“The Book of Eli” Review

By Jan 18, 2010 Comment (1)

The Book of Eli Poster, Denzel Washington

Denzel Washington has the sort of actor intensity needed to play an apocalyptic superhero, and The Book of Elipositions him as such. Dressed in shades with a machete at his back, he swiftly slices at his enemies while showing no expression or sign of sweat. He’s like a Bourne for the new dark ages: precise, robotic, and killing in order to survive after a war that destroys most of the earth.

In Book of Eli, Denzel Washington proves that age is nothing but a number, as he deftly fights and kills his way to action hero status in a post-apocalyptic world that will no doubt some big box-office numbers. Yet what separates this film from the I am Legends, the Waterworlds or the many other post-apocalyptic films is what Washington’s character is protecting – the last bible on earth…read more [The Huffington Post]

DENZEL WASHINGTON as Eli in Alcon Entertainment's action adventure film The Book Of Eli
Denzel Washington as Eli in Alcon Entertainment’s action adventure film The Book Of Eli

Early word has labeled “The Book of Eli” as unsubtle Christian propaganda. Without specifically giving away the provocatively loaded final twenty minutes—blessedly hidden in the promotional campaign, it deserves to be noted—one could almost read it as the antithesis of a gung-ho pro-religion doctrine. Whether intentional or not, the screenplay by debuting writer Gary Whitta suggests that the words of the Bible are probably a bunch of hooey, passed down from mortal to mortal with any number of mistakes, flourishes and misunderstandings thrown into it. Directors Allen and Albert Hughes likely believed they were making an ultimately inspirational action-western, but they have ended up with something curiously more pessimistic than uplifting. No matter what the viewer takes away from the picture, at least there’s something at all to take away from it…read more [WorstPreviews]

…You have to absorb this story. It makes sense. What Eli is up to, why he does it and how all falls into place. And the ending just suddenly adds a new layer to EVERTHING he does. Blew my mind.
Gary Oldman as the badguy Carnagie is a merciless warlord type, and he does it very well and very convincingly. His motivations are purely power, but he is an intelligent man and he knows how to get it.
The book is powerful, and what Carnagie wants it for makes complete sense. They were careful not to tell you exactly what the book does in the trailer and it makes sense. You find out pretty early on in the movie, but I won’t spoil it for you…read more [The Movie Blog]

The Book of Eli Poster
The Book of Eli poster

One of the key things I loved about Book of Eli was its overall look and feel. The film was beautifully filmed and you felt from the very first moment that you really and truly were caught up in an apocalyptic world. Combine that with some fantastic casting and you have a great action-thriller that although not horror by the definition of the world shows the horrors of a world after the apocalypse and is sure to please most of you horror buffs looking for something a little different…read more [Horror-Movies.ca]

The Book of Eli wants you to know that it is a very, very serious movie. The latest movie from Albert and Allen Hughes is about a dystopian future where dust settles on everything like fine ash, where people are illiterate and books are worth almost as much as water, where women are chattel to be raped and traded, where religion is dead and chaos reigns. (Yes, chaos reigns!) And it’s where Eli (Denzel Washington) takes 30 years to walk cross-country, brutally cutting down those in his holy path that seek to harm him or, more importantly, his book…read more [Cinematical]

DENZEL WASHINGTON (left) as Eli, GARY OLDMAN (right center) as Carnegie and RAY STEVENSON (background) as Redridge in Alcon Entertainment's action adventure film "The Book of Eli,"
Denzel Washington (left) as Eli, Gary Oldman (right center) as Carnegie and Ray Stevenson (background) as Redridge in Alcon Entertainment’s action adventure film “The Book of Eli”

The movie’s most critical moment happens not in the midst of a firefight, but in a candlelit room where Eli teaches Mila Kunis’s prostitute character Solara to pray. It’s not so much that these things go on which makes the movie propaganda, rather it’s the out of proportion reaction characters seem to have to them. Solara, who has never even heard of religion let alone contemplated a deity, hears “Our Father” for the first time and rather than questioning what all this gobbeldy gook about a father in heaven means she’s instantly transformed into a religious zealot. The film treats the words in the Bible as if it’s simply saying them that matters, not understanding them. So those magic words are sought after like a nuclear bomb, as if the scripture contained within it will instantly heal all the world’s ills through ownership of it, even though the entire planet has pretty much been turned into dust. But Book of Eli is utterly unaware of the illogic in any of that, lost in a strange, post-apocalyptic, Christian fervor which believes rather than thinks…read more [Cinema Blend]

MILA KUNIS (right) as Solara, DENZEL WASHINGTON (center) as Eli and MICHAEL GAMBON (background) as George in Alcon Entertainment's action adventure film "The Book of Eli
Mila Kunis (right) as Solara, Denzel Washington (center) as Eli and Michael Gambon (background) as George in Alcon Entertainment’s action adventure film “The Book of Eli

The Book of Eli sets itself up as an enjoyable Mad Max meets I Am Legend romp, but the disappointing nature of its central maguffin – can you tell what it is yet? – undermines the delicious air of intrigue and uncertainty which permeates the early scenes. Oldman has form playing off-kilter villains, but he manages to be both workmanlike and hammy – not an easy combination to pull off – and certainly not one that makes for comfortable viewing.
There’s an enjoyable interlude featuring Michael Gambon and Frances de la Tour as a pair of suspiciously hospitable cannibals, but the constantly preachy tone tends to grate after a while, and nothing in the self-important, supposedly revelatory denouement makes up for having been fed so much irredeemably inexplicable hokum…read more [guardian.co.uk]

Denzel Washington, Mila Kunis, Frances de la Tour and Michael Gambon in The Book of Eli
Denzel Washington, Mila Kunis, Frances de la Tour and Michael Gambon in The Book of Eli

Eli is a quick hand with knives, pistols, rifles, shotguns and karate. He needs to be. After a catastrophe has wiped out most of the Earth’s population and left ruin and desolation behind, the remaining humans are victimized by roaming motorcycle gangs of hijackers and thieves. Each of these gangs is issued a requisite tall bald man, a short hairy scruffy one and their go-fers.
The Hughes brothers, Albert and Allen, film this story in sunburned browns and pale blues, creating a dry and dusty world under a merciless sky. Water is treasure. This wasteland Eli treks at an implacable pace. Set upon in an ambush, he kills all his attackers. He’s got one of those knives that makes a snicker-snack noise all by itself, and is a one-man army. Why don’t the bad guys just shoot at him? Later in the film, they try that…read more [Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times]

The Book of Eli Video Review [IndyMogul]

What do you think?

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  • will says:

    am i the only one who thinks this film was anti religous? it basically is showing at the end, that the bible is written stories made up years ago. he couldnt read the damn book, it was in braile. he just “felt” god. i applaud this film for exposing this christian trecury.

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