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The Book of Eli

A 2010 American film starring Denzel Washington and Gary Oldman.

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"...Though I Walk The Valley in The Shadow of Death, I Will Fear NO EVIL."

  • Jan 16, 2010
Rating:
+4
At first impression from its trailer, the Hughes Brothers’ (From Hell) post-apocalyptic action drama “The Book of Eli” appears to be a film that borrows heavily from other movies such as “Water World” and “Mad Max”. Such movies have their plots revolving around survival and/or the search for a natural resource. This film does have the post apocalyptic theme going for it, but the ’resource’ that humankind is searching for isn’t oil, water or food…but something more intangible.
 
In a post apocalyptic world-2043, where the survivors of an almost forgotten war cling to the last hopes for survival, and of civilization; Eli (Denzel Washington) wanders around this barren world heading West, guarding a special book that he believes is the last copy in existence. Eli firmly believes that he has been charged with this duty so that this book can redeem the world and to understand the source of their pain. This book is a copy of the King James version of the Holy Bible and Eli would do anything to protect it and bring it to its appointed destination. However, a despot (Gary Oldman) of a makeshift town intends to use it to further his selfish cause to be bring forth a new age. Only Eli stands in his way…

          

                                    Gary Oldman as Carnegie in "The Book of Eli."
 
“The Book of Eli” may prove to be a difficult film to really understand and appreciate since its main premise is about something intangible. It would have been easier to have writer Gary Whitta and the directors to just make a clichéd post-apocalyptic film. But they take a chance, by bringing into a movie a central focus that makes viewers question, ponder what they have seen. This film is a story about FAITH and the belief in a divine power. In this world, one has to understand that this is a barren, seemingly forsaken world and Hope is very hard to find. This world has some people who had to stoop to cannibalism (the price they pay are their shaking nerves) to live, water is a rare resource and food is very hard to find. It would be difficult for a survivor to be optimistic in this fictional future and HOPE is a vital ingredient for humanity to start over.

            Denzel Washington as Eli and Mila Kunis as Solara in "The Book of Eli."

                         Mila Kunis as Solara and Denzel Washington as Eli in "The Book of Eli."
 
Eli (played by Washington) is one enigmatic individual. He believes that he is chosen, he hears a voice that guides his path, and his journey leads to a place that is unknown to him. He is a man of strong faith and I read somewhere that “if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can move mountains”; directors Albert and Allen Hughes capitalizes and seemed to have developed its storyline around this phrase. Eli is a grim and mysterious warrior on a mission, I just wished that it was revealed as to how he learned such skills to defend himself and how he survived wandering for almost 30 years. Eli’s character also has a surprising twist in the last act. His nemesis, the despot called Carnegie (played by Gary Oldman) also believes in the power of instilling hope to the people, so that they can control the desperate, the depressed to serve his selfish cause. Carnegie is obsessed with finding this book, and believes that it is a weapon that drive the people. (call it misdirection if you will) after all, faith has been used as a weapon and to inspire acts of evil. Washington and Oldman are fine actors and they both give their characters depth and believability, despite the fact that this movie will no doubt give a lot of viewers pause.
 
                  Denzel Washington as Eli in "The Book of Eli."

                  Denzel Washington as Eli in "The Book of Eli."

                 Denzel Washington as Eli in "The Book of Eli."

                 Mila Kunis as Solara in "The Book of Eli."
 
Now, “The Book of Eli” is also an action film although expecting the action to be non-stop would be disappointing. The movie presents more of a study of Eli’s state of mind and this world that also becomes a sort of character in a way. The action in “Eli” is restrained, it sure is intense and cool to look at, but the direction keeps it from becoming too stylized. The fights in “Eli” are quick, intense and maintains a simplicity that makes it a little more realistic. There are some good fights and car chases but none that takes away from its tone and mood. Don’t expect to see an action-packed affair or you will be severely disappointed. The film’s central focus are its themes, its atmosphere that exudes a depressing mood, the touches of muted colors add to the film’s feel. 

