Movie of the Day – The Book of Eli

Perhaps I am just on a huge Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas video game kick recently, but it made me think of today’s movie of the day.  I have talked about my love of the post apocalyptic movies before, mainly because of the vision of destruction that is played out in long walks through desolate wastelands and seeing society crumble all around our protagonist.  The Book of Eli is slow, religious in its intentions, and intriguing.  It’s a movie that easily hits all my buttons for an apocalyptic film, but there are a lot more questions than answers in this movie.  The journey across the wastelands of America, trying to figure what and why our intrepid hero is going on this solo journey.

The Book of Eli follows Eli (Denzel Washingston) and his journey to the West coast through an apocalyptic American west.  We assume that the country is ravaged by nuclear bombs that were dropped decades ago.  Eli comes across a small town in search of water and supplies.  The town is controlled by Carnegie (Gary Oldman) who controls the towns water and has his members searching for a particular book.  Eli is confronted by some of the men in the waterhole and dispatched them.  Carnegie offers Eli a room, without much of a choice, as he is a man that can handle himself and is educated.  He sends his concubines daughter Solara (Mila Kunis) to give him some company but stumbles upon Eli reading a book, which he quickly hides.  Solara shares a meal and a prayer with Eli, in which she returns to Carnegie’s chamber in the morning, starts the prayer that Eli said which catches Carnegie’s attention.  He realizes that Eli has the book that he wants.  Eli makes a break with the book and Carnegie is in pursuit.

If you haven’t figured out that the book that Carnegie is wanting , well it’s the holy bible, possibly the only one that exists in the wasteland America.  There are some hints given throughout the movie that the reason for the apocalyptic setting is because there was a world wide religious war that broke out between each major religion.  This is sort of hinted at in the final ending of the movie when we look at the bookshelf and realize what each book is.  This is what I got from it, but this is one of things that I love about the ambiguous nature of these movies.

The whole plot point of obtaining this bible is fascinating since Carnegie realizes that this book can control the masses.  People have followed religion for centuries, what makes us think that it would change all of a sudden.  So getting the bible is the means to become a powerful leader, you give hope to those who have none and manipulate the weak.  Couple this book with the fact that Carnegie controls the wells where fresh water reside and he is a powerful man with a large following.  What better actor to play this maniacal villain than Gary Oldman.  I love watching him play the zealot in this movie and is the perfect counterpart to Eli, who is more of a wandering prophet.  Eli is a fascinating character in his own right, but not much is really known about him.  We only know that he was told by a higher power to bring the book to the west coast and that his journey will end there.  He is seemingly protected by an unnatural force as he foils Carnegie’s men in gun fights and doesn’t seem to be phased by bullets or they just barely miss him.  Denzel brings that stoic, quiet acting to a character that is shrouded in mystery.

The movie might not be one of the better apocalyptic movies out there, but it certainly has a lot going for it.  I loved the portrayal of the wasteland in a stark, gray color palette.  It looks more monochromatic in nature and fits this nuclear apocalypse setting best.  The religious undertones fit well in the movie and it still makes me feel like the reason for the war was due in part to the world’s religions all battling one another.  The journey is filled with quiet parts but the action does infuse a sense of urgency with Eli and his journey.  Overall a strong movie and another Denzel movie that I love.

About Nick
I am just another blogger putting his thoughts into a website. My love is movies so most of my musings will be movie related. I work as an online marketer for an advertising company and when I am not earning a paycheck, I moonlight as a vigilante film blogger.

3 Responses to Movie of the Day – The Book of Eli

  1. Frank Bishop says:

    It’s not a fucking book, it’s a weapon! Man Gary Oldman is the shit.

  2. Pingback: Top Ten Apocalyptic Movies « Another Plot Device

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