Exodus: Gods and Kings
Ridley Scott’s attempt at giving the story of Moses a 21st century revamp backfires as this biblical tale hits a few too many bum notes. An extremely slow starter, an interesting dynamic between the impressive, yet restricted, pairing of Christian Bale (Moses) and Joel Edgerton (Pharaoh Ramses) is lost amongst a ropey narrative and drawn out, tiresome sequences that flatter to deceive.
The film only kicks into gear as the plague hits, yet Exodus fails to capture that same intensity in its closing scenes as it peters out to an extremely disappointing anti-climax. It is a film which, if it played out as good as it looked, it could have been special, but unfortunately it lacks severely in both character and charisma, as well as being far too long for its own good. A disappointing bore.
Angelina Jolie returns to directorial duties with the fascinating wartime tale of Olympic runner Louis Zamperini (Jack O’Connell). Zamperini, who represented the United States in the 1936 Olympics in Germany, crashed into the Pacific Ocean while he was a member of the U.S. armed forces during WW2. After spending 47 days on a life raft along with fellow crash survivor, Phil (Domnhall Gleeson), the pair are captured and held up (separately) in Japanese prisoner-of-war camps until the end of the war.
Despite a structurally uneven opening to proceedings, Jolie, through a masterful performance from O’Connell, successfully captures the traumatic, and at times hard to believe, ordeal which the Olympian went through. Zamperini was battered, beaten, and bruised – both physically and mentally – and although It may lack the epic feel of other war films in regards to both action and intensity, Unbroken is a gripping story captured very well through the strength of its performances and the director’s skilful use of imagery. What the Derby-born O’Connell does not say in words, he captures perfectly with a pain-filled expression or look, in what is an understated, yet career-defining performance.