                Jennifer Beals as Claudia and Gary Oldman as Carnegie in "The Book of Eli."

                                  Denzel Washington as Eli and Mila Kunis as Solara in "The Book of Eli."
 
The supporting characters in “Eli” are also quite fun to see. Ray Stevenson (Punisher Warzone) plays Carnegie’s enforcer named Redridge who is infatuated with Solara (played by sexy Mila Kunis) and only serves Carnegie while it fit his purpose. Jennifer Beals plays Claudia, Solara’s blind mother and serves as Carnegie’s concubine (she plays a significant role in the last act). Despite the film’s bleak atmosphere, the screenplay remembers to pitch in some scenes of subtle humor as presented by the couple who tries to keep to old traditions. Solara’s character serves as an anchor to Eli’s purpose near the end, Kunis gives the film some needed eye candy from all the muted colors of this dark, sad world.
 
“The Book of Eli” is a thematic action film. It is not the type of film that is for everyone, since I know a lot of viewers would end up shaking their heads, that they would say that the movie requires a large suspension of disbelief. The twist at the end, may turn off some viewers but I liked it. It allowed me to ponder, ask questions, and then believe; if you have been paying attention in the film’s entirety and every last character detail, the details were right there. The direction set the film’s groundwork that I easily bought the final act. “The Book of Eli” isn’t your usual post-apocalyptic action film, it makes one wonder and marvel if such things are possible…then again, ALL you have to do is BELIEVE?
 
Highly Recommended! [4- Out of 5 Stars]

This Review is a Movie Hype Community Exclusive @ Lunch.com


          Mila Kunis as Solara, Gary Oldman as Carnegie and Jennifer Beals as Claudia in "The Book of Eli."

     
 
Poster art for "The Book of Eli." Poster art for "The Book of Eli."
3 ½ + Stars: 3 ½ + Stars:

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April 29, 2010
Dude excellent review from start to finish, I was wondering about this movie. I have been wanting to see this but have yet 2. Your review makes me want to see it that much more, great job.
August 30, 2010
seen this one yet, Alex? review, man...review!
January 27, 2011
I loved it by the way, review will be coming.
 
January 24, 2010
Great review!
January 24, 2010
Hey, Doug Long time no hear from you!
January 24, 2010
I know, I've been working 12-13 hour days this past few weeks. **sigh**
 
January 21, 2010
Great review!  I was supposed to see a pre-screening of this last Thursday, but plans feel through and now I'm really upset I didn't get to see it after reading your review!  I really can't wait to see this film now! 
January 21, 2010
Thanks for the read, Julian! This wasn't perfect and I was torn between a 3.5 and a 4; but seeing as I was really entertained by it, I decided to give it a 4. Washington and Oldman were just phenomenal!
January 21, 2010
I don't know if they have ever been in a film together before this one, but I bet they had some great interaction...
 
January 18, 2010
Yes Sir Knight this is on the top of my list for must see. I love religious related films and my husband is passionate about them. Although read through a number of reviews that states its not the greatest piece of art made, it was still worth seeing. You wrapped it up lovley by saying "if such things are possible" I do belivee it might.
January 19, 2010
I know, a lot of people will have mixed feelings about it; but for me, it is worth a look, it is a good departure from the cliched action flicks out there. Great way to see a warrior that uses God as his guiding light.
 
January 18, 2010
Fantastic review, William. I wasn't sure what to expect based on the previews alone. I was surprised to hear in your critique that it isn't loaded with action. I typically consider Gary Oldman's work to be solid and it sounds like he's nailed another one. I also appreciate the fact that the Biblical references aren't in vain here. Great work my man and thanks for the heads up.
January 18, 2010
Jason, This is a powerful film. You will dig it, I am pretty sure. This is a great story about God's warriors that serve his purposes.
 
