Twenty minutes into The Book of Eli you’ll think all your action movie fantasies have come true. The post apocalyptic setting is eerily cool, the action is top-notch, and our old friend Denzel is in great form as a rugged survivor on a mission.
Just as you are preparing yourself for what is sure to be one tasty popcorn flick, the cracks begin to appear. Questions are left unanswered. Suspension of disbelief becomes more and more difficult to maintain. Then suddenly, to top it all off, the unthinkable occurs.
What is this? It can’t be? It isn’t? Oh no, it’s the foul stench of underlying Christian propaganda! Noooo!!!
The Book of Eli is a world first; A post-apocalyptic religious sermon. An action film you can take out the red wine and stale bread and invite your local clergy over to watch with you. The kind of film The Pope probably has a copy of hidden under his holy mattress at the Vatican.
The plot? Are you ready for this? Denzel is in possession of the last remaining holy bible. The book becomes sought after by an evil faction led by a nasty, but always enjoyable Gary Oldman. He plans to use the scriptures contained therein to control the masses and reboot the world after a catastrophic event left it in ruin around 30 years earlier.
The usually quite solid Hughes brothers (From Hell, Menace II Society) have made a film that begins so promisingly but falls into a heap about half way through, culminating into an ending that defies belief.
I’m not immune to ridiculous twist endings, but The Book of Eli has a twist so preposterous, even avid fans of twist endings will scratch their eyeballs out in protest. A twist so outlandishly stupid, that even M. Night Shyamalan, the current champion of lame twist endings would shoot himself in the head just so he could later turn over in his grave. Christ, Chubby Checker himself would deem this twist not worth the effort.
From where I’m standing, it’s hard not to see some glaring contradictions in this film, not least being the underlying message of religious salvation juxtaposed by the violence and gore we see on screen, but then again, religion and bloodshed have never been too far apart from each other. I do wonder though that if the damn book was a contributing factor that led to the planets’ destruction (which the film clearly states), why the hell is this dude going to such lengths to protect it. How about using the opportunity for a fresh start? Anyone? Hello?
But hey, I’m not going to burden you all with my long-winded atheistic viewpoints about all this. I respect you all too much to preach to you as if I know all the answers. You have the freedom to believe what you want.
If only the filmmakers of The Book of Eli showed us that same respect.
By Adam Fay
Read more film reviews by Adam at http://iseefilms.wordpress.com