|Index||4 reviews in total|
First of all let's start with the good stuff that I can comment on.
Great production values. Very well directed, and seemed to be high
budget (whether it was, or was just well executed, I don't know). It
was great to see something so well produced in the UK, when the other
channels dish up endless reality shows like Celebrities Dancing In The
Jungle. Channel 4 must be applauded for creating original programming,
and when it comes to a programme like this it really is original.
However that doesn't mean it worked. I just didn't get it, or understand it. When it was tackling accessible things (such as racial tensions and segregation of populations) it was great. But when Moses is turning the sea red with some bacteria which kills people, I just go "eh?". And I think that's where the bible influence lets this production down.
I don't know the bible, so I expect that a lot of the story and its strange plot points comes directly from that. And whereas I could watch Romeo + Juliet and get pleasure from how they'd taken Shakespeare and updated it, and nod knowingly at a gun with 'dagger' written down its side thrown into the sand, I think Exodus loses out in this way because I just plain don't know what they're on about or what their influence is. And that leaves to the plot points being odd.
That also leads to a clash of stories. These people are segregated, being killed off randomly, but not killed off completely and they have the power to take down the internet with a massive virus and crash stock markets. Erm, yeah, okay. It just doesn't make sense.
So I didn't get it, and I think that's because they rely on you knowing the bible. But as I said in the first paragraph, I'm glad Channel 4 are creating such things. After all, I don't come on here to comment on the drivel that the BBC and ITV create. So at the very least Channel 4 engaged me to think a bit while watching TV today.
I thought the exodus film was quite good, watching this being filmed I
tried to put parts of the story together with very few bits missing.
For me I was gripped in the story and liked the way they used modern
terrorism tactics to create new plagues that were relevant to the here
and now. It was quite shocking to see the places that I had grown up
loving, looking like a mass concentration camp.
I felt that they used all their good resources creating the scene of Dreamland but very little for the ending. Personally, I think I was cheated out of a good ending and I sat wondering afterwards whether they reached their time limits within the area or they just ran out of money.
Twenty years ago Pharaoh Mann came to power in Margate on a wave of
anti-immigrant feeling. His wife stands by him but disagrees with him
politically. Her heart shows through by taking in an immigrant's baby
that had been abandoned calling him Moses. Now two decades later
Margate has become own-ruled and has been divided into two parts. One
part is where the "normal" people living but the former attraction area
of dreamland has been turned into a camp for criminals, immigrants, the
homeless, the unemployed, the disabled and so on. Moses is now a man,
with liberal views and a flirty way with his maid who is allowed out
of Dreamland to work. When she is fired, he goes after her but a fatal
scuffle with security sees Moses hiding in the camp and discovering his
background and destiny.
Back in 2006 I saw a documentary on Gormley's waste man sculpture that was made for this film to use. In that documentary I still remember the rather pretentious air around those involved with it, even if the documentary did well to balance it with people confused and bemused by it all. It was to be just over a year before I saw the main feature on channel 4. Unfortunately the force of creative presence that I sensed in Woolcock in that documentary is the thing that drives the film. As a result Exodus is all too arty and creative and it undermines what I was looking for the film to do, which was be topical, impacting and insightful.
It is not like the topics are not there (immigration, racism, terrorism all the "isms" in fact) but they just aren't as well delivered as I would have wanted. Maybe it is because of how similar it feels to the much better Children of Men (an impression made worse by the presence of Ashitey, who appears to be trying to corner a niche genre market) but the themes just don't grip me as they did in that film although they are similar Exodus just didn't make that many points considering what it was doing. The fault must lie with Woolcock, who cannot bring her material together into what really should have been cutting when viewed in respect to modern life in Britain today. As it is she seems to have made making the film the way she did her focus rather than thinking about the end product. The focus on process is commendable but unsuccessful. OK, so well done trying something different, using local people, bringing in art installations as part of the film and attempting to base your story on the bible but making it modern however it doesn't work. The Waste Man doesn't really fit and seems unnecessary and for the sake of having art in there; the locals stand out a mile with "am-dram" delivery and so on.
The cast are not all this way though. Percival is solid while Hill at least adds value thanks to the way he hams it up like it is his last act on earth. Ashitey is the only one that convinces in her fiery performance and more could have been made of her confrontation of Moses' terrorist acts. Below them things aren't great although this was the risk of the creative process.
Overall then this is a flawed film that disappoints in the delivery as much as it attracts attention in the process. Credit to Woolcock for the way she has made this film and what she has tried to do but it all counts for naught in a script that fails to do anything of real significance with the many themes in rams into its biblical retelling. I wanted to like it but I'm afraid my advice would be to leave this and watch Children of Men because it is worth more of your time. If you have already seen it, then I would suggest leaving Exodus anyway or you'll forever be comparing the two.
Another Orwell inspired world. This kind of film drives me a little
mad. I'm always fascinated by the pure visual possibilities of
inventing a world, where you can do nearly anything. You can recreate
the technology, you can invent how people dress, move, think. You can
structure your own social environment. How great is that? Orwell
envisioned and recreated the notion for modern audiences, but this is a
long tradition that is rooted for a long time in anglo-Saxon tradition.
Thomas Moore may have started it. The problem is that, in order for
these worlds to function, and to make an audience, or a reader, connect
to them, they have to be a very clear mirror to our own world,
expressed in the simplification of its moral issues. In other words,
you have to exaggerate the notions of good and evil, draw a very clear
line, and place the people in the world on one side or the other. This
one has a character literally crossing from one to the other.
Here the writers, aiming to reach a television audience, fished the story from the Bible. Now the Exodus is an incredibly rich book, filled with signification, but here they took the flesh and merely kept (some of) the bones. It's a merely update of the original events. OK for the kind of marketing i suspect this film was supposed to have. But not good enough to be interesting. And it assumes as trivial a rich text, and it is also a loss for all of us whenever someone simplifies any element of transcendental qualities.
The problem is the immense of moralizing that is made here. So we have the bad "natives" oppressing the poor "immigrants". Oh, but the immigrants are also not innocent, and even the peace prophet ends up succumbing to the violence against which he stood. This is too much for me, i suppose there is an audience that will tolerate and applause this, but i'm not the guy. The last (very) good film made that attempts the creation of a dark world, orwell based, was Children of Men. It worked for me because, among many other qualities, it cleverly placed a far more interesting existential theme at the center of the narrative, one that exceeds the mere "good-bad" thing. This one even gets one of the main actresses in that film, the one who, in Children of Men was the pregnant woman, the immigrant who suddenly was the light for all to follow, in a metaphorical very well written part. Here she performs a similar role, of the woman who bridges 2 antagonic worlds, but without any of the interest of Children of Men.
I recognize. This world is believable, the slums are very well achieved with (i think) not such large resources. There is a clever handling of sets and an illusion of space. It is not City of God nor Slumdog, but it works. The humanoid sculpture is also a good piece.
My opinion: 2/5
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