The Book of Eli (2009) USA

Come on?

What were you expecting…Denzel doesn’t do Horror. It’s still a good movie though!

 

 

THE BOOK OF ELI (2009) USA

Written By Gary Whitta

Directed By “The Hughes Brothers-Albert Hughes & Allen Hughes

Starring Denzel Washington, Mila Kunis & Gary Oldman

 

The Story…

A lonely traveler wonders the aftermath of earth in search of all things SAN FRANCISCO. He’s got skills right out of Kill Bill and carries a bible. (The Last known one on Earth)

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He’s not a hero in the conventional way. He helps some when he has to and leaves others. Honestly you’re not sure whether or not to side with him till near the end.

So, he’s on this mission and he stops in this town, where Carnegie (played by Gary Oldman) rules

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with Claudia (played by Jennifer Beal) and Solara (Mila Kunis) reluctantly by his side.

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Carnegie hears of the stranger with the book and takes an interest. Not wanting to let go of his book, Eli exits the town quickly with an unwanted tag-along Solara.

And the chase begins.

The concept that there is only one bible left in the world is great. Also the idea that this is as valuable as water in this desert like environment, interesting.

Another really cool moment is “The Couple” that Denzel and Mila meet, played by Frances De La Tour and Michael Gambon.

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In the end his goal is a good one nad his personal twist is quite interesting.

2 issues though…

1. Jennifer Beals story was weak. She’s a great actress; this could have used more development.

2. Casting…

-You will never hear me say “Denzel Sucks” But for this one I feel like we could have made his situation more desperate. I would have like to have seen him more ruthless, mean and violent. That way when we discover that he is the good, his journey would have been more harrowing. Maybe it’s just that Denzel is too awesome in our minds, so it’s hard watching him slum or when he does slum it still looks cool. But his journey was more like a jazz tune and it should have felt like a classical piece with loads of dissonance.

-Then there’s the side kick Mila Kunis from that 70′s Show. It’s not that I didn’t like her but in this type of formula needs a stark difference, making the on-screen duo (eg Glover/Gibson-Oscar/Felix-Thelma/Louise) so fascinating to watch maneuver the strange world.. An example of a great pairing, “Leon”  and “Mathilda” in  “The Professional”. There we saw a big, mean, and  quiet hitman with a little extrovert talky girl-it worked! Thus Mila’s mousy and talkative “Solara” with Denzel’s cool yet grumpy “Eli” should work BUT…we never felt him care about her. I will say she did try to break from her “Hot Girl” persona and do a tomboy. But in the end, they were both on mission but never really connecting.

Then…

Does Gary Oldman have to always play the bad guy trying to end civilization or do really bad things (5th element, True Romance, Sid and Nancy) (Don’t get me wrong, I love him)  AND I get it, you want the nemesis to be bad (and Charming). But gosh, they should have gone out on a limb and surprised us-Viggo Mortensen-Julianne Moore-Abigail Breslin (Good intensions, gone wrong-character) I think this was a GREAT opportunity to really do a 360 in showing how in the new world maybe a mother or child or quiet guy would be so driven to find the bible and lead the people even if it were through extreme means. It would have given us more to chew on.

Say it were Abigail Breslin and let’s say she had been a holy roller before the apocalypse and lost both of her parents and studied scripture and had loads of people following her and the religious power had turned her into a beast of a person (personality wise) stuck in a really cute little girl body (Kind of Interview with a Vampire). With good dialogue that would have been so scary that huge men would be ready to kill on command for her and her belief in finding the bible.

This all boils down to a great idea that could have used a bit more development.

Is it worth a watch…Yes!

Will you finish kind of wishing they’d been more creative in the casting …probably.

Enjoy!

THE BOOK OF ELI (2009) USA

Written By Gary Whitta

Directed By “The Hughes Brothers-Albert Hughes & Allen Hughes

Starring Denzel Washington, Mila Kunis & Gary Oldman

Other films from the Hughes Brothers-Menace to Society, Dead Presidents, From Hell

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