|DVD The Book of Eli
Run time: 118 min
Genres: Action | Adventure | Drama
Director: Albert Hughes, Allen Hughes
Writers: Gary Whitta
Stars: Denzel Washington, Mila Kunis, Ray Stevenson
In a violent post-apocalyptic society, a drifter, Eli, has been wandering westward across North America for the last thirty years. He finds solace in a unique book which he carries on his person and guards closely, whilst surviving by hunting small animals and seeking goods in destroyed houses and vehicles to trade in villages for water and supplies. When he reaches a village ruled by the powerful mobster, Carnegie, the man views Eli’s impressive fighting skills and offers Eli a place within his gang. Carnegie presses his blind lover Claudia to send her daughter, Solara, to at least convince Eli to spend the night by sleeping with him. However, Eli proves to be the better man when he gently declines her advances. The girl sees Eli’s book, and when Carnegie finds out he beats her mother until she reveals what she saw. Carnegie sends his gang into the wasteland to take the book from Eli, but the man proves to be a formidable foe as he makes it more than clear that if they want the book,… Written by Harry Jankel, London, England
|Plot Keywords: book, water, blind, african american protagonist, killing an animal|
Release Date: 15 January 2010 (UK)
Budget: $80,000,000 (estimated)
Opening Weekend: £1,232,001 (UK) (15 January 2010)
Gross: $94,822,707 (USA) (7 May 2010)
Upon first viewing the trailer I was immediately giddy to see a new post-apocalyptic film in the vein of The Road Warrior. Being a fan of the genre, one must get used to the repetitive "lone wanderer" theme so prominently used. I figured this film would go through the same formula, but prepared to enjoy myself.
Yes it did use the lone wanderer as a driving plot device, and yes it did bring the arbitrary twist. Yes all the survivors are short on t-shirts, but live in a wealth of leather and goggles. Yes everything in this film looks like and feels like a typical post-apocalyptia. But the substance of the story is far more powerful then I could ever have expected.
Without giving away too much, yes the film is essentially a Christian metaphor. Eli seems to be protected by some mysterious force, guided by "God" to head west. But it's what the meaning behind this admittedly bizarre plot that makes this film so great. It truly is a film about faith and believing in one's self. Using the dreary post-apocalyptic backdrop, the film is able to contrast this powerful message with the harsh landscape. Even amidst such despair, one can rise and accomplish anything. In a world slowly becoming apocalyptic itself, this message is much welcomed.
The other aspects lending to the power of The Book of Eli are its technical aspects. The cinematography is simply beautiful. Moody slo-mo shots abound with wonderfully toned colors. Everything looks dark and dead, the sun beating down endlessly on the dusty dunes. The soundtrack adds immensely to this feeling, using soft ambient chords and blasting action-scene drums when necessary. Overall The Book of Eli is an excellent film itself and an excellent spin on the post-apocalyptic genre.
Oh yeah, and Denzel Washington actually manages to pull off the part of a wizened, old bad ass.
Not sure how much the church was involved with this project, but it seems as though it was funded almost entirely by the church. And maybe Oprah. If not, the church should provide the people who made this movie with free blessings for a year – or whatever.
This movie uses misleading advertising to draw us in. (which goes against the messaging in the movie….) What we expect is an apocalyptic thriller with a super strong survivor trying to make his way through life. We know from the advertising that he has a book he must protect – but we are not told that it is a bible. The last bible.
The movie progresses normally for about the first 1/3rd or so. And then the propaganda begins. Despite Eli's best efforts, his friend and the villains become aware that he has a bible. The villain wants the bible to begin a cult in his own name, Eli wants the bible because a voice told him to go to a place where the book was, and then, vaguely, to go west. He reads it every day. The premise of the film is that he followed the voices instructions, found the book, and has been walking west for the past 30 years. (it seems Eli could have used some help from Forrest Gump) The movie devolves into actions segments spaced between dialog about the bible and faith. If that is your thing enjoy. My feeling on it was that the acting was not bad, the feel established by the cinematography for the movie was good but overall this film was a transparent vehicle for religious cheer leading and not much more.
