Movie Review: The Book of Eli (2010)

Maybe you’re like me, wondering why 9 out of 10 post apocalyptic visions of the world are barren wastelands with bands of miscreants marauding little bands of honest folk with little to no hope. Then again, maybe you’re not. No matter, The Book of Eli, follows along a similar route to that of Mad Max — lone guy; desolate world.

What separates The Book of Eli from the throng is its religious undertones — Eli (Denzel Washington) believes himself to be a prophet of sorts, heading westward to find a suitable location to preach the word of God. Oh yeah, he’s got the last known bible in existence too. What we learn is World War III is somehow the fault of religion and, because of this, all bibles have found their way to book burning piles. As Eli travels, we also come to realize he is also an unassuming badass. Be it with a blade, bare hands or with a gun, he can beat the shit out of the cannibals and other roaming scum of the Earth with relative ease.

Also helping to segregate their film, directors Albert and Allen Hughes use some interesting visuals and cues to really drive home the feeling of desolation. Shots are muted down giving the appearance of a parched, unforgiving world. Initially it is quite effective but as the film carries on, the effect looses much of its punch.

Then once Eli runs into a “Wild West” kind of town run heavy handedly by Carnegie (Gary Oldman), The Book of Eli falls back into line with every other movie of this genre. Carnegie is a cruel, learned man with a library to envy and band of enforcers willing to do his bidding. He has also got a good looking daughter, Solara (Mila Kunis), who believes in what Eli is selling after he saves her. As you can probably guess from the two preceding sentences, there is a showdown between Eli and Carnegie just waiting to happen. And it does, with makeshift armored vehicles and explosions and stuff.

It’s too bad the film takes a turn in this direction, however. It could have been more of a “thinking man’s” movie, exploring the use of religion as a savior to some and a shackle to others. Carnegie is dumbed down to become the basic hell bent for power at all costs villain, for which Oldman does his all too familiar bad guy impersonation for. There really should have been more meats and potatoes to this character — he can read and write (few on this cursed Earth can), and he ultimately understands the power of the religious word to those he wants to subjugate.

Another head scratcher: Kunis looks too clean and pretty to be living in a world where water and food is scarce, and moist towelettes are considered a currency.

So even though The Book of Eli starts off so positively, it ends rather predictably (that’s even after the absurd surprise ending). Nonetheless, it is a good start by first time writer Gary Whitta. For everyone else, not so much.

Critical Movie Critic Rating:
3 Star Rating: Average


Movie Review: Blood and Bone (2009)
Movie Review: Daybreakers (2009)

The Critical Movie Critics

I'm an old, miserable fart set in his ways. Some of the things that bring a smile to my face are (in no particular order): Teenage back acne, the rain on my face, long walks on the beach and redneck women named Francis. Oh yeah, I like to watch and criticize movies.

'Movie Review: The Book of Eli (2010)' have 6 comments

  1. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 18, 2010 @ 8:35 pm Zephon

    I don’t know if I’d use the term predictable for the ending. I know I didn’t see it playing out the way it did. “Sappy” might be a better word to describe the way it ends.

    • The Critical Movie Critics

      January 19, 2010 @ 7:04 am General Disdain

      Zephon –

      I probably could have chosen my words differently. I knew the ultimate outcome of the movie (hence predictable); I didn’t see the precise twist ending, which I thought was on a little on the silly and a lot on the melodramatic side (maybe sappy is a good way to describe . . .).

  2. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 19, 2010 @ 4:05 pm Matthew

    I liked this film, i think it had some good religious content. in a world where canibals rule it isn’t much of a stretch to need some sort of morals. i would recommend it.

  3. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 20, 2010 @ 11:59 pm Rose Taylor

    The film’s somewhat religious plot appears creative and intriguing as does the mysterious man who carries the book.This is quite interesting movie for me as The Book of Eli has something extremely thoughtful to say and it was designed to make you think about what it is saying. Thanks for your good review about this movie.

  4. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 27, 2010 @ 10:35 am John De Vera

    The film has a very intriguing plot. It gives the mystery and excitement of the story itself. It’s actually an effect of post apocalyptic action movie.

  5. The Critical Movie Critics

    February 10, 2010 @ 7:19 pm Jessie Jacob

    I actually find the film very interesting. The overall story itself really appeals their audience. It have a very religious plot that can touch other people.

Privacy Policy | About Us

 | Log in

Advertisment ad adsense adlogger