Movie Review Jackie K Cooper
"The Book of Eli" (Warner Brothers)
Same Book, Different Story
If there hadn't been a film titled "The Road" that deals with life after an apocalyptic event, then perhaps "The Book of Eli" would have a greater impact. As is they are two versions of the same story and the one who got there first is the most memorable. It is only the star power of Denzel Washington that will draw audiences in for the newest film.
Washington plays Eli, a man adrift across the country after a horrendous event has occurred which has turned the world into a vast wasteland. He is headed west where he thinks there may be a better life waiting. As he walks solitarily on the road he must be ever vigilant. There are gangs that want to rob and kill people.
He comes across a town on his travels which is ruled by a power hungry man named Carnegie (Gary Oldman). Carnegie is obsessed with finding a book that he thinks will give him total power over the world. Eli has that book and so a war of sorts breaks out between them.
A young woman named Solara (Mila Kunis) attaches herself to Eli and demands that he take her with him on his way to the west. By doing this she puts herself in harm's way as Carnegie will only use her to get to Eli.
The film is violent as Eli has a handy way with a machete and he uses it whenever necessary. He is a man on a mission and he will do whatever it takes to reach his goal. What that goal is provides one of the twists in the film's plot.
In this movie Washington plays Eli convincingly. He handles the physical aspects of the role with ease and is also believable in creating a man who is both violent and spiritual. His scenes with Oldman create a classic tale of good versus evil.
The weak link in the film is Kunis. She is a very pretty young woman and is not a bad actress, but she seems totally out of place in this film. If she has suffered any hardships under the control of Carnegie they do not show in her face or in her demeanor. There is no way to understand why Solara, as played by Kunis, would attach herself to Eli and place herself in danger.
The movie is rated R for profanity and violence.
"The Book of Eli" is a bleak film that never draws the viewer into it completely. Plus the outcome requires a total suspension of reality and there is nothing compelling enough to cause the audience to depart from a rational view.
If the film succeeds at all it will be based purely on Washington's magnetism, but even the mighty Denzel won't be able to hold an audience once word of mouth about this movie gets around.
I scored "The Book of Eli" a testamental 5 out of 10.
Jackie K. Cooper