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Exceptional Beings | Film Threat

Feb 1, 2023

Co-directed by Christian Kazadi and screenwriter Njedeh Anthony, the fantasy drama Exceptional Beings posits that the ancient Greek gods do exist. Athena (Ciarra Carter) despises humanity, viewing them as insects. Her first reaction to anything is violence, as she’s always seething with rage. Mostly that fury is funneled toward her hatred of her Father, all the elder gods, and their love of their puny humans. But when she finally meets Methuselah (Jean Charles) after a heated exchange with her sister Apollo (Victoria Antonelli), Athena witnesses something unexpected. Athena is now on a quest to reconcile her life with the religious views of humans and is trying to understand her place in it all.
Contrasting Athena’s temper is Hermes (Dane Oliver), a calm presence who seems content observing people before making his move. Hermes sees the same surprising thing that Athena did: a human woman named Mina (Rachel Thundat) can see the gods, even when they wish to remain invisible. She was there for Athena’s fateful meeting. How and why can a normal human break the magic of the gods? Is Athena right in trying to kill her first? Or is Apollo’s method of deep appreciation the answer?

“…a human woman…can see the gods, even when they wish to remain invisible.”
Exceptional Beings starts off very rough. There’s a voiceover narration explaining the “light and darkness” and how the children of gods want the light to shine upon them. There’s also something, something a truce. This is accompanied by a quick succession of snippets from scenes that (obviously) haven’t played out yet. The opening gives off the feeling of a “Last week on X…” television episode or a sequel film hoping to catch up with folks who have seen the first, just not in a while. It is very off-putting and more confounding than engaging. There is a book, Godhood, that continues these characters’ adventures, but obviously, it’s a sequel and not a prequel, so that doesn’t help matters here.
But stick with it, as the movie does find its footing and becomes fairly engrossing. For starters, Anthony’s dialogue sounds realistic, given the scenario, and the contrasting viewpoints of the gods are interesting. Athena visits Apollo under the guise of getting a painting. She talks about how feeble humankind is and how superior she and her kin are. Apollo counters with the discussion of human imagination and marvels at their ability to create, learn, and advance science. A decamillennium ago, Apollo, Athena, and all of the other gods were in awe of the science and construction of Noah’s Ark. Could they (the gods) have ever conceived of computers and planes back then? What of the music and plays humans create?

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