen throughout are wonderfully rendered. Coupled with some excellently staged action sequences, Exodus: Gods and Kings should be a compelling experience. It isn’t, due to the casting which is uniformly bad with cockney, American and Australian accents all being heard within the Pharaoh’s walls.
Whilst Bale equips himself reasonably well as a tortured Moses, Edgerton completely fails to register the passionate fury his role requires. Speaking in monotone with hardly any expression, his Ramses seems like a bore with no fire in the belly. He isn’t helped by co-stars Sigourney Weaver and Aaron Paul who are completely wasted. Their terminal lack of use affects the fairly strong story from reaching the apex to which it clearly aspires.
Exodus: Gods and Kings could have been better. Although Scott’s last few movies have been dull affairs with a good cast, the opposite occurs for his latest. This shouldn’t affect any future biblical-based films with the copyright-free Bible easy pickings for budget-conscious filmmakers.
Reviewed by Patrick Moore
Rating out of 10: 5