Written by Njedeh Anthony and directed by Njedeh Anthony and Christian Kazadi, Exceptional Beings is a 2023 feature length drama that stars Eric Roberts, Clarke Moore, Dane Oliver, Rachel Thundat, Jean Charles and Ciarra Carter.
Two supernatural beings encounter a human female. This unexpected encounter sets off a chain of events that leads these beings on a journey they thought was no longer possible. As they search for answers both inside and out, they embark on a fascinating journey that will change the whole perspective of their existence.
Exceptional Beings is not like most films; it is a thought provoking and morally complex tale that needs a higher level of functioning to truly appreciate in its entirety. Anthony and Kazadi have created a gem, one that will challenge you and dare you. While the subject matter of the story will take some patience to take a liking to, it will intellectually stimulate you. A philosophical narrative is very hard to structure in a logical manner, but the creators have managed to do an exceptional job in this regard.
A sprawling epic that takes us across the cosmos, Exceptional Beings is both technically and thematically nuanced. There is genius in the story, and it is there in plain sight for people to behold. The film takes its sweet time to get going but once it does, the audience is taken for a wild ride. For such a complex subject matter, the Filmmakers should be commended for keeping the narrative pacing perfect. The film does not lag in any place and each moment is carefully curated in the service of the story. Furthermore, not one instant feel boring or dragging. The editing here is razor sharp and the film whizzes by.
Speaking of the performances, they are as diverse and fantastic as the script demands. Each actor brings his A-game to the table. Particular standouts are Clarke Moore, Jean Charles, Victoria Antonelli and Ciarra Carter. Victoria Antonelli plays Apollo, and she brings a potent energy to her character that is hard to miss. Ciarra Carter is Athena, displaying all the poise and grandiose regality demanded of her. Equally impressive is Eric Roberts as Poseidon. Sporting a thick scruffy beard, Roberts is unrecognizable both in makeup and in mannerisms. He brings a type of aura to the table that elevates the entire production. Njedeh and Kazadi know their actors inside out, thanks to their skill and foresight, each character fits the role in the story perfectly.
Equally impressive is the cinematography and production design that not only perfectly encapsulates the complex dogma at display but also the various moral conundrums illustrated at various points in the story. Using a combination of visual shots that encapsulate a variety of depths, the audience is provided a detailed insight into how the complex central narrative takes shape. Using both the darkness and the bright colours to show the sprawling battle taking place, the film cleverly uses the visual medium to complement its narrative. On an equal note, it is the fantastic sound design of the film that adds a further layer of authenticity to the philosophical battle, allowing us to empathise with the characters in a way that hits right at our hearts.
While the film is for every type of filmgoer, a rudimentary knowledge of Greek mythology will undoubtedly help. Also, like every mind-bending film, multiple viewings may be required to fully understand it. This is not a shortcoming but a compliment. Subtle clues and titbits are hidden in the story that will make it fresh and original even after multiple viewings. Some might be quick to label this as an avant garde production but in our opinion, these labels distract oneself from truly enjoying the creative expression on display.
A fantastic ode to Greek mythology that is equal parts philosophical and metaphorical, Exceptional Beings is a film for the thinking man. It is everything a film aficionado could ask for. It takes a niche topic and goes deep into it, presenting a story that is moving, interesting and powerful. The direction is fantastic, the acting sublime and it all comes together at the very end. Njedeh Anthony and Christian Kazadi have made a poignant film, one that not only succeeds in more ways than one but moves the audience into understanding the complex philosophy that they are trying to impart upon us all. The production was made by Nigerian American Immigrants, Njedeh Anthony and Justin Ifeanyi Morgan.