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Monday, 17 June 2013

The Book of Eli (2010)

Set in a post-apocalyptic world, The Book of Eli tells the story of one man’s journey to the West and the challenges he has to overcome to get there.  The main character Eli, who is very handy with a machete, is well portrayed by Denzel Washington.  He’s fairly one-dimensional and un-engaging, but that’s his character and I think it works well; Eli is completely focussed on his mission and does his best not to be distracted by others’ problems.  Gary Oldman’s character (Carnegie) is the complete opposite of this, in typical brilliant Oldman villain style; determined, with his own sense of morality and with a total disregard for all others.

The story is fairly straightforward and interesting; it slows a bit when Eli meets Solara (Mila Kunis), but not for any romantic entanglement; rather she behaves like a viewer such as ourselves and Eli gives her answers for our benefit.  This may sound rather clumsy and not respecting the intelligence of the audience, but it actually works quite well.  Eli and Carnegie’s stories finally catch up with each other in the finale which has a nice twist, I for one was not expecting it.

The Hughes brothers have crafted a stylish and atmospheric film.  Don Burgess’ cinematography is very high contrast which suits the post-apocalypse world perfectly; the whole film is essentially black & white apart from some indoor scenes which are more sepia.  There is a great action scene featuring Eli dispatching some bandits, but before he does he steps back into a subway so that the whole fight is in silhouette.  Little touches and ideas such as this make this more than the ordinary film that this could otherwise have been.  But, well, you know, that’s just, like, er, my opinion, man.