‘Exodus: Gods and Kings’ an epic failure

From acclaimed director Ridley Scott (Alien, Gladiator and Prometheus), comes Exodus: Gods and Kings, an adaptation of the biblical “epic” of Moses and the Hebrew exodus. However, for all the spectacular CGI and the enormous workforce required for such a film to be attempted, Scott’s epic is largely a failed one.

The film tells the story of the Moses (Christian Bale) as he struggles against the pharaoh Ramses (Joel Edgerton) in an attempt to liberate thousands of Hebrew slaves from Egyptian captivity. Given Scott’s previous blockbuster epics, one would expect something similarly riveting. Yet despite the huge and talented cast and visual effects crew, Scott’s new film fails to live up to expectations.

For one thing, the star-studded support cast (including Ben Kingsley, Aaron Paul, Sigourney Weaver and John Turturro), received almost none of the attention they deserved. Even Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul was given shockingly little screen time considering his role as Joshua. His character barely receives more than a nod of acknowledgement, and spends the entire film standing anxiously at Moses’s side or eavesdropping behind shrubs.

More surprising is the fact that Scott barely takes advantage of Bale’s superb acting skills, (as seen in American Psycho, Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, and American Hustle, to name a few.) Bale is given very little to work with, as the character of Moses is fairly static and is never allowed to develop. Contrastingly the film gives the most intriguing and sympathetic character of Ramses to Edgerton, who was unfortunately one of the weakest actors in the production.

Exodus attempts to achieve the monumental grandeur that would be expected of a Ridley Scott film. However, the director’s poker-straight approach becomes amusingly awful rather than resoundingly meaningful. Meanwhile, the film is no less violent or pulverizing than any other Scott epic, which tends to take away from the more heartfelt aspects of the story.

While the film is undeniably filled with problems and plot holes, it becomes entertaining through its faults. If audience members are willing to put aside their reservations, fully embrace its numerous shortcomings, and suspend their disbelief (which the film blatantly encourages), they might be able to enjoy the film for the grand epic it attempts to encapsulate.

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