Exodus: Gods and Kings Film Review

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Now, I am not a fan of the Biblical epic, but I am a massive admirer of Christian Bale’s work and so I still had to check this out. I have to admit: I do not know my Bible stories very well so my knowledge ahead of seeing this was incredibly limited – and I think you would be better off going in with a basic overview of Moses’ story.

Bale is Moses, who was raised within the Egyptian empire to become a top advisor until it is revealed that he was the son of a Hebrew slave. He leaves the city and forges his own life until ‘God’ speaks to him and tells him to return and seek justice for his people. He has to go up against former friend and now-King Ramses (Joel Edgerton) to free the slaves and lead them to a new home.

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This is obviously going to be compared to Ridley Scott’s epic Gladiator due to its setting and scale, but it does not compare. It is nowhere near as interesting, powerful or awe-inspiring. This movie is actually quite forgettable – I struggled to recall everything that happened even as I left the cinema. The running time is long (150 minutes) and it could definitely be trimmed down.

Bale is the film’s saving grace because he is so compelling onscreen (as always). I may have switched off if I didn’t find him so interesting to watch. I struggled to take the Egyptian actors seriously because of the heavy make-up (heaps of guyliner) and the outfits. At times, I felt Joel’s performance was a bit over-the-top and there is a moment when he mourns the loss of a baby and I wanted to laugh (which would have been inappropriate) because the baby looked so fake.

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This is not a terrible film but it isn’t one I would rave about either. It is simply OKAY. CGI is used in heaps and there are times when it doesn’t look quite real. For instance, a battle in the Red Sea before the water returns was terrible, but then a hoard of men and chariots falling down a crumbling cliff face was so realistic. My favourite uses of CGI were the epic landscapes and the plague scenes.

This is not going to be remembered as one of Scott’s or Bale’s greatest movies by a long stretch. It leaves no lasting impression and I had to google Moses’ story to make sure I had understood it properly – it definitely assumes everyone knows it well (and made me feel bad that I didn’t). Visually it should be seen at the cinema, because it does look amazing, but I would say don’t bother.

 

Released 26th December 

SEE ALSO: My pics from the U.K. premiere 

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