Opening in theatres this week from director Ridley Scott and 20th Century Fox comes the fight for freedom with EXODUS: Gods and Kings.

It is the time of King Seti in Egypt as slaves build cities to glorify the royals. Ramses (Joel Edgerton) and cousin Moses (Christian Bale) ride together to keep enemies at bay and protect the city.

When Moses rides to the city of Pithon to investigate Viceroy Hegep (Ben Mendelsohn), he meets Nun (Ben Kingsley) who shocks him. Nun tells the story of a baby who was saved from an edict by his Hebrew mother and sister Miriam (Tara Fitzgerald) by floating the child down the river into the arms of the Pharoah’s sister Bithia (Hiam Abbass).

When the Viceroy discovers the information he goes straight to Ramses who is now Pharaoh. Ramses mother Tuya (Sigourney Weaver) encourages her son to rid the palace of Moses with death but instead Ramses exiles his cousin.

Taken in by a Bedouin family, Moses begins to find happiness with his life and wife Zipporah (Maria Valverde). Living the life of a sheppard lasts many years until a visit to the holy mountain brings Moses to destiny with God.

Now God and Moses returns to Egypt to embrace the Hebrews and help them find freedom!

FINAL WORD: Bale as Moses turns in a performance. He grabs the intensity and goes from warrior to leader all while having an inner battle with humbling himself. I have no doubt Bale took this role seriously, as he does with all his roles, I just wish there was something here that really stood out. Yes, he brought a vulnerable quality to Moses but it was just not enough.

Edgerton as Ramses is all over the place. I could never really tell what was going on with this character. I had more questions then there could possibly be answers unless Scott answered them himself. Edgerton also brings a vulnerable quality to his Ramses but I also could almost never tell if he was mad, sad, or glad – his facial features were always the same.

Kingsley comes in for a few scenes and then disappears only to show up on the Red Sea and then disappears again. I hate that.

Fitzgerald, Abbass, Valverde and Weaver have very, very small roles and Mendelsohn’s caricature of Hegep was so far past annoying.

Other cast includes: Aaron Paul as Joshua, Isaac Andrews as Malak, Indira Varma as the High Priestess, and Golshifteh Farahani as Nefertari.

TUBS OF POPCORN: I give EXODUS: Gods and Kings three tubs of popcorn out of five. Coming in at 150 minutes (almost breaks down to a little over a million dollars per minute) I’m not sure I totally embrace the film. Where the film does have its moments are the special effects i.e. plagues, twisters and one heck of a big wave – all of which are the high points.

When the film was finally over, and trust me when I say that my feet were pointed to the door about an hour before it was, the first thought I had was ‘why was this necessary?’ There just didn’t seem to be any heart in the telling and at times is painful to watch. I certainly didn’t need to sit through ten minutes per plague!

I wanted to like it more but it was impossible because I absolutely adore the 1956 Cecil B. DeMille epic telling with Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner, including the intermission. Now that film has heart, a fantastic score, stunning scenery and characters that just pop from the screen. Made for $13 million and coming in at 220 minutes I have always been riveted from start to finish every time I see it!

As much as I have enjoyed Scott’s work, DeMille got it brilliantly right and I am sticking to that.

In the end – once family they are now enemies!

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Jeri Jacquin

Jeri Jacquin covers film, television, DVD/Bluray releases, celebrity interviews, festivals and all things entertainment.

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