The Book of Eli (3/10)
by Tony Medley
Run time 117 minutes.
Not for children.
This is a dark, unforgiving
parable set in the future. Eli (Denzel Washington) is traveling on foot
through a war-ravaged American desert carrying and protecting a book he
feels can save mankind. He runs into a tyrant, Carnegie (Gary Oldman),
who runs a small town in the middle of the desolation, who has been
looking for the book and wants it.
Brothers Allen and Albert
Hughes direct this post-apocalyptic future western without a hint of
humor, and thatís a shame. Itís pretty grim sitting through this thing
without even a glimmer of lightness. In fact the film is shot so
monochromatically, it often looks like black and white without much
There is an abundance of
graphic violence in this film, but what really sets it apart are the
plot holes, which abound. Eli is walking west. Heís been doing so for
thirty years. But he carries a gun and never runs out of ammunition.
Where does he get it and where does he carry it?
Carnegie sends his minions
out to look for a book. They bring lots of books back but never the
right one. Eli just happens to show up with the book for which Carnegie
yearns. What are the odds of that?
Eli carries an Ipod with
him. Now, letís think about this. The war that devastated the world was
at least 30 years ago. Eli walks through one ruin after another. But his
Ipod is powered so he can listen to it. If you have an Ipod, you know
that Appleís support is virtually non existent unless you are loaded
with dough and patience. And you know that the battery has to be
constantly recharged. Yet this Ipod has run for 30 years while Eli has
been walking alone across the desert! Even amazing doesnít describe
Carnegie runs a small town.
The small town has stores. What supports the town? Where do people get
their money to support the stores? What do the residents do all day
long? Where do the people in Carnegieís bar get the money to spend?
If you think that the
worlds of Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse are fantasies, they have nothing
on the world of Eli and Carnegie. It seems to me that if you are going
to create a world for your film, there should be some substance for that
Oh, well, the action starts
after Eli leaves Carnegieís town with Carnegieís adopted daughter,
Solara (Mila Kunis), as his unwanted companion and Carnegie sets out
after them to get the book. This causes lots of violence.
Washington and Oldman give good performances, given the material, but
the person you really want to see is Kunis, who is beautiful, gives a
good performance, and seemed to be setting this thing up for a sequel,
moreís the pity. This is violent and basically senseless.