— Robert Hays and Leslie Nielsen as Ted Striker and Dr. Rumack from Airplane!, 1980
January 16, 2010
The Book of Eli Review
— Posted by Rodney
Thanks for checking out our Book of Eli review.
Genre: Action Adventure/Drama
THE GENERAL IDEA
A post apocalyptic world set 30 years after a nuclear strike has left the world in ruin. The surviving humans find themselves huddled in the remains of small towns under warlord rule. Eli is a “walker” who has been set on a mission from a higher power to head West. In his posession is a book. A powerful book. The boss of a small town (Gary Oldman) has been seeking this book and when Eli wanders through his town he will stop at nothing to get it from him.
The drama is the star here. Despite the trailer making this look like a Mad Max action romp, this is mostly a drama. They hit on a lot of themes about how life was “before the flash” and what is left.
The action that there is is brief but freaking amazing. Brutally efficient when Eli pulls out his long knife/sword thing, this shit gets real. So graphic without excessive gore.
There is little in here that is spelled out for you, and still you are not lost or missing any details. The history of what came before his hinted at in very subtle dialogue that never sounds like they are saying it for your benefit. Very well laid out.
You have to absorb this story. It makes sense. What Eli is up to, why he does it and how all falls into place. And the ending just suddenly adds a new layer to EVERTHING he does. Blew my mind.
Gary Oldman as the badguy Carnagie is a merciless warlord type, and he does it very well and very convincingly. His motivations are purely power, but he is an intelligent man and he knows how to get it.
The book is powerful, and what Carnagie wants it for makes complete sense. They were careful not to tell you exactly what the book does in the trailer and it makes sense. You find out pretty early on in the movie, but I won’t spoil it for you.
Mila Kunis (as appealing as she is) is unnecessary. She doesn’t need to be there. She is a plot device that helps spell out Eli’s story, and a sympathetic helper in his mission. But the movie could have gone on without her.
The ending brings up some more questions. It did blow my mind, but it isn’t without its minor flaws. Its plausible, and it really makes you think – which is great. But you don’t see it coming. But in hindsight its not perfectly delivered, which is why you don’t see it coming. Its minor, but it does take a little away from the amazing reveal.
That this was marketed as an action film, some would be disappointed to see how little action there is.
I was expecting a post apocalyptic actioner, and while it had elements of it, this is really a drama. Sure there are some amazing splody parts and brutal violence, but this is a thinking film that not only surprised me, but waited until the very end to let me know it had me on the hook the whole time.
I give The Book of Eli a 7 out of 10
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