Moses, an adopted Egyptian prince who becomes the deliverer of his real brethren, tries to release the enslaved Hebrews after a meeting with God.
You could argue that Cecil B. DeMille epic The Ten Commandments (1956) is predictable, the critics calling Exodus predictable is comparable to saying the Titanic’s ending is predictable.
Anachronisms, historical inaccuracies, religion and DeMille’s epic aside, Exodus is a half marathon and spectacular looking film. Ridley Scott’s take on the story of Moses does appear chopped and in turn the ending feels unjustly rushed. Just like the Kingdom of Heaven’s theatrical release (possibly to appease cinema showing times or demographics preview audiences who believe they’re Siskel and Ebert by the end of the evening).
The acting is at a level you’d expect, Sigourney Weaver is imposing in her limited screen time as Tuya, Joel Edgerton is notable and his Ramesses II is developed. Christian Bale gives another intense performance, his Moses is what you expect for a contemporary retelling. Sadly given its running time the great supporting cast including the likes of Aaron Paul and Ben Kingsley are underused. María Valverde’s Zipporah does steal every scene and the actress gives Bale a run for his money.
Arguably there’s more birds eye view shots than a family pack of fish fingers, still you can’t help enjoy Scott’s scope, sweeping camera work and direction which is unprecedented. The costumes are first rate and the Egypt setting is encapsulating. Although not as memorable as Gladiator 1999’s score, Alberto Iglesias music certainly complements the ancient setting, sets and special effects (some of which are more convincing than others).
Exodus (and the unnecessarily subtitled Gods and Kings) is dedicated to his late brother Tony, Scott’s offering is sober in its delivery, logical and palatable for the modern general audience, the 10 Plagues somewhat explained like a National Geographic Channel special, and the parting of the Red Sea Tsunami in nature. That’s said, Scott cleverly keeps it ambiguous, retaining its divine mystique. Is God real or in his mind, or is God a little child with great powers, it’s left to the audience to decide.
For such a well-known tale, and through no fault of its own, by default it’s difficult to be truly wowed and surprised. However, for those unfamiliar with the story and viewing it fresh it would be easy to be blown away by Scott’s vision, scope, sweeping camera work and direction.