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The Book of Eli (2010) review

Posted : 4 years ago on 4 December 2014 06:23 (A review of The Book of Eli (2010))

Although I am a fan of all things post-apocalyptic I found this to be rather disappointing. It did have some things going for it - the cinematography was nice, effectively using a muted colour palette. The acting was decent enough with a solid performance from Denzel Washington in the lead role, though he never gets to do anything particularly interesting, and able support from leading lady Mila Kunis. Gary Oldman was as good as always in the bad guy role, but his motivation to get his hands on the book was sadly unconvincing.

Action scenes were well staged but rather reminiscent of the Mad Max series and a plethora of Westerns. The main problem was the script which could have done with a lot more work. From the opening scenes Eli is just way too bad-ass with an ability to take on multiple opponents simultaneously with barely a scratch by the end of the fight. This removed any tension or suspense from the story as you never feel that there is any risk to the hero posed by his enemies. As for Carnegie, why does he need to get his hands on the book so badly? He seems to be doing very well as the top local psycho without it and I can't imagine that his gang of hoodlums would bother to take the time to read it.

The somewhat plodding narrative concludes with the trite message that the grim society portrayed will be redeemed following distribution of the holy book. The religious right might raise a cheer to this but for those more sceptical about religion the simplicity of these final scenes will be deeply unsatisfying. Overall The Book of Eli felt like a wasted opportunity.

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