Entertainment Hive 2017

Exodus: Gods and Kings

Review by Honey B

Director: Ridley Scott Cast: Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, Sigourney Weaver, John Turturro, Aaron Paul, Ben Kingsley Plot: From acclaimed director Ridley Scott (Gladiator, Prometheus) comes the epic adventure Exodus: Gods and Kings, the story of one man's daring courage to take on the might of an empire. Using state of the art visual effects and 3D immersion, Scott brings new life to the story of the defiant leader Moses (Christian Bale) as he rises up against the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses (Joel Edgerton), setting 600,000 slaves on a monumental journey of escape from Egypt and its terrifying cycle of deadly plagues. Verdict: The biblical story of Moses has had its big screen makeover thanks to director Ridley Scott – and it is bold, epic and impressive in all of its 3D glory. The Exodus story is one of the most well-known and Scott doesn’t stick to the safe ground and rely solely on big budget plagues for his re-telling. Scott and his team of writers, including Steven Zaillian and Jefrey Caine, question or take a new look at events rather than taking the path well-trodden. Yes, there’s a bit of science thrown into the Egyptians deliberation about the cause of the different plagues - the fish died because the water was full of silt, but the frogs could get out. This could be contentious with some religious viewers and surely the Egyptians were much more superstitious and looked to the heavens for signs, from their own gods at least. The other bone of contention is the depiction of God as a petulant child and at times, Moses  (Christian Bale) seems like the more mature one as God brings his wrath down on the people of Egypt with Moses even asking: “Are you done yet?’’ (the language is also quite contemporary). Still there’s no denying that this film is a spectacle on a grand scale and it features lavish sets and a complex plot full of kinship, rivalry, ambition and betrayal. Most people will know the story: Moses and Rhamses (Joel Edgerton) are raised as brothers by the Pharaoh Seti (John Turturro) with his son Rhamses set to inherit the kingdom. Moses was born to Hebrew parents at a time when male babies were being slaughtered by the Pharoah to stop any uprising in the future. He was found in the rushes of the Nile by the Pharoah’s daughter and she raised him as her own and he grew to be the leader of the Hebrews as he led them out of Egypt to the promised land. Ratting Moses out as a Hebrew is Ben Mendelsohn as the viceroy Hegep who is enjoying the life of luxury to extremes and he doesn’t take kindly to Moses calling him corrupt. Mendelsohn is a touch of light relief in this very serious film as he gets his underhanded way and becomes Ramses’ advisor. Bale’s Moses is quite conflicted and is full of complexities as he doesn’t believe the story of his origins, let alone that he will lead these people out of Egypt. Bale also shares some beautifully tender moments with Maria Valverde as his wife Zipporah – just adding to the depth of his character. Edgerton turns up the ego as the impatient, materialistic and cruel Pharoah, but in the scenes with his young son you see the fragility. While there is a connection between Moses and Ramses, this could have been strengthened a little more to show their true bond as “brothers’’. Really, it’s the plagues that drive this film and the bigger, better and bolder approach that moviegoers want to see and Scott nicely amps up each disaster as the river runs red with blood, animals die, locusts swarm the city, hail rains down and finally the eerie Passover – which sends a chill down your spine. As Moses leads his people out of the devastated city, the stakes are raised again as Ramses has a change of heart and chases them to the red sea in a perilous chariot cliff top charge – the determination on Edgerton’s face is palpable as is the fear on Mendelsohn’s. Don’t look over the edge! However the parting of the sea was disappointing with the sea not really parting but going out. Although, when the sea comes back in again the giant wall of water is extremely spectacular. (Films are rated out of five stars)
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