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Soundtrack review: Exodus: Gods and kings (Alberto Iglesias – 2014)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Exodus: Gods and kings (Alberto Iglesias – 2014)

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When I heard about the movie “Exodus: Gods and Kinds” I was really excited: Ridley Scott and a biblical epic? The story of Moses starring Christian Bale? Bring it! I was of course even more curious about the score, knowing Ridley’s history. He had replaced Hans Zimmer with Marc Streitenfeld for the last few movies, but the scores worked very well. Yet, this time, the name on the cover was Alberto Iglesias… I have to admit I kind of frowned. I am very familiar with his work and I’ve enjoyed most of his scores. But a biblical epic? Didn’t sound like his style…

…and I don’t think it was. I think Alberto Iglesias is too sensible and careful to go all in for an epic score. I mean we get here the plague, hail, looting and I don’t get that from the score. I remember how I felt listening to Clint Mansell’s score for Noah. It shook my insides, moved me, and made me feel strong inside. It was heavy and powerful and I still tremble when I listen to some cues from it.
Alberto Iglesias took the road of kindness and wrote some beautiful motifs… the choirs and the vocals are gentle and sweeping, the instrumentation Arabic and evoking the desert. Things get even deeper when “We cross the mountains “, because the cello in this cue gives me goose bumps.

And then we go “Into the water”… we go gently… quietly… carefully… I know what will follow, and Alberto Iglesias plays the anticipation of a miracle perfectly. I feel like I am there, watching Moses go into the water. The silence is tangible… Then Federico Jusid comes to help and the waters are split! You can feel that with all the might of the true epic cue of this score. The choir, the instrumentation, the emotion, this cue just falls over me with the force of that ocean split in two. There’s no fear, just awe at the might of what I just heard. One of the best cues of the year! Jusid takes over then and the next track, “The chariots” is as powerful as it should be. It rattles me, it moves me, it inspires me. From then on, the score takes off and finishes on a great high. “Tsunami” is another exciting track, written by Harry Gregson Williams. It is one of the best cues he’s written in recent years.

Before the waters split, I wanted to say that compared to Ben Hur or even Noah, “Exodus” goes quietly in the background and that as a standalone listen it was a very pleasant experience and it reminded me of “Passion of the Christ”. After that powerful ending, I think the problem for me was that I went in with my expectations raised too high. I knew the subject, I saw the trailer, I wanted a massive epic score. I wanted long cues, a powerful theme at least, and didn’t get that. An epic movie score with 32 cues, most of them roughly 2 minutes long just didn’t seem to work for me. But once the other composers came to help and the cues got longer, I finally understood and connected with this score. I’m sure it will grow in me with more listens and it will surely get that chance. Right now I am left with the pleasant sensation of the wind caressing my skin and with the deafening echo of the waters being split.

Cue rating: 73 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 36 / 78

Album excellence: 46%

Highlights:

Returning To Memphis

Ramses Retaliates

Goodbyes

Alone In The Desert

I Need A General

Exodus

Moses & Nun

Lamb’s Blood

We Cross The Mountains

Into The Water

The Chariots

The Hebrews

Tsunami

The Ten Commandments

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Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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