January 17, 2010
I'm really interested in seeing this. Planning on going this week! Thanks for the great review and photos!
January 17, 2010
Thanks, Bethany! I'm glad I went to see this instead of LOVELY BONES. I know you have a feel for horror as well so please try to make time for DAYBREAKERS.
 
January 17, 2010
You think it's a film for me, eh? ;-) We'll see...
January 17, 2010
I think it is, if I read your past write ups correctly. ;-D
January 17, 2010
Ok, I'll go look for it tonight and see if it's already in DVD! ;)
January 17, 2010
it's in theaters, my friend.
January 17, 2010
I know. Although you'll be amazed at the speed DVDs are available in China! 3 days after first screen, they are in DVDs!
January 17, 2010
really? That's it..I'm moving! LOL. Btw, I got a fresh stack of Japanese and Korean movies as well as one Hong Kong movie today. I am so excited! ;-P
January 17, 2010
Really. Looks like you'll be well entertained during the weekends! I'm getting out of here for a walk. What a beautiful sunday! Have a great weekend!
 
January 17, 2010
Great job man very solid review!! And great advice on paying attention to details....I really enjoyed the movie but I am also a Christian. This was a solid Bible based topic with a Christian character. The Character of Eli is similar to many of GOD's mighty warriors from the Old Testament. I have heard and read people complaining about religious films. I am also sick of that whole genre but not for the same reasons. This is the only film I can recall that has a true Bible believing Christian fighting the evil. Usually movies have the devils, demons or whatever supernatural evil, some random carefree good guy with a weird religious tattoo and a wise cracking style, or it's Tom Hanks defeating the wickedness WITHOUT the LORD. So as a Christian it was nice to see a Christian Hero on a high budget film, no offense to Kirk Cameron.
January 17, 2010
Great points, man. This movie had very intricate details and for me, it was also refreshing to see an action flick that is a departure from all the cliche. I am not fond of religious films either for reasons different (but probably similar to your reasons), but Eli was a real fresh character. I also liked the rendition of a more modern Christian warrior.
 
January 16, 2010
I knew it was either going to be you or Sean who posted the first review for this!  Awesome that it's a Lunch exclusive, too :)  What's crazy about this film is that it's likely that most people who watch this now will still be around in the year 2043.  Makes me wonder what we're going to think about it then.  Sounds like a very cool film, and I love Denzel Washington and Mila Kunis, so I'll be checking it out.  Thanks for sharing, Woo! :)
January 17, 2010
That is true. 2043 isn't that far away. Washington is one great actor and Oldman matches his performance really well. I'll be keeping most of my reviews as exclusives except maybe for the movies I get sent for free.(folks who send those to me may sometimes require me to review it at their site) :-P I may check out Dr. Parnassus if I get really bored this Monday (I'm off work for the holiday) Glad you liked the review.
 
January 16, 2010
I had some issues with the plot and Solara's wardrobe. The visual appeal was powerful...I liked the washed out colors. The acting was good too. I saw some plot holes as well. I was slightly over three but not four on this one. I liked the road better.
January 17, 2010
Yeh, I also noticed just how pretty she looked. Kinda surprising how she has those tight clean jeans LOL! Yeh, there was a few plot holes I saw but the others I was willing to forgive since it could be just a matter of leaving some details to the imagination.
 
