“Exodus: Gods and Kings” is another swords-and-sandals epic from director Ridley Scott, and Scott is off his game when it comes to accuracy, intrigue and proper use of effects.
In spite of the bigger budget and longer run time, “Exodus” doesn’t add anything new to a story recognized by many. The film sparked controversy for its blatant Anglification of Egyptians, which wasn’t remedied by performances that couldn’t move the plot forward to make it worth three hours on the screen. The film is described as epic when the parting of the Red Sea was treated like an ordinary occurrence. The film does not try to convince viewers that what they’re seeing is important or spectacular, which is hard to enjoy.
Scott, however, does take his time with the progression of the plagues, showing how exhausting they are instead of running through them to speed up the escape. He takes creative liberties, but they don’t detract from the story, which is already detracted by its pace. Though the action moves quickly, the story does not.
Joel Edgerton does his best to make Ramses more human, and his acting abilities lend to his facial and vocal expression. Christian Bale’s Moses is hard to read as he questions his heritage and struggles internally with God. The pair make for grave and entertaining scenes. The cast performed well, but overall the film is more of a biblical bust than a biblical epic.