Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis, Jennifer Beals, Ray Stevenson
Director: The Hughes Brothers
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama
Eli (Denzel Washington) must walk west and deliver a book which holds the power to restore mankind after an apocalypse, in his path is Carnegie (Gary Oldman) who understands the power of the book and will do whatever he must to get it.
Without one instance of an explanation as to what happened to the earth, we are immediately thrust into a post apocalyptic future where there is limited water and people have reverted back to the barter system or resorted to thievery to survive; Besides the dust and the destruction there are multiple subtle clues that catastrophe has happened primarily being the muted colors of the sky but the most obvious being that everyone wears goggles or sun glasses.
When we first encounter Eli he is hunting for food and then quickly we are shown his level of Bad Assery by telling a would be thief if he is touched one more time, said thief would lose his hand. Not a second later the hand is on the ground no longer attached to its owners arm.
Later in his travels to the west Eli enters a town run by Carnegie after dispatching some unsavory characters in Carnegies bar he is offered employment with Carnegie to help find the find book that Eli is taking to the west. Of course Eli does not falter in his quest and after turning down the extremely hot Solara’s (Mila Kunis) physical advances Eli heads back to the road. Solara joins Eli and the chase begins as Carnegie and his band of road warrior rejects attempt to reclaim the book.
Halfway through the movie you learn what the book is and the end of the film there are a couple of subtle twists that will make a person want to rewatch the film. Denzel gives a great performance and displays some hand to hand combat skills I didn’t know he had. There is ample violence and variety with Eli utilizing a machete, a shotgun, a pistol and a bow and arrow. Gary Oldman does what he does best which is play a scumbag complete with multiple close-ups of his sweaty, dirty pock marked face. What sets The Book of Eli apart is that the Hughes brothers don’t waste time with a slow back story they start you off right in the thick of it near the end of Elis quest. The ability to meld Violence and a message of hope while keeping Eli’s mystique about him is finely crafted as well.
You can go back through the film and find multiple plot holes ala how does 30 yr old gas work, how is Solara so clean and stylish given the elements and a lack of water but the creative use of weaponry and the message of the film more than make up for the shortcomings.Grade-85