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More The Book of Eli reviews
review by . November 10, 2010
The Book of Eli was a highly anticipated film for me and although some of my friends had their issues I loved it. This isn't a perfect movie but it was a damn good one. Anywho, here goes the synopsis, In 2042, thirty years after an apocalyptic event, Eli (Denzel Washington) travels on foot toward the west coast of the United States. He keeps very little on him, somehow he has a working ipod, sunglasses, and a heavy arsenal that makes him one the deadliest men still alive.      …
review by . December 09, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
**1/2 out of ****      Out of all those apocalyptic action films of the new generation, "The Book of Eli" is one of the better, yet imperfect ones. I can't guarantee that many will be able to forgive its visual bleakness and pretentious story-telling, but there's something about this film that makes it fun. Sure, it's a flawed apocalyptic tale without depth and devoid of power. But it's also fun, especially when there are action sequences. These little …
review by . May 28, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Don't let the first 30 minutes or so of The Book of Eli fool you - it comes off as a bleak and moody mix of other post-apocalyptic stories like Mad Max and The Road, but by the time the credits roll you'll see the heart that beats beneath this cracked skin.      There's a lot of story to uncover in The Book of Eli, more than I initially expected, and the themes and ideas expressed here surprised me. In a very good way.      Denzel Washington pulls …
review by . January 18, 2010
Kicking Butt After the Age of 50
A quick visit to Wikipedia and I discover that Mr. Gary Oldman is starting to live up to his namesake. No offense, of course, to those over the nice round age of 50. In fact, take it as a compliment. It means that at the age of 51 you can still intimidate the heck out of us younger-folk. That is, if you are anything like Gary Oldman. Even past his 50s he remains one of the most unnerving personas to hit the screen. And boy does he rattle the nerves in The Book of Eli.      Another …
review by . January 26, 2011
Pros: Washington & Oldman     Cons: none for me     The Bottom Line:   "Not At This Time In My Life  How Can I Hear Your Call In This Windy Night"  ~Houston Calls       It has been a while since the Hughes brothers, Albert & Allen, have offered us a project, but joining with writer Gary Whitta, they have given us The Book of Eli.  It is rated R for language and violence and has been nominated, …
review by . January 30, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
All of a sudden I was blinded by a flash, devil of a man with a gun
Years ago, the educated in the church were the only ones who could read scripture and keep themselves in power and the world stupid.  The ones in power who are lacking benevolance are in danger of ignoring Santiago's most famous maxim, the one about those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.  So sets into motion The Book Of Eli, a fantastic post apocolyptic western movie where a lone traveller heads west on a quest of faith with an important piece of cargo to take home.   …
review by . February 27, 2011
posted in SF Signal
      Real short:  watch it if you get a chance. Slightly longer: The Story of the Christ meets Mad Max The Road Warrior. And just a bit longer: Fans of post apocalyptic scenery will love the devastation. Fans who have been clamoring for post apocalyptic tales with more of a Christian message will enjoy the message. Fight scenes - pretty darned good.  Acting - pretty darned good.  Cinematography and musical score - pretty darned good (I'm a pushover …
Quick Tip by . December 09, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Good grief, this was dull. I enjoy a well-done post-apocalyptic film and that sub-genre has a long and interesting history. However, this film adds nothing to it and its insufferable and hypocritical message was annoying as could be. The strange twist near the end also made the film completely unbelievable as well as meandering. The only positive things I can say about it is that the camera work is quite good and Denzel Washington delivers an okay performance.
review by . September 28, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
One of Denzels coolest flicks yet.
Just when you thought you've seen it all (post-apocalyptic movies) comes The Book of Eli. This movie takes place a few years after a war destroys most of America. The main Character Eli is in the possession of what seems to be the last bible on earth. There is something about this movie, it just pulls you in and your instantly hooked. Denzels acting was phenominal and after all these years he's still got it. The story seemed odd but it was enough to keep you intrested. I loved the twist …
Quick Tip by . September 25, 2010
Wanderer after the apocalypse travels across the US with an important parcel to take to the west. Great action movie.
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William ()
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The Book of Eli is a 2010 American film starring Denzel Washington and Gary Oldman.  It was directed by Albert and Allen Hughes and written by Gary Whitta.  The film was released on January 15th 2010.

Based in post-apocalyptic 2043, The Book of Eli follows the life of one man (Washington) who in his posses ion holds the last bible on Earth.


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Details

Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: January 15, 2010
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Gary Whitta
Runtime: 118 minutes
Studio: Alcon Entertainment, Silver Pictures, Warner Bros Pictures, Columbia Pictures
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