The Book of Eli
Denzel Washington is amazing as a wanderer, who’s been walking the roads for the last thirty years heading west, a man on a mission.
What’s the goal?
Even he is not sure. Just that he’ll know it when he sees it. He carries the book in his bag and protects it at all costs. The world is a rough place after the bombs dropped. The giant crater holes, the broken fragments of Man’s civilization to where people have degraded to biker gangs and every person for themselves. Only the older men and women who are literate have any hold on anyone else. Books were burned and banned soon after the war to “prevent this from happening again.”
Clearly a Fahrenheit 451 reference.
Keep the people ignorant and they can be more easily controlled. Main characters include: Mila Kunis’ Solara and Gary Oldman’s Carnegie. Gary Oldman plays a guy who is running a town where he knows this is true. He gets his biker gangs to go out and search for the book. The Book that will get him control over the masses. Using the words from the Bible will get him to raise up and take control over the cities in his area. From history it is not the first time that faith in the Bible and religion has led to control over populations. But the film is not saying that Oldman’s character is right. In fact, the selfless faith is what triumphs at the end. And what an ending there is. Can’t spoil it, sorry.
The younger people in the film, the woman that befriends him and others, cannot read and have never learned to read. The biker gang leaders can’t read and they don’t care — they’ll kill, rape and steal for a decent barter & trade. The woman can’t read either, but wants to know of the old days. She starts out as a lousy character, frankly, but then develops into a strong character near the end of the film.
The photography with the washed-out colors and the sepia toned landscape and people was wonderfully shot and along with the stark music, gives a depressing yet hopeful mood. Favorite scenes: The silhouette where Denzel is whipping out his blade and slicing and dicing the bad guys, hand flies off, a few gut slices and blood splashes. Yuk. The stark, barren landscape, the blackened craters.
The sun so bright that everyone has to wear shades (apparently the ozone layer has been wiped out). The old couple in a farm house who have a different taste in meat than most. 🙂 This is not a religious film, although there are elements of it. It’s not even a film of having a religion. It’s about having faith, hope and knowledge.
And bringing people together from that hope and knowledge. It’s touching when Denzel’s character struggles with the definition of faith. He just knows! Will Eli live long enough to see his dream happen?
The ending will surprise you, it clearly is not a pat, predictable story.
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