Exodus: Gods And Kings [2014] ★★½

poster Christian Bale starring as Moses in an epic movie directed by the great Ridley Scott (“Gladiator”) sounds like Oscar bait. Truth is: it isn’t. And the sooner you realize that, the more fun you’ll have at this enjoyable (if overlong) slice of history. It may not be a perfect film, or even a great one, but it has much to recommend it: tremendous ambition, a great cast and amazing sets. You probably know the story by now: Upon learning of his Hebrew identity, the hot-blooded warrior Moses (Bales) rises up against the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses (Joel Edgerton), setting 600,000 slaves on a long and difficult journey of escape from Egypt. The pace of the story is slow at times, but in terms of spectacle, “Exodus: Gods and Kings” delivers what you would expect in the era of CGI: the coming of the plague and the race across the Red Sea are particularly impressive. I must confess though that while I wasn’t bored, I still had trouble connecting with this long movie on an emotional level. Those action highlights got my blood racing, for which I’m grateful, but I wish they were in the context of better storytelling. And ultimately, that’s my problem with the movie. I still give Scott credit, not just for tackling this subject matter, but for making a broadly entertaining, great-looking movie, even with all its flaws. Now excuse me while I go watch Cecil B. DeMille’s classic “The Ten Commandments”.

Rating: 2.5/4

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