The Book of Eli is another post-apocalyptic films. However, this one leaves you with some pungent reflections. The movie follows Eli, Denzel Washington, as he heads west on a divine mission. The world is now 30 years after the big war and the planet is inhabited by gun-toting, motorcycling riding, violent, illiterate desperados. Picture Road Warrior and Fahrenheit 451 meet Border town from Beyond Thunderdome. The camera work in this film is excellent and it is good to see the Hughes Brothers back directing. With a backdrop of crushed building, abandoned towns, and sun bleached road, our hero Eli walks west.
Eli happens upon a small broken down town run by Carnegie, Gary Oldman. Carnegie runs the desperados I mentioned earlier. Carnegie’s life long quest has been searching for is one rumored sacred book, the book of power. He daily sends out these road warriors to collect books and of course kill. And wouldn’t you know it Eli just happens to be carrying the very book Carnegie has been seeking all these years. It is at this moment that The Book of Eli’s brilliance and it’s faults come into play. Eli escapses Carnegie’s clutches, but he has now picked up an extra traveler, Solara, Mila Kunis, and they head west together. The movie up until this point is quite simply amazing, really. I won’t say that the addition of Solar as eye-candy was unnecessary, but Hollywood’s tradition of marketing action films with a minority lead by populating movies with youthful looking mainstream additions is so Pre-Obama. So instead I will say that Solara was miscast.
With the addition of Solora the story struggles to regain its brilliance. This movie gets 15 out of 10 for simply having the guts to deal with religion on this level. Sure we get Carnegie’s name from the Latin root, yes we get the mission that Eli is on, of course we get the zealotry and social commentary, but what we don’t get is how the characters run out of bullets but never gas. I hazzar to say that this movie is more biblical than The Ten Commandments. The ending of the movie will leave you with questions, but the themes that run through the movie will stay with you long after the movie is over. High powered explosions, computer generated creatures, over the top villains be damned this is the type of movie Hollywood should be making. Denzel Washington’s low key performance is simply one of his best. If it weren’t for pandering to mainstream America this movie would have gotten 10 out of 10, but as it is MG give it 8 of 10.
The Book of Eli is in theaters now