'Exodus: Gods and Kings' Review: A Holy Mess
Exodus: Gods and Kings was the subject of some controversy regarding the lack of ethnic diversity in the cast based on its "whitewashing". Director Ridley Scott has explained that casting big names like Christian Bale (does Joel Edgerton qualify as a big name?) was a necessary evil to secure funding. However, after viewing the film, this is but one of the many flaws with the picture.
Exodus is the retelling of the story of Moses leading the Hebrew slaves to freedom under an oppressive rule in Egypt. Based on a well known story, this film suffers from the fact that it doesn't bring anything new to the table, and suffers from a lack of a characterization for almost all of the supporting casts. As previously mentioned, most of the main cast consists of white actors despite taking place in ancient Egypt. However, Sigourney Weaver is in the film a total of maybe five minutes, and it isn't even clear who she is until about an hour into the film. After that mention, you never even see her again. She looks incredibly out of place in the regal Egyptian gear, and issues like this are hard to ignore, especially when such a minor role couldn't have possibly warranted such a big name. Aaron Paul as the slave who does nothing but creep on Moses when no one's looking also adds absolutely nothing other than being a relatively big name for this movie to add to the credits.
The two leads, Christian Bale and Joel Edgarton have decent performances, with Edgarton's Ramses being a pretty interesting performance. The film suffers from not focusing enough on the two leads' relationship growing up as it begins near the end of Moses' time as a Prince of Egypt. Perhaps if some time was actually given to developing the two as brothers, their parting of ways would be more tragic, rather than the abrupt about face Ramses performs in the film. This brings me to another point: the most interesting portion of the film is the opening act in which Moses is still a part of the Egyptian Royal Court. Once his exile commences, there are odd time skips and somewhat unexplained events that drag and drag until the rebellion against the Pharaoh. Thus, this film commits the worst sin possible in cinema. It gets boring. At a bloated 150 minutes, this film drags entirely too long. The most interesting character in the film is Isaac Andrews' performance as the child messenger of God, Marek.
There is nothing gratuitously wrong with the Exodus, the acting ranges from adequate to good, ancient Egypt looks incredible, and the special effects are quite impressive, but all the supporting characters are given barely there characterizations, big names are cast in what amount to nothing roles, and it drags too much near the end. While not an abomination, Exodus fails at the basic function of being entertaining.
Final Say: Don't Watch It (Rent the Prince of Egypt instead)