When the names Denzel Washington and Gary Oldman appear on the same movie poster, you expect greatness… And I love it when you get what is expected. Finally, a movie that didn’t completely waste the potential that lies within (like Gamer).
“The Book of Eli” is an decidedly brutal account of a post apocalyptic civilization and belief structure where people are literally few and far between, those that can be trusted are even farther away. “Eli” opens with its title character hunting a cat in the forest, amid a shower of what I assume to be radioactive ash. The whole aura of the film gives the impression of desolation in a world of uncaring steel. It makes “The Road Warrior” look like an out of control tea party.
Eli (Denzel Washington), protects (partial spoiler alert!) the only surviving copy of the King James Bible. He has been walking for 30 years, guided by his faith, to a place that offers the rebirth of mankind. Walking, since the war burned a hole in the sky.
There is no actual account of what caused the war, some say The Book is responsible. According to Carnegie (Gary Oldman), all copies were destroyed after the war. Carnegie is a not so typical warlord that controls a segment of the surviving populace. What makes him so potentially dangerous, is he actually has a workable plan. He wants to use The Book as hope and as a weapon, targeting the hearts of the weak and desperate. Before you start to say, “whateva!” check history for what atrocities have ALREADY happened in regards to The Bible and many major religions.
As for the social commentary, Eli discusses with Solara (Mila Kunis) of how things used to be. He states the food was plentiful and how they used to throw away things that people would now kill for. As a society, maybe we can use this as the beginning of a wakeup call for what is now considered important. I like some stuff and toys as much as the next person, but have been realizing that unused items occupying space do not enrich my life.
Two themes that seems to persist in all destruction of society movies is 1) women definitely hold up better than men. Solara and Claudia (Jennifer Beals) are HOT! 2) Someone will always find a way to keep vehicles running… George (Michael Gambon) and Martha (Frances de la Tour) are an older couple that has been able to survive, and hold on to the family farm in the process. They offer a glimmer of comic relief, while forcing us to look in the mirror of what we could become if faced with a hopefully unimaginable situation.