Everybody’s talking about what happens after the apocalypse these days. “The Book of Eli” is sort of the boiling point of this science-fiction concept, a combination of last year’s “The Road” and George Miller’s “The Road Warrior.” America is a post-apocalyptic wasteland and Denzel Washington is the only self-sufficient badass. So originality is not exactly “Eli’s” calling card, but it clearly establishes its ruinous world and the Hughes brothers (“From Hell”) take good care of its characters while supplying top-notch action. Washington stars as our stolid protagonist, Eli, journeying westward with his canteen, a large machete, a couple guns and a special leather-bound book. He lives on an Earth that was fried 30 years before by the sun because of a war that ripped a hole through the ozone layer. Sun-goggled bikers run amok pillaging, killing and raping passers-by, yet Eli is morally sound and focused on keeping his book safe no matter what so he can deliver it somewhere out west. Although written by a first-time screenwriter and former PC Gamer editor, Gary Whitta, “Eli” impressively creates its world between the sunglasses/goggles due to the sun’s power, trading of goods because money’s obsolete and the constant examining of hands to determine if someone is jittery from eating too much human flesh. Whitta also places Eli squarely in the story. He’s a good but dangerous man who’s not afraid to kill, and as he sits idly by as a couple gets attacked, it’s abundantly clear that this is a world where compassion is secondary to survival and self-interest. Where the plot comes in is “Eli’s” weak link. It doesn’t try too hard to hide just what exactly the book is and that sort of dissolves some of the film’s mystique. The plot is essentially Eli wants to protect it and take it west and he has a run in with Carnegie (Gary Oldman), an older man who runs a small town and desires it for selfish power-related reasons. Along the way, anyone who threatens to lay a hand on Eli gets sliced up or shot. In the two or three fight scenes where he takes down numerous guys at once, you can’t help but wonder why after he kills the first few guys, the others don’t run the hell away, especially considering people are otherwise in self-preservation mode living in a wasteland (and they know nothing of the book). The Hughes brothers make those scenes worthwhile, however. There’s a style and grace to their action scenes — they create a sort of a moving tableau in some scenes and execute a wide range of tempos in the action sequences to make them more intense. When Carnegie’s men encounter Eli and the young woman (Mila Kunis) that he inspires who follows him at the home of some old folks (cameos by famous Brits Frances De La Tour and Michael Gambon), they place the camera in the middle of the action and sweep along with the gunfire (part- digitally) from one side to the other. It’s very cool and is an example of one way the Hugheses keep the focus away from the plot’s shaky skeleton. I only have beef with their excessive slow-motion walking-toward-the-camera shots and showing a bit too much of the cloudy green-gray sky. Some people are going to be more surprised and impressed with the film’s big reveal than others, but anyone with a love of action and that post-apocalyptic context will find something to make “Eli” a worthwhile watch regardless of plot weakness. Washington is slightly under-utilized but he’s an ideal fit. He brings an intensity in his demeanor that makes him an intriguing character and the film does a good job of making his character more central than anything else. ~Steven C
I have to agree with one reviewer that stated the movie should have ended with the shot of Eli's eyes. Solara becoming the next warrior is ridiculous. The actors were fine but why doesn't Denzel Washington realize that most of the movie doesn't make sense. He uses his bow in the first scene and takes the arrow. After that we don't see where he carries his bow until he needs it later in the film. He has his backpack emptied a couple of times and no shells for his guns or bow is seen. After killing the 2 guys he didn't take his arrows. Eli then tells Solara to take down the bow and wind up the bowstring and he is carrying 1 arrow. In the next scene the bow and arrow are absent. In the opening scene the sky is ominous and an eerie green with particles falling from the sky. At the end of the movie Alcatraz has blue skies, clouds and grass. Am I expected to think it took Eli 30 years to walk across the US? Were those plastic wrapped twinkies that he was sharing with Solara? How would they have tasted 30 years later? Would someone explain how he got out of the locked room (I missed that part)? The house where they were in the shootout with Carnegie and his henchmen was completely full of bullet holes except where the old couple and Eli/Solara were standing. When Solara causes the vehicle she's in to crash how does Eli's blade (which was on the dashboard) get embedded completely to the hilt in Redridge's chest? Is the woman hijacker (with the grocery cart) the same as the second one nearer to the end of the movie? If so how does she get a new gang (since Eli has killed all of her first friends) and get further down the road towards Alcatraz for Solara and Eli to meet again? To have the same ambush using a woman crying with a grocery cart seems lazy to me. Now after dictating the entire bible (with a big hole in his gut/chest) the bible is printed, leather bound and gold leafed only to be placed on a shelf where no one is going to read it. I'm glad for those who enjoyed the movie. It just has too many questionable and unbelievable scenes which caused my frustration. And I wish people would stop comparing this sham of a movie to 'The Road'.