Sunday, 17 January 2010

Film Review: THE BOOK OF ELI (2010)

Directors: Albert Hughes & Allen Hughes
Running time: 118 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Watched at the cinema Saturday 16th January 2010.


This film is about the quest of one man to get a book to the place it’s supposed to be, to use his words. Now, I’m not a religious man but I can see the value this book might have in a world torn apart by war. It is a post-apocalyptic world, thirty years after it was destroyed. Those that were not killed scratch a living out of what’s left, and many have turned to cannibalism. A lot were blinded by the flashes in the sky but survived. As stated in the film, after the war people destroyed the bible blaming it for what happened, but Eli has the last remaining copy.

Always moving west, Eli is a loner on the road. Like everyone out there he knows it’s a very dangerous place. He kills animals for food and gets clean water where he can. He is set upon by hijackers but Eli is a ferocious fighter and thus far has come out on top. One day he wanders into a small town run by Carnegie, a determined man who has been sending out men in search of a particular book, the very one Eli has in his possession. Carnegie has a mother and daughter, Claudia and Solara in his entourage, Claudia was blind before the flash, but Solara is not. In trying to persuade Eli to stay, as he can see the value of a man who can fight like him, he sends Solara to his room and she discovers the book but promises not to tell. Carnegie finds out about the book and sends his henchman, Redridge to get it but Eli has already gone. Eli starts heading west again only to find Solara following him. Redridge wants Solara and makes a deal with Carnegie to get the book in exchange for her. And now the chase is on, will Eli and Solara escape or will they be caught? I think that’s enough spoilers for one day…

This film was shot in a similar way to 300 (2006) with a kind of washed out comic book feel to it and, for me, it worked. I guess a lot of the landscapes were CGI and these were very well done as well. Great performances from all of the leading cast, Denzel Washington as Eli, Gary Oldman as Carnegie, Mila Kunis as Solara, Ray Stevenson as Redridge and Jennifer Beals as Claudia. Honourable mentions also go to Frances de la Tour and Michael Gambon as Martha and George, a mad old couple who Eli and Solara find on their travels.

Although it’s a fairly straightforward story I found it a very entertaining and compelling film to watch, the 118 minutes went by pretty quickly, which is always a good sign. It did get a bit bogged down in the middle, but redeemed itself with a totally unexpected twist at the end. Don’t worry; I’m not going to tell you what it is. Over all, I can heartily recommend this film, it ticked a lot of boxes for me and, although not perfect, it’s a damn good effort.

My score: 7.9/10

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