Jan 222010

The Book of Eli Movie PosterIn the not-too-distant future, some 30 years after the final war, a solitary man walks across the wasteland that was once America. Empty cities, broken highways, seared earth–all around him, the marks of catastrophic destruction. There is no civilization here, no law. The roads belong to gangs that would murder a man for his shoes, an ounce of water… or for nothing at all.

But they’re no match for this traveler.  A warrior not by choice but necessity, Eli seeks only peace but, if challenged, will cut his attackers down before they realize their fatal mistake. It’s not his life he guards so fiercely but his hope for the future; a hope he has carried and protected for 30 years and is determined to realize. Driven by this commitment and guided by his belief in something greater than himself, Eli does what he must to survive–and continue.

But neither will find it easy to deter him. Nothing–and no one–can stand in his way. Eli must keep moving to fulfill his destiny and bring help to a ravaged humanity.

Genres: Action/Adventure, Science Fiction; Running Time: 1 hr. 58 min.; Release Date: January 15th, 2010 (wide); MPAA Rating: R for some brutal violence and language.

Cast: Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis, Ray Stevenson, Jennifer Beals,

Directed By: Albert Hughes & Allen Hughes

This was Lay’s choice for this past weekend, but I wanted to see the movie also.

The movie takes place sometime in the future 30 years after “the big flash” seems to have destroyed most of the world. It’s shot in a Sepia tone, and primarily follows Denzel Washington’s character, Eli, as he makes his way towards the west coast to deliver a book that will somehow help renew humanity.

Ultimately, Eli comes across a rough western town run by Carnegie (Gary Oldman of “True Romance”) who is desperately searching for the Bible. He wants the book for the power that comes with it that he plans to exploit for his own selfish gain. He has been sending amoral ruffians out to scour the earth for a Bible. Ironically, the very book–the Bible–that Eli has been led to preserve for posterity was burned. He tells us in one scene that many people blamed the Bible for the destruction of society. Nothing remains of a once affluent society that had too much for its own good and obliterated it because it could not come to terms with religion. The survivors of the war destroyed Bibles because they felt that religion triggered the catastrophe. When Carnegie discovers Eli has the Bible, he resolves to take it away from him.

The cinematography is very good, and sets the motif well for the movie. A stark and forbidding landscape is portrayed well, and frankly, it made me feel dry. The acting was good with Denzel playing a typical character for him as the quiet but explosive hero. Oldman carries the movie coming across as sinister yet portraying an appropriately strange sense of humor. Kunis’ character is mainly meaningless and provides only an excuse for Eli to explain his mission. Her acting is overdone.

Frankly, the film severely over-inflates the influence of the Bible, especially in light of how it’s treated at the end of the movie.

Overall, this movie is probably worth watching, but wait until it is out on video.

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