Home Movie Vault Disc Vault Coming Soon Join Our Mailing List Articles About Us Contest Soundtrack Books eStore


Genre: Action/Thriller
Director: Allen Hughes, Albert Hughes
Cast: Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis, Ray Stevenson, Jennifer Beals, Michael Gambon, Evan Jones
RunTime: 1 hr 55 mins
Released By: Columbia TriStar
Rating: NC-16 (Violence & Some Coarse Language)
Official Website: http://thebookofeli.warnerbros.com/

Opening Day: 18 March 2010


In "The Book of Eli," Denzel Washington stars as a lone warrior named Eli, who fights his way across the desolate wasteland of near-future America to realize his destiny and deliver the knowledge that can bring civilization back from the brink of destruction and save the future of humanity.

Movie Review:

"I have fought the fight. I have finished my course. I have kept the faith" –
2 Timothy 4:7

In the scheme of Hollywood’s obsession with post-apocalyptic fiction, Denzel Washington’s "The Book of Eli" isn’t simply just another end-of-the-world tale. On the surface, its premise of a lone warrior wandering a desolate landscape appears to ring smack of other such genre pics like "Mad Max" or "I Am Legend"; but it really is surprisingly much more complex.

Here is a rare Hollywood mainstream film that injects a generous dose of Christianity into its storytelling, featuring as its titular hero a faithful Christian named Eli. Gary Whitta’s screenplay tries to blend the genre archetypes of Hollywood’s best post-apocalyptic tales with a distinct but thankfully never heavy-handed reflection of the end of days from a Christian perspective- beginning with said tome which Eli is guarding.

Denzel Washington’s Eli is on a journey to deliver the book out West, across a stark wilderness devastated by some catastrophic event some 30 years ago. What happened before is never quite clear- though admittedly it is not the focus of the movie. Neither do we know his destination, nor for that matter does Eli, even as he reiterates to himself, 'Stay on the path. This is not your concern'.

Eli is single-minded in his sense of mission, struggling to walk away when he sees fellow travellers on the road attacked by gangs of marauders. Such is the state of civilisation amidst wastelands of abandoned cars, crumbling buildings and bombed highways- so in order to survive, Eli wields a sword which he brandishes expertly against anyone who stands in his way. That villain turns out to be Carnegie (Gary Oldman) who has been on the search for a book to rally people under his control, a weapon, he describes, to bend people’s wills to his own.

What kind of book would have such a power? The answer isn’t that elusive- indeed, discerning readers would probably already guessed that Eli’s book really is the Holy Bible (the King James version of it, no less), the very last one that is left. Depending on your personal religious convictions, you may agree wholeheartedly or dismiss this as hokum. Nevertheless, "The Book of Eli’s" point is this- in order to rebuild civilisation, we may very well need the power of the Word.

Appreciated in that light, Eli’s calling (and yes, we mean that literally) doesn’t seem all that farfetched. He believes in his heart in the power of the Word and that he is guided on his quest by the invisible hand of God. "How do you know you're walking the right way?" he's asked. "I walk by faith, and not by sight," he answers, and Eli’s conviction in his belief will likely go down just fine with the converted.

The non-converted however may find the symbolism a little hard to swallow, especially towards the second half of the movie when Eli’s purpose becomes clearer. Despite the inevitable scepticism, it is ultimately Denzel Washington’s charismatic performance that will win you over. With his trademark lope/trudge, Denzel embodies the spirit of this laconic, solitary wanderer beautifully, portraying with grace and dignity a person steadfast in his beliefs and resolute in his actions.

Gary Oldman’s Carnegie too is a man firm in his beliefs and determined in his actions- though of course his motivations are entirely different, and misguided. Such is the thin line in the good and evil polemic, and Oldman’s nuanced performance gives his character added gravitas. Through Carnegie’s town, Eli meets the people whose lives he will touch on his mission- a blind mother (Flashdance’s Jennifer Beals in a welcome return to the big screen) and her daughter (Mila Kunis) who through Eli’s exemplar will find her calling.

It is within a world torn apart by chaos that Eli’s mission becomes significant, a sepia-toned world that is richly imagined by co-directors Albert and Allen Hughes (who bill themselves the Hughes Bros.) in its bleakness and hopelessness. Through our omnipresent search for meaning in life, "The Book of Eli" invites its audience to believe in one’s man discovery of the meaning of his life. Like all other post apocalyptic movies, this one has its fair share of thrilling action sequences, but it is this deeper search for meaning and purpose that makes it stand out from the rest.

Movie Rating:

(This is a bold piece of post-apocalyptic fiction that finds its own unique voice through Christian theology)

Review by Gabriel Chong


. Legion (2010)

. Babylon A.D. (2008)

. Doomsday (2008)

. Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2007)

. I Am Legend (2007)

. 28 Weeks Later (2006)

. Blade Trinity (2004)

. Children Of Men DVD (2006)


DISCLAIMER: Images, Textual, Copyrights and trademarks for the film and related entertainment properties mentioned
herein are held by their respective owners and are solely for the promotional purposes of said properties.
All other logo and design Copyright©2004- , movieXclusive.com™
All Rights Reserved.