The Book Of Eli
It is 30 years on following the planet being decimated by a cataclysmic war. The world is now a barren wasteland where life is scarce and hope even scarcer. Just like in the cinematic world of the Wild West, the world is ruled by the ones most willing to kill and those who hold the weapons. It is by in large a lawless place.
Into this world of hardship, pain and suffering comes a man called Eli (Washington) who has been walking for thirty years on a quest given to him by divine visions, to deliver a book to its safe destination. However this is no standard book, it is a tome that holds the hope for humanity within its pages. It is the last of its kind, and must be protected at all costs. Just like the lone wandering gunman in a classic western film, Eli is a warrior like no other. His ability to defend himself and his precious cargo is unmatched, but only used in self-defense and self-preservation. In everything Eli remains calm and at peace until things get complicated when he is forced to care for another along the way.
Now I loved the Western film themes that have flowed into this movie and I have to say that I really enjoyed, not only the story line but also the pace at which it flowed. The fighting action scenes are well produced and rumour has it that not only did Denzel Washington prepare for these scenes by studying under Bruce lee’s own protégé Dan Inosanto but also performed all of his own stunts in the hand-to-hand fight sequences.
These great action sequences are backed up by solid performances by a stellar cast of big names such as Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis previously from That 70’s Show, musician turned actor Tom Waits and Jennifer Beals. There performances adds the vivid colour onto these wonderfully filmed, dusty and grey landscapes, that ooze hopelessness and suffering.
There is a wonderful balance of intimacy and intensity that comes out of Washington’s performance, which matches up with the religious fervour and yet dangerous vengeful fight skills that his character portrays. The dialogue held within the film hits home hard at time to deal with the social and moral dilemmas that come from an empty lawless and mostly hopeless future. There is a wonderful scene where Mila Kunis’ character Solara asks Eli what the world was like before the “big flash”. Eli answers that it was a world where we had more than we needed and threw away things that people would now kill for. A biting wakeup to the modern world of consumerism that rules the world we live within unanswered.
So in general this is by far one of my favourite films of 2010, but then again, it is the style of film that I really love… A post-apocalyptic western styled story of a lone warrior who finds redemption and connection through the brutal resolution he would hold to a higher calling.
A must see on the big screen.
Reviewed by: Jon E Clist [via www.bigscreennz.com]
Releases: 6th May 2010
Rating: R16 – Violence & Offensive Language
Duration: 119 minutes
Genre: Post Apocalyptic action drama
Starring: Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis, Jennifer Beals and Ray Stevenson
Directors: Albert and Allen Hughes