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Monday, July 9, 2012

Denzel Washington in Book of Eli

I’m a sucker for post apocalyptic films so I was pretty interested in watching the movie "Book of Eli"

There are some terrific ideas in this film that sometimes work and sometimes don’t.

Thirty one years ago the world was obliterated by war and there is nothing left but scotched desert. Eli (Denzel Washington) has heard voices, presumably by a Christian God, to deliver a bible to a location he knows nothing about other than it is in the direction of West. For thirty one years he has been walking west. He knows it is the right way to go but where it will deliver him, nobody, including himself knows. It is truly blind-faith, a cool theme that lingers throughout the movie.

Gary Oldman plays Carnegie. A man ruling a shabby old town that somehow reminds me way too much of a wimpier version of the town Tina Turner ruled (Bartertown) in “Max Mad Beyond Thunderdome” Oldman is an evil man wants to take the bible from Eli. Carnegie believes this bible will give him superhuman powers.

You can pretty much surmise the cat and mouse game between Carnegie and Eli from here. Carnegie and his very Road Warrior-film-esque cronies chase Eli across the desolate terrain, which looks exactly like just about every Mad Max film made.

Eli’s exhibits superhuman fighting abilities and a mean sense of smell that would make Bruce Lee and a hound dog blus. At times these powers seem a bit far fetched at times but there are some strong suggestions that God is protecting him since he protects the bible. I suppose if you have God personally watching your back, you are going to have the ability to do some amazing things.

There are plenty of ideas in this film that you have already seen before but the way the mysteries in the plot slowly unfold makes this flick a lot of fun to watch. This is a film that shows you a lot without over explaining itself. It leaves some interesting mysteries to debate as well. I’ll give you one example that may (or may not) be a spoiler so stop reading before the ellipse (….) if you want to see it for yourself……ready……stop reading……..the example is, is Eli blind or not? Watch the film and you'll see what I mean.

Denzel Washington does a nice job in a very unique role for him.

Gary Oldman is great too but this isn't exactly a role that is new to him.  Ever see "The Professional" ? He plays a psychopath that leads a corrupt lot of men.  It is that sort of part. If I had to complain, I wish either through writing or direction, that his character had just a wee bit more of depth. I still don't fully understand why men follow him in "Book of Eli"  While he is bright and organized, he doesn't come off as particularly tough and, believe me, in the world depicted in this movie, being smart will only get you so far for so long.

Overall, I really enjoyed this film that has many ideas that work really well and others that do not. I think the biggest plot fall might be the fact that Carnegie pursues this bible so ruthlessly. He believes it will give him super powers but I have a problem with this idea. If God has truly tasked Eli to deliver this bible, what would it matter if Carnegie stole it? I mean, who’s in charge here, God or this Bible?

Overall, fun flick that actually requires the audience to give a little though without becoming too tedious.

Be sure to check out some of my other movie reviews. Click image below if you want to learn more about Denzel Washington in Book of Eli

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