Movie Review: The Book of Eli

Title: The Book of Eli

Director: The Hughes Brothers

Production Company: Alcon Entertainment

Rating: ***

(Ratings for books, movies, and cds are out of four stars)

Alright, so I was a bit hesitant to see this movie, I mean I like Denzel Washington but I just wasn’t sure if this movie would be one I would like.  Sad to say, it’s because it is a Hollywood production which incorporates the Bible, so naturally I was skeptical.  One only has to refer to “Boondock Saints,” “Dogma,” and the upcoming “Legion” to get my point.  Another thing which made me doubtful was the fact that it was another post-apocalyptic movie, and after 2012 I wasn’t ready to jump right in.  All that said, I went, and “The Book of Eli” actually surprised me.

The Basics:

The story begins with Eli (Washington) walking down a road, heading west with the last surviving copy of the King James Version of the Bible, in a post-apocalyptic world.  Apparently the world suffered a massive war which burned a hole in the sky, an event described as “the flash.”  This has made it so that the sun came down and burned up most of the vegetation, animals, and human beings.  Some humans survived, most are scavengers, some are outlaws, and some have taken refuge in makeshift towns.  Rape, murder, and theft are rampant, and people would kill for simple things such as water and chapstick.

We learn very quickly that Eli will do anything to protect the book that he is carrying and he shows that he is able to fend off large groups of attackers.  He eventually comes to a town where a man named Carnegie (Gary Oldman) has been looking for a certain book (the Bible) for over thirty years in order to establish a religion with him as the patriarch.  Eli enters Carnegie’s town and it is soon discovered by Carnegie that Eli has the book he has been looking for.  This of course sets off a battle between the two which eventually leads to a showdown in a house out in the wasteland.


On a technical level, the movie had very nice cinematography which painted the characters against a crisp backdrop.  There is a certain silhouette battle scene at the beginning which was well done.  The soundtrack brilliantly fit the film and was somewhat captivating.  You can’t complain about the acting…I mean it is Denzel after all, and he plays the role well.  Gary Oldman is a convincing bad dude and Mila Kunis works for her part.  The writing was good enough, it is a simple story and in a sense it’s nice to have.

On a thought provoking level, there is a little twist at the end that will cause you to rethink the entire movie.  It is also an interesting commentary on humanity without religion.  Some will object to the movie due to its overt Christian overtones and the implication that God is a reality, along with the fact that the Bible is given a very significant role in this movie.


The end, in my opinion, was lacking something.  Don’t get me wrong, I liked the movie and I liked the end, but it just seemed to fall a bit short in my honest assessment.

Last Word:

I thought about putting the fact that it is a little violent in the con section, but I’m not sure it is that much of a con.  While the movie does have some violence I don’t believe it is overly ridiculous or superfluous.  The movie does contain one vulgar word that I can remember and does interject the F word occasionally, but overall it is fairly clean for an R rated movie, and has no nudity, but does contain some mature themes such as rape and cannibalism.

The movie is by no means the best I have ever seen, nor is it going to be one many like, but the movie can make you think.  It is very interesting in that regard.  For a Hollywood movie it really did surprise me with its importance placed on the Bible and religion.  It does not bang you over the head with everything that usually relates to Hollywood.  For this reason alone I have given it such a high rating.  I would recommend it, and I would definitely see it again.


~ by TSL on January 18, 2010.

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