The Book of Eli shows Denzel can be Bad and Still have Faith. Michelle’s Review!

The Hughes Brothers are back baby and in fine fashion. I really wasn’t in the mood to see a movie today, and certainly not a post apocalyptic one. I’ll admit I was ready to walk out ten minutes into The Book of Eli but the movie’s slow pacing actually sucked me in.  As Eli (Denzel Washington) walks this dirty, dank, desolate world we see how low humanity has sunk and the mystery of who this man is deepens.  This movie is literally and figuratively about faith on all levels – faith in God, faith in your fellow man, faith in the will to survive. It’s a message movie that doesn’t try to beat you over the head with its religious overtones – ok, it does, but for some reason I didn’t mind it as much and I’m a borderline Atheist.

Denzel’s grizzled, bearded face is shown off in full glory as the Directors gave their star numerous loving close-ups and it works because Denzel commands the screen, the first 1/2 hour of this movie reminds me of Will Smith‘s post apocalyptic film I Am Legend. Like that film this one spends the first 1/2 hour with Denzel being alone in this world. We see him read from his mysterious book, hunt for food, brush his teeth and listen to his iPod. Wait, what is an iPod doing in a Post Apocalyptic movie? It took a good 10 or 15 minutes for me to let that go.

Once we find out what it takes to live in this broken world, the film picks up when Denzel starts walking the walk and encounters the dreads of humanity. The things we used to throw away like KFC sanitation wraps, gloves, water etc. are now highly coveted bargaining chips. On his Journey he comes across a town run by a man – Carnegie (Gary Oldman), who is obsessed with finding this mysterious book that he says will give him the words to rule the world. People will flock to him once he’s able to speak it. After sending his henchmen out to find the book, he’s in luck when Eli walks into his bar and in standard movie coincidence fashion Eli has the book he wants.

At this point the film goes from being a character study about faith and Eli to becoming a generic Mad Max style action movie. The action scenes were few and far between but they came at the right moments and didn’t drag on and on. It was good, but I couldn’t get away from the idea that I’ve seen this before. Mila Kunis is quite good in this as one of the women Carnegie uses and abuses, she latches herself onto Eli and sees him as her ticket out of that town and joins him on his quest to get the book to the west coast.

A few weeks ago a lot of idiot Conservatives whined about how “Liberal” Avatar was, well you can rest easy because The Book of Eli is a film tailor made for Conservatives. So rejoice, Hollywood has made a movie that the Religious Right can like. It’s weird, this is the type of film I’d expect from Mel Gibson, not Denzel.  I’m purposely not going to talk about Eli’s book, I don’t want to give away a major spoiler – although the movie doesn’t take that long to tell you what Eli’s book is and why it has the power to change the world.  I love movies that are about the written word (and other creative endeavors) and shows us how the pen can bring about great change – as a writer it sort of fills me with hope.  After a pretty rough beginning, this movie really snuck up on me and grabbed my attention by having a nice blend of good acting, story, and action in just to right places.

Final Grade A-

EM Review by
Michelle Alexandria
Originally posted 01.15.2010


  1. “The Book of Eli” is a film set in the future after much destruction about a man on a very long journey across the US. Survivors have become vicious in order to stay alive. Filmed primarily is black & white & brown & grey. Be ready for extreme violence and carnage; many parts make no sense. (Cat lovers should avoid this.)

    GRADE = “B-“

  2. "The Book of Eli" is a film set in the future after much destruction about a man on a very long journey across the US. Survivors have become vicious in order to stay alive. Filmed primarily is black & white & brown & grey. Be ready for extreme violence and carnage; many parts make no sense. (Cat lovers should avoid this.)

    GRADE = "B-"

  3. Avatar was liberal in what sense because of what Michelle? Because and Indian Tribe (Navi) were praying to a tree. They forgot the indians were very supersticious and believe in different gods and some believe in witchcraft. It was antimilitarism when the bad guys were mercenaries (a lot of them were from different races and not all white like people said) that works for rich corporations? Not really any military branch was mention besides our hero was an ex-marine and did what he think was right. Is this conservative because the movie is about God and faith? What? Liberal like me don't go to churc? common!.

    1. I’m not saying it was Liberal, it’s what Conservatives were saying because you know, Hollywood is out to get them. They whined that Avatar was pushing a tree hugging “agenda.”

  4. Many critic Avatar because it shows the dark side of humans in certain situations were not everyone was bad. The same its shows in this movie so be aware. I have to agree with the movie review this time Michelle because the movie was very well done. The acting was solid and the story even there were a lot of propaganda, I never said thats to much because all the religions themes were put in the right moment. The action was pretty good and Denzel kick some butt and all the action scenes were put in right moments when the movie start the get a little slow. The ending was a little to biblical but I love it because it remind me that the world (like the one we live) was not that lost after al l. There still a little of faith somewhere.

  5. Very good review. This movie is getting a lot of hate. Most of it because of the religious aspect of the movie. Seriously who cares about that and why? The story is very well done with action and drama in all the right places. I didn't see a lot of hate over the magic samurais in space (Star Wars) and their dogma for the "force." I'm not religious and I don't get why people get so offended by religion.
    I agree this movie is an A-

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