The Book of Eli (2010)
Directed by Albert Hughes and Allen Hughes
Written by Gary Whitta
Starring: Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis
A lone man (Washington) is fighting his way West with a precious book in his possession. He believes that the book could hold the key to preserving mankind. During his trek he encounters a ruthless man (Oldman) desperate to have the book for his own gains.
This 2010 post-apocalyptic film was directed by the Hughes brothers, Albert (Dead Presidents) and Allen (Menace II Society). The screenplay was written by Gary Whitta (After Earth). The movie stars Oscar winner Denzel Washington (American Gangster) as well as Gary Oldman (Lawless) and Mila Kunis (Ted).
This is a fairly by-the-numbers post-apocalyptic story. The ruin of the world plays as the stage for the drama and action that unfolds. The story starts off with a series of unique scenes that introduce the main characters and the world they’re living in. The film also finds some great ways to introduce the challenges of the world. Unfortunately this one doesn’t do anything great with the premise. The film features a collection of unique moments patched together with predictable moments that slow the pace and weaken the story. Overall, this one seems unwilling to commit to anything great, and settles for an average story in the end.
The acting in this movie features a small number of very good performances surrounded by an otherwise uninspiring group of actors. Much of this can be attributed to the writing, which doesn’t offer much for the supporting cast members. Meanwhile, Denzel Washington does a very good job in the title role. His performance is mysterious and created to give his character some great attributes. He does a great job with the limited dialogue of his role, and handles the action of the film nicely.
Gary Oldman offers another good performance in this one. He plays a role that’s opposite in nature to Washington’s. This means a lot of great dialogue. Mila Kunis rounds out the better performances in this one. She’s able to connect with the emotional content of her role as well as the physical demands. She also creates good chemistry with her fellow cast members. The rest of the cast is not able to make much out of this one. A handful of good work from the three main stars just isn’t enough to make this one stand out.
The visuals in this film are designed to bring out the drab and dreary world of post-apocalyptic America. Much like the world of Mad Max, this one is filled with wasteland and wild creations. This comes together like a futuristic Western. Unfortunately, this doesn’t really do anything new to the genre. The cinematography by Don Burgess creates some of the best moments in this one. The use of light and shadow often add to the action sequences in the movie. Outside of that, this one doesn’t offer much that hasn’t been done in a dozen other films. The music, costumes, and special effects are good; but nothing really awesome stands out.
This is one that I wouldn’t recommend to many. Fans of the genre might enjoy this film as another take on the ruin of the future. Fans of the stars might find this entertaining, but it’s not going to impress many. Fans of the directors might actually be a bit disappointed, as this one doesn’t live up to their previous works. I give this one 2.5 out of 5 stars.
It has a very eerie tone that works, but at the same time, also doesn’t feel like it goes further enough into its weird, depressed world. Nice review.
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Thanks for another great comment. You’ve summed this one up nicely.