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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Movie Review - The Book of Eli

Movie Title
The Book of Eli
Sci-Fi, Action

In the not-too-distant future, some 30 years after the final war that wiped out much of humanity, a nameless (Denzel Washington) lone wanderer (more like a warrior-guardian) walks across the parched post-apocalyptic wasteland that was once North America. (Eli’s name is only revealed much later in the movie).
Altho’ a spiritual man of peace but extremely deadly when provoked nonetheless. His duty – to guard a book that holds the future for all mankind and bring it Westward and fulfill his destiny. He had walked the North America wasteland & guarded the book alone for the past 30 years.

Searching for water when he arrived in a shanty town founded & overseen by Carnegie (Gary Oldman), a literate but tyrannical ruler who dreams of building & controlling more towns – a plan that depends on finding a certain book* that he soon realized Eli had the last & only surviving copy on Earth. Unable to convince Eli to part with the book peacefully, he is determined to take the book from Eli at all costs. The skirmish in town just before Eli took off Westward not only injured Carnegie but cost him the lives of many of his thugs as well. Solara (Mila Kunis), the daughter of his blind lover Claudia (Jennifer Beals) who had been touched and inspired by Eli’s spiritual commitment, faith & morality in their brief encounter, – a stark contrast to Carnegie, decides to follow him. Before long, with his last remaining men, Carnegie catches up with them and all hell breaks loose. Mayhem and carnage ensues and all seemed lost as Carnegie finally was able to defeat Eli and take possession of the book.

However, as movies go, there’s always a twist and let’s just say the heroes win the day and the villains get their comeuppance.
* No prizes for guessing what book that is.

Altho’ Eli’s dialog is minimal, it doesn’t detract from the viewer’s enjoyment of the movie but instead adds to the weight and strength of Eli’s character – a lonely man whose strength is derived from his faith and unwavering commitment to his divine duty. Gary Oldman – although considered to be an actor of high-caliber, did his best in his portrayal of Carnegie but still couldn’t do enough to elevate the villain’s menace in my mind. Mila Kunis (whom I have not seen acting in anything other than That 70’s Show) didn’t seem to make any impression initially but I warmed up to her as the movie went along and am looking forward for her to move on to the female action-hero roles that have long been dominated by Angelina Jolie (Wanted, Tomb Raider) and Mila Jovovich (Resident Evil, Ultra Violet).

I could hardly recognize Jennifer Beals (who played Carnegie’s blind lover Claudia) – an icon from the 80s after her rise to fame thanks to Flashdance. The cinematography was beautiful and the stylized action sequences, are quite violent, but still looked very good. One can’t help but draw similarities with other post-apocalyptic type movies like Resident Evil and Mad Max. Not a bad watch despite what the critics may say and you don’t have to be a Denzel fan to enjoy this one.
Rating: 6.5/10

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