'Exodus' commands awe

December 11, 2014 11:25 PM

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It's a strange thing, the process of seducing an audience into accepting something. Just moments into "Exodus: Gods and Kings," we are confronted with the spectacle of John Turturro dressed as an ancient Egyptian pharaoh. He looks about as comfortable in a headdress as he might if a pelican were standing on his head. Then he starts speaking, and it's an unfamiliar English accent - because as we all know from movies, that's how the ancient Egyptians talked.

Yet within a few minutes, things start to change. Moses (Christian Bale) and his friend Ramses (Joel Edgerton) ride through Egypt in open chariots, and the ancient city looks so magnificent - with the monuments and the pyramids under construction - that we're persuaded to accept anything. It's not a...

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