“Exodus” Lacks Compelling Charm

Christian Bale in "Exodus: Gods and Kings."

HOLLYWOOD—Tackling biblical epics is no easy task to do. While there have been films in the past that have ignited a firestorm with movie lovers, think Charleston Heston in “The Ten Commandments” and Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ,” not many films can capture that magic.

Director Ridley Scott has ventured into this genre with his latest flick “Exodus: Gods and Kings” starring Oscar-winner Christian Bale. The movie examines the importance of the exodus of Hebrews from Egypt as they were lead by Moses, portrayed by Bale himself.

Anyone who has seen “The Ten Commandments” will compare that film with this film. Bale does deliver exemplary work as Moses in the picture, but Scott’s epic doesn’t deliver anything to the audience that we are not already aware of from seeing the original or reading scripture.

This is the tale of how Moses led the Hebrews from Egypt and parted the red sea.  We also examine the tale of how two friends later become mortal enemies when the balance of power shifts and secrets from the past are unveiled. During an attack on the Hittite army with Prince Ramesses (Joel Edgerton), Moses rescues his friend which creates friction in their relationship.

He learns after returning to Pithom the atrocity of slavery and his true lineage which places him in a difficult spot. I will note that “Exodus” does highlight the nobility of a man standing up for what is right and being a voice against injustice, even in biblical times; honor was something that was still important in society, regardless of where you came from.

The biggest problem with this movie is that its running time is a bit long; it clocks in at about 150 minutes. Yeah, “The Ten Commandments” was a little over three hours long, but that time period was vastly different than now. It wasn’t something seen before in cinema, this we’ve seen before.

There are those moments of tedium that seem to only fill empty space in the narrative instead of propelling to its climax. That is the one saving point of the film; it delivers some stunning visuals that were impossible to capture back in the 1940s. The parting of the read sea, epic on every single scale, the same can be said of the battle sequences between the Hebrews and Egyptian army. Those who venture into the multiplex looking for a visual epic will enjoy what is displayed, if narrative is your cup of tea, disappointment will happen.

There are a bevy of sensational actors in the movie including “Breaking Bad” alum Aaron Paul, Sigourney Weaver, Ben Kingsley and John Turturro. Unfortunately the actors are given that opportunity to showcase their full talents with the characters given to them. “Exodus: Gods and Kings” gives the audience a new perspective on the biblical epic involving Moses, unfortunately its not as captivating as one would have hoped.