The Book of Eli

"OK"

The Book of Eli Review


Although it feels like a parallel story taking place at the same time as The Road, this post-apocalyptic thriller has the opposite effect, actually getting less complex and interesting as it goes along. At least it starts out well.

Eli (Washington) is a loner walking through a decimated American landscape some 30 years after "the war" brought about "the flash". His most precious possession is an old book, and he's willing to fight to the death to protect it as he heads west. Then he stumbles into a roughneck town run by the greedy Carnegie (Oldman), who's searching for the legendary book with his brutal henchman (Stevenson). And when the daughter (Kunis) of Carnegie's blind girlfriend (Beals) runs off after Eli, things get messy.

The setting consists of dusty landscapes and dead cities with a morally upright man trying to survive marauding bands of thieves and cannibals. But while The Road started here and deepened into an examination of human morality, this film is more interested in cool slow motion, grisly fights and ham-fisted religious propaganda. It looks great, and Washington is a terrific presence, but after the thoughtful, involving opening sequence, things quickly turn rather silly.

The main problem is that a standard movie structure takes over when Eli encounters Carnegie. Oldman revels in the snivelling, obsessed villain role, with Beals and Kunis playing thankless female characters amid the Mad Max extras who cackle around the edges. Sudden scenes of grim violence keep us on edge, while the over-serious tone is mercifully undercut by a few comical asides (UK audiences will particularly enjoy thespians Gambon and de la Tour as nutty survivalists).

But the script itself isn't half as clever as it thinks it is, throwing in vague references to environmental catastrophes, holy wars and oppressive regimes. Yes, there's a guilty pleasure element to the film, even if it gets a bit too long and takes a couple of contrived twists (try not to think about where they get petrol for their gas-guzzling trucks). But it's the way potentially interesting characters disappear into thin stereotypes that leaves a bad taste in our mouths.



The Book of Eli

Facts and Figures

Genre: Action/Adventure

Run time: 118 mins

In Theaters: Friday 15th January 2010

Box Office USA: $94.3M

Box Office Worldwide: $159.3M

Budget: $115M

Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures

Production compaines: Alcon Entertainment, Silver Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 48%
Fresh: 92 Rotten: 100

IMDB: 6.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: The Hughes Brothers

Starring: as Eli, as Carnegie, as George, as Solara, as Claudia, as Redridge, as Martha, as Engineer, Lateef Crowder as Highjacker #3, as Highjacker Leader, as Hoyt, as Martz, Lora Cunningham as Young Woman Highjacker, as Lombardi

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

X-Men: Apocalypse Movie Review

X-Men: Apocalypse Movie Review

This closing chapter of the First Class trilogy falls into the same trap as The...

Sing Street Movie Review

Sing Street Movie Review

A buoyant celebration of the power of music, this is the third blissfully entertaining musical...

Departure Movie Review

Departure Movie Review

Complex, dark and very moving, this British drama never makes things easy for the audience,...

Everybody Wants Some!! Movie Review

Everybody Wants Some!! Movie Review

Richard Linklater loosely follows on from two of his most acclaimed films with this lively...

Our Kind of Traitor Movie Review

Our Kind of Traitor Movie Review

John le Carre's novel is adapted with plenty of inventive style into a remarkably personal...

The Angry Birds Movie Movie Review

The Angry Birds Movie Movie Review

There's nothing particularly memorable about this frantic animated romp, which adapts the iconic phone-app game...

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising [Bad Neighbours 2] Movie Review

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising [Bad Neighbours 2] Movie Review

While it's amusing and sometimes very funny, there's an air of desperation about this sequel...

Advertisement
Florence Foster Jenkins Movie Review

Florence Foster Jenkins Movie Review

Although this comedy-drama seems to have been written specifically to give Meryl Streep a chance...

I Saw the Light Movie Review

I Saw the Light Movie Review

Writer-director Marc Abraham gets ambitious with this biopic about iconic country music star Hank Williams,...

Captain America: Civil War Movie Review

Captain America: Civil War Movie Review

After the formulaic thrills of The Winter Soldier and Age of Ultron, Marvel's Avengers were...

Son of Saul Movie Review

Son of Saul Movie Review

From Hungary, this year's Oscar-winning foreign film is a remarkably fresh take on the Holocaust...

Demolition Movie Review

Demolition Movie Review

With its darkly emotive themes and brittle humour, this well-made drama by Jean-Marc Vallee (Dallas...

Bastille Day Movie Review

Bastille Day Movie Review

An attempt to muscle in on Luc Besson's Taken-style of thriller, this is an odd...

Secret Cinema Presents: 28 Days Later Movie Review

Secret Cinema Presents: 28 Days Later Movie Review

Expectations are a problem with this year's Secret Cinema event. After the jaw-dropping, goosebump-inducing surprises...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.