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Movie Review: The Book of Eli (January, 2010)

Directors: Albert Hughes, illness Allen Hughes
Screenplay: Gary Whitta
Release Date: January 15, cheap 2010
Actors: Denzel Washington, cost Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis, Jennifer Beals, Michael Gambon, Frances de la Tour

It’s a post apocalyptic world, and Eli Walker has been walking for many years. Thirty years after the end of days, after a huge war and ‘the flash’, in which the sun turned the world into ash, Eli is in the middle of his quest to protect and deliver the book that he carries to the west. It is his calling and he intends to see it through. The world however, has turned to hell, or so it seems. There are savages riding on motorcycles that rape women and kill other men for their supplies. Water is a hot commodity, and people kill for it. The sun is so strong, people have to wear sunglasses to protect their eyes from going blind.

I wasn’t sure what to expect going into the theatre for this one. I had seen previews and clips of it on talk shows and at the Warner Brothers panel at last year’s Comic-con. They even showed an animation surrounding the book at the convention last year that left me slightly confused.

As I had suspected though, Eli has the bible in his possession. (Don’t worry, this isn’t too much of a spoiler). Through some unfortunate circumstances, he walks into town to find someone to charge his ipod (first of all, how does an ipod work after 30 years? Can someone explain to me that? Mine died after 2 years!). At the same time, he decides to find himself some water in the town’s bar which ends in trouble. Carnegie (Gary Oldman) is the town’s shrewd and mean head man, and he’s looking for a book… the one that Eli carries. His partner Claudia has a daughter, Solara (Mila Kunis), who ends up getting involved in Eli’s affairs and joins him for her own protection from Carnegie.

Highly stylized, slow, panning views of the post apocalyptic world add to the feeling of desolation and despair under the Hughes’ brothers direction.

A few things are a bit silly. How everyone can look so beat up in the sun except for Solara and her mother is beyond me. They can’t always avoid the sun for the sake of preserving their skin.

The movie swings from seriousness to comedic, and at times, downright silly. The scenes with George and Martha are ridiculous, but nevertheless, endearing. Michael Gambon is delightful as George, despite their characters’ real reason for inviting Eli and Solara into their home for tea.

Denzel Washington and Gary Oldman are fantastic in their roles. Both characters are a bit caricature like, especially Gary Oldman’s Carnegie, as though they were taken straight from a comic. Scenes are filmed in such a way that they too, look as though they could be taken straight from a comic; Eli in the tunnel, Eli walking on the road, Eli sitting in the room. It is an interesting artistic approach. The movie is very well paced, and though the movie starts off slightly slow, it slowly builds up and you will find yourself wondering what Eli will find in the west, and whether or not Carnegie will succeed.

No doubt about it though, viewers will be somewhat surprised with the ending. The Book of Eli includes a twist, a reveal that I doubt most viewers will be able to predict, similar to The Sixth Sense (but less fantastic and fits the tone of the movie perfectly).

I thought it was an interesting look at a post apocalyptic world, and instead of just running from the scary people, or zombies, or what have you, there is a good man that has a purpose. What it comes down to though, is that the movie is a whole lot of fun.

There is a great deal amount of violence so this is definitely not a family movie (see The Spy Next Door for that), but The Book of Eli is beautifully filmed, and deserves to be seen. Denzel Washington certainly helps, as does the always amazing Gary Oldman (who is quite creepy in his desire to own the book and of course his vile treatment of those around him, but is unfortunately quite two dimensional as most protagonists these days seem to be in film.) His reason for desiring the book? To blindly lead people and to build more towns because they will be moved by the words that are contained in the bible.

All the acting is top notch, as one would expect by the impressive cast. A few scenes and items bothered me (as mentioned above), but it’s not enough to take me out of the film and stop enjoying what it had to offer. So, I would recommend it.

Enjoy the ride. Recommended 3 books / 5 books.

Trailer via Youtube

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