Exodus: Gods and Kings (2015, spoilers): So awkward, so dull, worst Ridley Scott film… ever.
Exodus: Gods and Kings (2015, spoilers): Probably the biggest shame of Exodus: Gods and Kings was not that it cast mostly white actors… but that this was the film dedicated to the memory of Ridley Scott’s recently deceased brother, Tony. I find that incredibly sad. Tony deserved better, especially with just how badly written Exodus ended up being.
The cast can best be described as awkward and miscast through and through, from John Turturro as the Pharoh and father, to Sigourney Weaver as Tuya. Probably the only cast member that doesn’t look awkward in his role was Ben Kingsley, but he also doesn’t really add all that much to the film, either. Ramses was terrible. Terribly written, terribly acted, just overall bad, while Moses spent much of the running time in awkward interactions with other characters or often laughable interactions with ‘god’, played by a little kid (not that something like this couldn’t work… it just doesn’t, here).
The biggest failure of this film was not establishing the key central bond between the two ‘brother’ characters, Moses and Ramses, and that left all of their interactions cold and meaningless. That left all of the meat of the film nonexistent. This should have been the core driving point of the film… two brothers, torn apart by circumstances and prophecy… and pitted against each other. There needed to be a sadness between the two whenever they interacted, lingering between them, a reluctance to move against each other. Instead, we just got more awkwardness. The only scene where there seemed to be any real remorse between them was when Moses warned Ramses about the death of all first-borns in Egypt… except, it was so badly written that it wasn’t much of a warning at all, but some vague ‘you should protect your son’ bit that made no sense.
Whole sequences could have been left out and the film wouldn’t change at all, such as everything to do with Moses’s family (his wife and son). Or the sequences showing Moses training the slaves how to fight. Why did those exist? After the opening battle sequence, there were no fighting sequences. All these training segments did was fill up wasted time.
And that opening battle sequence only served to show a badly staged instance where Moses saved Ramses… and that was this film. Badly staged, not even compelling on an epic, visual scale. The visuals were dull. The plagues and even the staging of the red sea parting, all of it, was uninspired with barely any visual anything to back it up. The film even looked like it was going to give us one last thrill as the sea was coming to crash in, where Moses and Ramses would finally meet in one final sword to sword battle… then nope, fooled you! Yes, it would have been ridiculous… but it would have been something. This film gave nothing.
This film is easily Ridley Scott’s worst. I don’t think he has ever misfired this badly before.