Exodus: Gods and Kings Movie Review
Exodus: Gods and Kings is about the power of God. But really, it's just God-awful.
A big-budget action epic starring Christian Bale and directed by Ridley Scott (Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven), Exodus: Gods and Kings had the potential to be heavenly, but Beelzebub embraced this film with a lustful passion so powerful even the Lord himself couldn't part the seas of waste this picture is made of.
Bale plays Moses, a wise-beyond-his-years-semi-atheistic general who is best buds with King Rhamses (Joel Edgerton)--that is until he is discovered to be a Hebrew and is banished from the kingdom. Then, because God almost kills him, Moses decides to return and lead his people to the chosen land… but not before God unleashes his wrath and kills a whole ton of people and animals.
It's sort of a silly story, really, but since the Bible says it happened, it must have really happened, right? Right??
Fuck. It doesn't really matter. I mean, fuck. Exodus: Gods and Kings is truly, God-fucking-awful.
I'm a huge Ridley Scott fan--the dude can direct some awesome swords-and-sandals action scenes--but Exodus: Gods and Kings is an epic misfire of dead frogs, locusts and famine. The screenplay (written by the guys who made the God-awful Tower Heist) is a disaster, forcing an otherwise talented cast to describe their characters' motives in excruciatingly literal fashion. The dialogue is horrendous, the character development clunky and the story is full of plot holes.
I'll forgive that last one--it's based on the Bible, after all.
Exodus: Gods and Kings is choppy as hell, too. Large chunks of character and story development appear to have been left on the cutting room floor, and yet the pacing is still painfully slow in parts. If Moses and Rhamses were supposed to best friends/brothers as the movie implies, it's never evident--their friendship is so woefully underdeveloped it's unclear what they are supposed to be. And yet when Moses is exiled, Rhamses' about-face is just as confusing. When Moses meets the woman who is going to be his wife, the film spends less than a minute developing their relationship before jumping ahead to their awkward lose-the-virginity almost-sex scene. And worse, Moses' transformation into a revolutionary is so rapid and without explanation it's hard to fathom.
The casting is also weird as hell. While Joel Edgerton's hellish performance may be due in part to the awful screenplay, it's not the screenplay's fault that Aaron Paul, Sigourney Weaver and John Turturro are in this movie. While all three are talented, none are right for this movie.
Exodus: Gods and Kings is about the power--and wrath--of God, but the movie's sins far outweigh its few strengths.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.