I cannot get away from the idea that Ridley, still reeling from Tony's unfortunate death, approached a Biblical blockbuster narrative as a personal confrontation with faith, brotherhood and mortality. What comes out of the struggle is a vicious agnostic realism that tries despairingly to justify historical fantasy for depth, but can't bring itself to embrace it. To quote, "All is vanity, and chasing after the wind."
On a technical level, as impressive as anything else Scott has directed. However, even at 150 minutes, the story feels like a truncated summary of a myth, and the lack of a meaty setup makes the ending's emotional release feel overly portentous and unearned. Supporting actors being browned with makeup is off-putting enough to frequently break the film's spell. Could there perhaps be a more substantive director's cut?
More a realistic-looking war epic than a Biblical fantasy crowd-pleaser - and all the better for it. Breathtaking in scope and action, and surprisingly precise in its characterizations, despite whatever ethnically dubious casting choices. Scott's expertise in the machinery of the genre reaches its pinnacle, as does his natural talent for world building. The God-child is a stroke of genius.
This is excellent entertainment: a fascinating bible-cornerstone story (exactly according to it or not, this is not the issue here); outstanding visual effects; wonderful cloths, colors, equipment and perfection in every detail; great camera. Lean back, enjoy it and have fun. There is no business like show business. Unmistakeably Ridley Scott!