Monday, June 21, 2010

Book Of Eli, The - 4.5/5

Is there anything more fun than watching post apocalyptic films? I mean, usually they are either so damn depressing that you feel like garbage with guilt afterwords or so damn hokey that you feel like garbage for wasting your time with it. Then there is "The Book Of Eli", one of the few post apocalyptic that manages to balance out its moral depression with the likes of hope. Not only that, but its a damn entertaining film too.

Eli (Washington) has a long way to go still. He has to make it west on his journey. He's carrying a very important book that must reach its destination on the west coast. Along the way he happens to come into a town run by the tyrannical Carnegie (Oldman) whom, like Eli, is a literate man. He realizes the power of the book that this wanderer carries and desires to seize for his own hungry power struggle. Eli must take his new found friend and protege Solara (Kunis) and head out to make it to their destination before Carnegie ends it early.

What's wonderful about "The Book Of Eli" is all of the subtlety that is buried in the film. Now the final moments of the film reveal a massive twist that makes the film twice as good the second time around (due to this subtlety) so be prepared for multiple viewings. Luckily, the film is still fast paced enough and filled with enough action to keep even the less intelligent film audience entertained too. Although at times the stylistic action work can feel forced, it does its job well and keeps the film moving despite its heavy story arcs and desolate atmosphere to coincide with its post apocalyptic feel.

Naturally, we have a pretty damn solid cast. Denzel and Oldman are going to obviously be the highlights of the film both doing an amazing job countering the other in style and character work, even if they aren't together on screen all that much, and with a solid supporting cast with Jennifer Beals and Ray Stevenson (who is SO under used) this film is set on that front. Even the normally annoying as fuck Mila Kunis keeps her head above water for most of the film and doesn't dog it down (poor "Max Payne").

"The Book Of Eli" is definitely a film for the smart folks out there. Its theological moral reasoning may seem surface level most of the time, but its the subtle things in this film that make it truly hit home (Ever think about what the name Eli means?) and with a clever final twist to the film and some damn fine acting, this is one of the best post apocalyptic films this reviewer has seen in a long time. THREE CHEERS FOR THE END OF THE WORLD!

BONUS RANT: One sequence that still doesn't sit well with me is the opening scene in the forest with the cat. It seems fairly out of place and feels almost forced to be the stylistic opening that this movie needed to catch its audience right away. It has a different color scheme, some odd imagery, and a slow motion part that seems to not be all the relevant. Luckily the film picks up significantly from there. 

Written By Matt Reifschneider

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