Whether it’s an Alien sort-of prequel or Moses the Movie, you can’t deny Ridley Scott’s ability to make a film look gosh-darn pretty, nor his third dimensional eye that justifies the price of a 3D ticket. Exodus continually stimulates on a visual level throughout its two-and-a-half hour running time, with spectacular sights of heavily populated civilisations, storms of death consuming the IMAX screen, and a single horse freaking out underneath a ten-storey wall of collapsing water.
It’s a real shame then that such stimulation isn’t fully present in the storytelling, especially in the first hour. The numerous plot threads in the lengthy set-up are delivered with plenty of regal formality and little expression – it’s like watching a history book act (albeit a nicely illustrated history book).
It’s only when Moses hits his head and hears the word of God that the film find its much-needed focus, going from painfully boring costume drama to a high-stakes (super)natural disaster film. It allows its star performers – Christian Bale as Moses and Joel Edgerton as Ramses – to charge at each other in a joust of emotions, with Edgerton valiantly holding his own against Oscar-winning Bale.
When the plagues commence, both men become rattled in their separate faiths (Moses’ belief in God; Ramses’ belief in himself) while showing great disdain for the other’s. Ironically, God is no angel in the film, and when Ramses points out this very clear fact, Moses doesn’t have a reply. Unfortunately, neither does the film’s ending, making you feel like the most interesting conflict in the movie has been neglected.
‘Exodus: Gods and Kings’ Movie Times (also in 3D)