STARRING: Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, Aaron Paul, Sigourney Weaver, John Turturro, Ben Kingsley
DIRECTOR: Ridley Scott
THE SKINNY: Moses (Bale), the adopted son of the Pharaoh Seti (Turturro), has a great relationship with Seti's weird son Rhamses (Edgerton). Their bond is tested when Moses finds out he is actually Jewish and not Egyptian. Moses ends up leading the Jewish slaves in a rebellion, and then all kinds of weird natural disasters start occurring, inspiring Moses to lead his people out of Egypt.
A Mars look by Jason Johnson
Director Ridley Scott dedicates Exodus to his younger brother Tony Scott, who committed suicide in 2012.
It was not until I saw the dedication at the end of the movie that the film made sense to me.
This is a movie about brothers.
Moses is principled and accomplished. Rhamses is more than slightly off.
They both go through a lot of crazy stuff together and in the end, one emerges triumphant while the other is utterly crushed.
No points for guessing which of the bros Scott identifies with.
It is hard to say if he consciously intended to make a movie about his feelings towards Tony.
Maybe I'm way off base, and Exodus has absolutely nothing to do with Tony.
But I do not think so.
The thing that really gives it away is the deep sadness of Rhamses and Scott's empathy for him.
Rhamses is not mentally healthy, but he is no monster.
Bale plays Moses as a savvy survivor and stolid leader, which is how I imagine Ridley Scott.
Edgerton's Rhamses is a haunted soul, which is what poor Tony must have been to do what he did.
This may have the trappings of a biblical epic, but to me it seems a deeply personal, and very sad, film.
A Venus look by Joanne Soh
Exodus is indeed biblical - when it comes to its massive scale and battle scenes.
Scott has made it very clear that his version is about the life of a man who is an icon in each of the world's three major religions: Christianity, Judaism and Islam.
He has also stated that the parting of the Red Sea is based purely on science and not divine power.
Apart from not capturing the essence of the source material and making Moses' encounters with God more like hallucinations of a madman, it is also really hard not to compare Exodus to Cecil B DeMille's The Ten Commandments (1956), starring the mesmerising and towering Charlton Heston.
Bale, as talented as he is, does not possess the same commanding presence.
Neither is Edgerton's Rhamses as charismatic and fanatical as Yul Brynner's.
This film clearly focuses on Moses as a reluctant hero, and that is painted well, thanks to Bale's credible performance.
Also, the rivalry between Moses and Rhamses is nicely fleshed out, with their stark differences made clear right from the start.
The special effects of the plagues are pretty impressive, though the one with crocodiles comes across a tad cheesy.
Despite its lengthy 150-minute running time, some parts felt like they have been crudely chopped, perhaps kept for the director's cut.
THE CONSENSUS: Certainly an epic undertaking, though some might not like the liberties it takes with the source material.
This article was first published on December 10, 2014.
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