Exodus: Gods and Kings - Review

Joel Edgerton as Ramses in 'Exodus: Gods and Kings'.
Joel Edgerton as Ramses in 'Exodus: Gods and Kings'.

Ridley Scott is one of the greatest ever film-makers the world has ever seen.

Scott was the visionary autere responsible for the truly amazing ‘Blade Runner’, ‘Alien’ and ‘Gladiator’ but his constant pursuit of the perfect epic is proving not just elusive but utterly obsessive.

Scott struck gold with ‘Gladiator’ in 2000 but since then he has attempted to recapture the magic with ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ and ‘Robin Hood’ - both of which where utterly disappointing.

Whilst ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings’ might not be as bad as the two aforementioned films it is far the joy experienced from watching the likes of ‘Gladiator’ et al.

In this film, Scott attempts to re-tell the Bible story of how Moses led enslaved Hebrews away from Egypt and towards freedom in their ancestorial home of Canaan.

Despite the fact that the film is set in the North African country of Egypt, all of the main characters are played by white western actors.

When quizzed about his decision not to cast any Egyptian or North African actors in any of the lead rolls, Scott said “I can’t mount a film of this budget and say that my lead actor is Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such.”

White Australian actor, Ben Mendelsohn plays a vile Egyptian envoy and is caked in so much fake tan that he wouldn’t look out of place as an Oompa Loompa.

The allegations of casual racism aside, ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings’ starts of very well but as the film reaches its middle and end it really is hard to care.

There’s one scene where Joel Edgerton’s Ramses is stood bare-chested caressing a rather large snake - seeing really is believing how utterlu insane this movie is at times.

God is played by an 11 year-old boy who would be more at home on the stage during the Féis Dhoíre Cholmcílle and the attempt towards the end of the movie to cite the current and on going situation in the Middle East is vomit inducing.

‘Exodus: Gods and Kings’ does look great though and the way in which Scott captures the seven plagues set upon Egypt by God is impressive.

Although it’s pleasing to the eyes, what’s underneath is pretty silly and some parts of the film are just plain crazy.

VERDICT: 2/5 - A miracle of Biblical proportions would not go close to injecting Ridley Scott’s ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings’ with enough excitement to make it palatable. Regardless of your views on religion, the story of Moses is riveting which leads me to question why and indeed how Ridley Scott managed to make it so ridiculous and so utterly boring. The decision to cast white Western actors in all of the lead roles was misjudged and any attempt at contemporary commentary is just completely wrong.