The Book of Eli is one of those sci-fi fantasies that critics have difficulty summarizing without -- at least on the Internet -- posting "spoiler" alerts. Roger Ebert is left having to conclude in his Chicago Sun-Times review that the "films looks and feels good, and [Denzel] Washington's performance is the more uncanny the more we think back over it." He then adds "The ending is 'flawed,' as we critics like to say, but it's so magnificently, shamelessly, implausibly flawed that (a) it breaks apart from the movie and has a life of its own, or (b) at least it avoids being predictable. Now do yourself a favor and don't talk to anybody about the film if you plan to see it." The "book" in the title is a Bible -- supposedly the last one on earth, and the film trumpets its religious message louder by the minute, some critics suggest. (It's being heavily marketed to Christian audiences, the Wall Street Journal reported today.) But, forget about the religious message, Michael Phillips suggests in the Chicago Tribune . " The Book of Eli works, even if the preservation of Christianity isn't high on your personal post-apocalypse bucket list. Establishing its storytelling rules clearly and well, the film simply is better, and better-acted, than the average end-of-the-world fairy tale." However, Peter Howell in the Toronto Star concludes, "This Book doesn't teach, inspire or amuse; instead it mysteriously flops open at that well-thumbed page favored by hack filmmakers, the one that reads simply, "Smash, hack and torch." And Claudia Puig in USA Today says that the movie is "too brutal to be an inspirational tale. With its handsomely moody look, it seems more like an extended music video. Mostly, Eli is hampered by drab performances and a ponderous story." But similar comments were made about a certain Mel Gibson production, something that Lou Lumenick of the New York Post alludes to in his review. "Will audiences go for this unusual mixture of religion and brutal violence?" he asks. "Well, look at The Passion Of The Christ. "

15/01/2010