Quick Movie Review – The Book of Eli

Watched The Book of Eli last night. This will be a quick post because I have about10 minutes before I go to work, so no images.

I loved it. It was wonderful storytelling. It was just the way Christian fiction ought to be–get the message across without any heavy-handedness. Denzel Washington was terrific, as usual, and who ever knew that the girl who played Jackie Burkhart (Mila Kunis) on That 70’s Show could act so well? Gary Oldman was hardly recognizable as the villain, but he was chilling.

The Book of Eli is about a man named Eli (Washington) who feels driven to carry a book across the post-apocalyptic country. He will do anything to protect the book, including standing aside and not getting involved when a gang of thugs kills a man and rapes his wife. He ends up in a town controlled by a man named Carnegie (Oldman), who is seeking the one book that will give him the words with which he can rule the masses.

Two men want the same book–one to rule the world and the other to save it.

As I said, the storytelling was fantastic. It brings most elements that were introduced in the opening scenes full circle, just as a story ought to do. I loved the iPod. It was totally unexpected in that setting. And I keep wondering how a novelist would have portrayed the book so the surprise at the end would remain intact. In the movie, they were able to show everything up front, trusting the reader to see what they expected to see. In a novel, the novelist would have had to withhold information. It bears thinking about.

I love post-apocalyptic fiction when it is done right, and this was so done right. I highly recommend it.

The Book of Eli – IMDB

4 thoughts on “Quick Movie Review – The Book of Eli”

  1. Hmm, I actually got the opposite impression from the film. I thought it was quite preachy at times, but I do agree that Mila Kunis has really broken out of her That 70’s Show typecast. She’s appeared in a lot of surprising films, quite a few of them action like this one, and has been very believable.

    The plot of Eli is what really made me grind my teeth. What Carnegie wants is the supposed last copy of The Bible, but honestly if he were to just hold up a book and say “THIS IS THE BIBLE” who could really call him out on it? Many of the people in this post-apoc world don’t even know how to read, and there aren’t exactly people running around striving to teach them. Why does it need to be the genuine article if all he wants it for is to control people? Deception is deception, isn’t it?

    I don’t know, the whole thing just placed far too much significance on the *actual* book for me. I just didn’t understand how Carnegie would have “ruled the world” just because he had it.

    Hopefully this doesn’t open up an argument that you weren’t trying to start!

  2. I didn’t see it that way at all. He wanted the words from the Bible, not just a book to call the Bible. The implication is that he wanted the power from the words from the Bible. I get the impression that he had a lot of memories of unscrupulous pastors who warped the Bible to fit their will and to hold power over those who followed him. They were his role models.

    If you think about it, he got what you described in the end. He got something that looked like a Bible. Trouble was, he could make no use of the words within.

    (Tried not to spoil the plot, here.)

  3. But if he had a book that he called The Bible, he could make up his own words to put in it. He seemed like a smart enough villain that he should have figured that out. I don’t understand why it had to be the *actual* words, especially considering all they really compel people to do is avoid “sin” and help each other out (the two things that Carnegie really didn’t want the people under his thumb to spontaneously begin doing). Of course, that also depends on interpretation… so my question really is if he was just going to give a warped interpretation of the actual Bible, why not just make something up anyway?

  4. You are a writer. You know that making up words is not that easy. Besides, I got the impression that the people around him didn’t know about the Bible at all. He never uses the words, “the Bible”.

    My takeaway was he believed in the power behind the Word of the Bible–in his own twisted way. He wanted the power of corrupt popes, twisted preachers and cult leaders, the power that had transformed entire nations. He had already seen the limitations of his own talents and wanted more.

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