Exodus: Gods and Kings

Posted December 12, 2014 by in


Total Score

3.5/ 5

Quick Stats

Genre: epic
Director: Ridley Scott
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Actors: Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, Ben Kingsley
Length: 150 minutes
Release Date: 12/12/2014
Studio: Chernin Entertainment, Scott Free Productions, Babieka, Volcano Films
What We Thought

It’s the fastest 2 hours plus film that I can recall. It’s not your usual epic—it’s leaner and meaner.

by Daniel Hodgson
Full Article
     You already know the story of Moses.  So let’s jump right in.
     Exodus:  Gods and Kings is a disaster movie by way of a swords and sandals epic.  Forget The Ten Commandments, though.  That’s your grandpa’s movie.  Exodus is a biblical epic for the Michael Bay generation.  It’s fast and furious, racing from battle scene to natural disaster within a heartbeat.
     The film clocks in with a running time of 150 minutes, but it feels more like 90 minutes.  The pacing is absolutely breathless.  That’s both a blessing and a curse.
     Exodus sweeps you up in a torrent of events, a series of plagues that curse the Pharaoh and thousands alike:  a river than runs with blood, then a swarm of locusts, and finally, a grim shadow that falls over Egypt and takes the first-born sons in its dreadful embrace.  The film climaxes with the obliterating tidal wave of the Red Sea drowning hundreds of Egyptian chariots.
     However, the characters are upstaged by the spectacle.  A story has to strike a careful balance between plot and character, between what’s happening and who it’s happening to.  Exodus tips the scales in favor of keeping the story moving along, but at the expense of getting invested in those involved.  Exodus is interesting, exciting, but rarely moving.
     Christian Bale has considerable screen presence as Moses, but Joel Edgerton is forced to play Ramses as a doltish, ineffectual leader in the Pharaoh Ramses.  Ramses is a tragic figure, and the point of the story is the suffering he and everyone under his rule endure because of his arrogance, his unwillingness to yield to a greater power.
     That greater power punishes the people for the crimes of its leadership.  Exodus asks, what kind of God would do such a thing?  The film is not a strict adaptation of the bible chapter, and that’s a good thing;   it’s critical of it.  Exodus explicitly states that God values the Greater Good over the suffering of the few.  It’s a condemnation of slavery, that it must end at any cost, however terrible.
     One of those who suffer under the lash is Joshua, portrayed by Aaron Paul.  Though he has only a handful of lines of dialog, he works miracles with them.  He’s an outstanding supporting actor, every bit as intensely focused as Bale is in their scene together, one of the best in the film.
     Its faults aside, Exodus:  Gods and Kings is the fastest 2 hours plus film that I can recall.  It’s not your usual epic—it’s leaner and meaner.  I’ve thought for some time now that movies are too long these days.  Exodus makes me realize that they just feel that way.

About the Author

Daniel Hodgson

Daniel has a degree in film from the University of Texas at Austin, and writes about himself in the third-person, because that's the fashion.


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