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>> Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Some friendly elderly folk are happy to "meat" Eli.

A wise man once said the pen is mightier than the sword. Don’t ask me who, I don’t know and I don’t care to look. For The Book of Eli, it is certainly is nothing less than true. The movie starts off with a man of faith (Denzel Washington) who is simply ‘traveling’ west to a place where he knows (for no other reason than knowing) that the book he is carrying will be safe from the hands of the bandits and murderers that roam the roads of this post apocalyptic land.

Along the way he stops through a western-esque town to get his battery charged for his first gen iPod (perhaps the only thing keeping him sane anymore) and he runs into trouble a local bar where the only thing more valuable than your life is the water it serves. The bar is run by Carnegie (Gary Oldman) who has his thugs go out on month long road trips plundering and killing to look for one special, un-named book. Since the public school system has been out of whack for a good 50 years by now, they of course can’t read and end up bringing him back novels and O magazines, basically every book they can find. One does have to suppose at this point Eli is carrying the book Carnegie is looking for.

Soon enough that fact is confirmed and now it’s on between Eli and Carnegie, who will stop at nothing to get Eli’s book. Knowing what the book is worth to Eli, and believing in his journey, Carnegie’s sorta step-daughter, Solara (Mila Kunis) decides to help Eli on his quest and accompanies him as he escapes (rather easily) the clutches of Carnegie and his pirates. Needless to say it’s not long before Carnegie catches up to the duo and the real war begins.

Washington and Oldman play extremely well off each other, so much so I would like to see them work together again, their moments are some of the best in the movie). Mila Kunis you know is on her way, and after this and 2008’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall, it won’t be long before she’s the star of her own movie, perhaps one that’s good enough for Oscar consideration. There’s a quietness and a patience to the movie that gives it that western feel I mentioned earlier, which is believable in the world as it’s set up, and it’s no doubt that if the world was to come to an end, society would come full circle where resources and luxuries like shampoo are things you learn to live without. It’s also never really explained why the world came to be the way it was, and that was refreshing. The last thing Eli needed was flashbacks of people jumping through the sprinklers on a fresh, green lawn.

This movie is extremely entertaining though and it will undoubtedly get lost in the current Oscar buzz and probably end up not making as much as it could have. As for the 2011 Oscars, I wouldn’t count out Washington or Oldman, although it is far too early to tell. The door is open to this post apocalyptic adventure, although watching it in the theatres won’t be too different an experience than watching this one at home, besides the magic that going to the theatre does seem to still have (should you allow it to).

*Stills courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures


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