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The Book Of Eli (2010)

Updated on October 13, 2011

Some will kill to have it. He will kill to protect it.

In another Hollywood post apocalyptic tale, Denzel Washington and Mila Kunis manage to save what could have been one of the worst films ever made. The film takes place in the distant future, where humanity is on the brink of extinction. Nobody really knows how humanity got that way, but many have blamed it on a certain book. A certain religious book that helped shape and define our culture over the years. Ironically ,decades after every known copy of the book was destroyed and humanity is on the brink of extinction, it's said now that very same book might be the key to humanity's salvation. Enter Eli (Denzel Washington), whom is a mysterious loner that has miraculously found the last and only copy of the book. Eli wanders aimlessly west, throughout the deserted wasteland that used to be the United States, due to his assigned task by a higher calling to deliver the book to it's rightful place. A place he won't know until he's given a sign. Now, I won't say the name of the book as that would be giving too much away, but let's just say that this religious book, has been known throughout our history, to influence many cultural and historical events during our time.

I'll be honest, I normally never watch action apocalyptic type films, but I'm a huge Mila Kunis (Solara) and Denzel Washington fan. In fact, I've followed Mila since she started doing the voice of Meg Griffin, from "Family Guy", or her other successful T.V. series, "That 70's Show." Heck, I even loved her performance in Mike Judge's comedy, "Extract." Plus, having the chance to see her team up with a great actor in Denzel, whom I've been a fan of since I was a kid. Cherishing such films that he's done from "Remember The Titans", "Hurricane", "Training Day", and many others. Add in another seasoned actor like Gary Oldman (Carnegie), and you've hooked me for this film.

Sadly, the story line is ridiculously cliched and generic; offering very little in originality when it comes to post apocalyptic films where some loner bad ass comes along out of nowhere. Somehow miraculously defeating insurmountable odds to save humanity. In fact, even the villains in this movie, with the exception of Carnegie, are portrayed as moronic and incompetent. Don't get me wrong, I understand that, in this would be future, majority of the world's remaining population are illiterate. However, the henchmen in this movie have got to be the biggest morons in the world; they take the phrase, "can't find good help these days", to a whole new level. Seriously, in one scene, Eli was standing outside in the middle of the freaking town, in broad day light and hiding in plain sight, yet not one guy could even even land a single shot at him. Seriously, even the guys firing at him on top of the roofs, couldn't get a shot off to at least wound the guy. However, conveniently for Eli he was able to pull off a shot at each of them; using only one bullet per goon no less, while standing in one spot. Gee, what are the odds? I guess logic and reality doesn't apply to this movie. Or maybe it was some sort of divine intervention, I guess. That or it was due to a half ass written script.

Either way, the only saving grace for this film was the actors. I thought Denzel Washington, Mila Kunis, and Gary Oldman were the only thing keeping this film alive for me. Denzel not only managed to bring his usual charm and humor to any role he does, but he also added a sense of style that made his character kind of cool. Despite, the stereotype character he was presenting.

Mila Kunis, whom is basically starting off her film career, since "That 70's Show" ended, continues to evolve and grow as an actress. Taking on dynamic different roles to display her full range of versatility in acting. Going from playing a dumb and spoiled rich girl, from "That 70's Show", to a slutty and ingenious con artist in "Extract." Then finally in "Book Of Eli", where she plays a naive, resourceful, and brave young girl. Indeed, it seems Mila is turning into one of the best actresses in Hollywood, as I'm sure her career will continue to excel. Having not only beauty, but acting abilities to match, which is a hard combination to find these days in movies.

As I've stated earlier, all the villains in this movie are essentially morons to say the least. Carnegie is no exception, but Gary Oldman does manage to portray the character with some dignity.  Gary portrays his antagonistic character as a man that has literally gone mad with power, and that allows his thirst for power to corrupt and deteriorate his mind.  Constantly at wits end as he'll stop at nothing to use the book's influence to conquer the world.  In each scene, the audience is able to see the conviction and subtle approach Oldman uses to enhance his character. 

Sadly, even with the twist at the end, none of their performances make this pitiful film worth the price of an admissions ticket at the theater.  Denzel Washington, Mila Kunis, and Gary Oldman do a great job salvaging what could have been this year's "Transformers" film, where it could have been all special effects, bad story, and no acting.  Thankfully, that's not the case.  Don't get me wrong, the film is fairly decent for what it is.  However, it would be best to wait for this one on DVD,  since this film isn't worth seeing in a theater. 


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    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 8 years ago


      That's a very interesting take on the film as I never thought of it like that before. Although I will agree with you that Denzel Washington and Gary Oldman were very good in this movie, as we Mila Kunis.


      Thanks for the warm compliment. Yeah, it's a fairly decent film for what it, but I wouldn't see it again in a theater though.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 8 years ago from Upstate New York

      You're a terrific movie reviewer. I'm definitely waiting for the DVD, even though "Book of Eli" caught my eye. I think it was the title.

    • satomko profile image

      Seth Tomko 8 years ago from Macon, GA

      I like this movie. The whole "post-apocalyptic" setting is clearly a mask; this movie is like an old school spaghetti western. The movie, admittedly, feels familiar at times, but the direction, especially early on, is solid and pretty artistic for a b-movie. For example, the fight that is done entirely in silhouette and in what appears to be one take is a delight to watch. Also the lingering, panoramic shots of landscape empty save for Eli--small and slowly marching his way west--give the movie a taste of the same kind of frailty and melancholy loneliness that haunts films like The Road or Mad Max.

      I don't think Book of Eli will win any awards come next year, but if you want to see good performances by Denzel Washington and Gary Oldman in an action movie that is both fun and mournful, and has something to say about the power of the written word, then check it out.