The Book of Eli is a fascinating movie: action, adventure, drama, thriller, western, with a bit of religion (actually, quite a large bit) thrown in.
The Book of Eli is the post-apocalyptic story of Eli (Denzel Washington) who journeys across America to deliver a sacred book that contains advice on the salvation of humanity.
I really enjoyed The Book of Eli. Not only was it entertaining, but it actually had lots of subtle allusions to religious (read Christian) and philosophical ideas. One of the central set pieces, for example, is an obvious reference to the death and resurrection of Christ — with Eli as the Christ-figure. There is plenty of tense action as Eli defends himself from characters who have sunk to crimes of survival and opportunism in the wake of the devastated land. And it gets pretty violent at times.
The second act of the story draws on a whole range of western-movie clichés made fresh by placing the story in a new context. Carnegie (Gary Oldman) has taken over a town and is using his henchmen to go out and rob people of books, hoping to find the legendary sacred book that Eli happens to carry. When Carnegie realises Eli may have the book, he uses all the foul means he can muster to acquire it — even if it sacrifices the life of the man who is carrying it. Carnegie believes that the book will give him absolute power of the town and many others.
What is the book and what it the nature of the book? There is a very nice twist even though you might be able to predict what the book might be.
’The film looks and feels good, and Washington's performance is the more uncanny the more we think back over it. The ‘ending is "flawed," as we critics like to say, but it's so magnificently, shamelessly, implausibly flawed that (a) it breaks apart from the movie and has a life of its own, or (b) at least it avoids being predictable.’ – Roger Ebert/Chicago Sun-Times
’The Book of Eli combines the maximum in hollow piety with remorseless violence.’ – David Denby/The New Yorker
Some brutal violence and language