Overview: This is the biblical tale of Moses who manages to lead around 4, 00,000 Israelites from the wrath of Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses.
Moses (played by Christian Bale) learns about his real identity of being a Hebrew slave from an elder nun (Ben Kingsley). After knowing that, Moses leads 400,000 Hebrew slaves from Egypt to faraway Canaan. The story revolves around how Moses while battling his self-doubt, meets God and how God with his divine power helps Moses and the other slaves to escape the wrath of furious Pharaoh Ramses (Joel Edgerton).
Claps For: The audience notices a grown-up Moses (His origins are explained in the latter part of the film). Moses lives in Turturro palace of the Pharaoh Seti located in Memphis city across River Nile. Ridley Scott has portrayed the magnificent palace beautifully.
Moses is a man who does not believe in ceremonies but pragmatism. He is brutally brave and honest. Seti- the Egyptian Pharaoh conspicuously favors Moses over his actual son by blood- Ramses (Joel Edgerton). This depicts the king's honesty towards worth and merit rather than prejudice. (This contradicts with the Dritirashtra's prejudice over his own son Duryodhan than the more meritorious Yuddhisthir in Mahabharata, remember?)
Seti presents Ramses and Moses with 2 beautiful, flamboyant swords. Seti tells both to look after each other on battlefield like brothers. Moses's loyalty towards Seti and brotherhood is clearly revealed in the battle against the Hittites. Moses saves the life of Ramses in the battle.
Later, Moses visits the Pithom city. There an elder Nun (Ben Kingsley) reveals the true identity of Moses. Soon after learning that he is a Hebrew, Moses returns to Memphis. Ramses inherits the throne and later knows about Moses's true identity. Ramses thus sends Moses for exile. Moses settles down in faraway Canaan and marries Zipporah (Valverde) who is portrayed a strikingly vivid beauty. It is here on Mount Sinai that Moses encounters the ultimate God in the form of a small child Malak (Isaac Andrews). Moses then leaves for his monumental mission to free Hebrew salves from the tyranny of Ramses with the help of God.
Superlative Visuals and Action:
I was awestruck seeing the amazing visuals of the movies. It can only be described using superlatives. The scenes especially the God's 10 plagues with which the God shows his divine power upon the Egyptians signaling Ramses to emancipate the slaves are exhilarating. The Nile filled with bloody red, masses of flies spreading dread and disease and the sinister shadow of death swaying like a dreadful cold hand will hold your breath. Also you will like the battle scenes-crashing chariots and splintering spears followed by flaming arrows and the thud of metal against metal.
The portrayal of Ramses's cold-blooded disrespect for God's will and human life is appalling.
Slaps For: A tad long the movie fails to generate that emotional link. The parts involving interpersonal relationships could have been more mature.
Scott has undoubtedly shown breathtakingly beautiful scenes and images whether it is the frogs rising from bloody rivers or ships set ablaze on moonlit waves. However, least attention is given to the depth of the story. I found least depth behind the shown imagery. At times the movie gives a felling of a great Old Testament highlighted reel rather than a convincing story on its own right.
The character of Moses seems poorly-defined. There are few dramatically inert scenes depicting God's portrayal on earth- Malak (played by Isaac Andrews). The scenes hardly portray any real insight into Moses's emotional life. As a result, Moses's struggle to free the Hebrew slaves and the tile itself- Exodus, is strangely uninvolving.
As a viewer, I don't get any good reason to care or connect with Moses and his mission. The only evident thing is to save the slaves from the egomaniacal tyrant- Ramses. Comparing with brilliant performances of Christian Bale in Nolan's Batman series, his portrayal of Moses as a dour, gloomy figure in Exodus is hard to empathize.
My grave disappointment was to see one of my favorite characters Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) of the Breaking Bad fame getting such a negligent role of Joshua. He is broadly just shown hiding behind the shrubs and watching Moses communicate with God.
Catchy Moments: I felt Edgerton's role meatier especially the scene when he's milking cobras bare-chested. The scene is brilliantly portrayed showing Ramses's fearlessly dealing with the horde of cobras. There's a scene where Ramses picks up a cobra by his neck when the cobra accentuates its fangs!
It also shows Ramses's nature of pride and lust for power. Ramses states himself as the ultimate God and believes no God can overpower him. His jealousy towards Moses for his father favoring Moses over him, clearly gives his character a depth.
Verdict: In a nutshell, Exodus is a bold film showing some brilliant pulverizing and thrilling scenes. However, failing to be more detailed in a suitable accent and portrayal of characters, the movie somewhat fails to create a spluttering connection with your soul.