The Book of Eli

"OK"

The Book of Eli Review


Although it feels like a parallel story taking place at the same time as The Road, this post-apocalyptic thriller has the opposite effect, actually getting less complex and interesting as it goes along. At least it starts out well.

Eli (Washington) is a loner walking through a decimated American landscape some 30 years after "the war" brought about "the flash". His most precious possession is an old book, and he's willing to fight to the death to protect it as he heads west. Then he stumbles into a roughneck town run by the greedy Carnegie (Oldman), who's searching for the legendary book with his brutal henchman (Stevenson). And when the daughter (Kunis) of Carnegie's blind girlfriend (Beals) runs off after Eli, things get messy.

The setting consists of dusty landscapes and dead cities with a morally upright man trying to survive marauding bands of thieves and cannibals. But while The Road started here and deepened into an examination of human morality, this film is more interested in cool slow motion, grisly fights and ham-fisted religious propaganda. It looks great, and Washington is a terrific presence, but after the thoughtful, involving opening sequence, things quickly turn rather silly.

The main problem is that a standard movie structure takes over when Eli encounters Carnegie. Oldman revels in the snivelling, obsessed villain role, with Beals and Kunis playing thankless female characters amid the Mad Max extras who cackle around the edges. Sudden scenes of grim violence keep us on edge, while the over-serious tone is mercifully undercut by a few comical asides (UK audiences will particularly enjoy thespians Gambon and de la Tour as nutty survivalists).

But the script itself isn't half as clever as it thinks it is, throwing in vague references to environmental catastrophes, holy wars and oppressive regimes. Yes, there's a guilty pleasure element to the film, even if it gets a bit too long and takes a couple of contrived twists (try not to think about where they get petrol for their gas-guzzling trucks). But it's the way potentially interesting characters disappear into thin stereotypes that leaves a bad taste in our mouths.



The Book of Eli

Facts and Figures

Genre: Action/Adventure

Run time: 118 mins

In Theaters: Friday 15th January 2010

Box Office USA: $94.3M

Box Office Worldwide: $159.3M

Budget: $115M

Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures

Production compaines: Alcon Entertainment, Silver Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 48%
Fresh: 92 Rotten: 100

IMDB: 6.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: The Hughes Brothers

Starring: as Eli, as Carnegie, as George, as Solara, as Claudia, as Redridge, as Martha, as Engineer, Lateef Crowder as Highjacker #3, as Highjacker Leader, as Hoyt, as Martz, Lora Cunningham as Young Woman Highjacker, as Lombardi

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Free State of Jones Movie Review

Free State of Jones Movie Review

Since its true story is still so timely after some 150 years, we can forgive...

Deepwater Horizon Movie Review

Deepwater Horizon Movie Review

This reunion of actor Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg feels like a natural successor...

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Movie Review

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Movie Review

Ransom Riggs' bestselling novel is appropriately adapted into a movie by Tim Burton, the gothic...

Get Back Movie Review

Get Back Movie Review

Roger Appleton's documentary 'Get Back' looks into the music scene that come out of Liverpool....

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Advertisement
Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.