BOOK OF ELI
MOVIE: ** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: **** (out of 5)
Studio: Warner Bros.
Directed by: The Hughes Brothers
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Denzel Washington plays Eli, a man who walks across the country decades after an apocalypse. He carries with him a treasure that he must protect until the time is right to let it loose on the world. He comes to a secluded town where the villainous Carnegie (Gary Oldman) rules the townspeople. Carnegie wants Eli’s book for his own power, and Eli must fight to bring the book – and the human race – to salvation.
WHAT I LIKED
There are certain parts of this film that are quite brilliant. The look of the movie is pretty amazing, and the cinematography looks fantastic. The use of de-saturation and high contrast really give the film a retro look without being strictly black and white. There are also some pretty fine performances by Denzel Washington and Gary Oldman.
Most of the flaws are forgivable in the context of the film… at least until you get to the end. But through much of the movie, it’s sufferable to get to the kick-ass action sequences.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
The acting of Washington and Oldman is balanced by the truly dreadful performance of Mila Kunis. Sure, she’s a looker, but damn if she can’t act in a movie like this.
Aside from that, my biggest sticking point is the ending of the movie. I won’t go into spoilers, but the bulk of the film cheats the ending to the point of almost not caring that the ending exists. Certain direction is meant to be clever, but it’s not-so-subtly just flat-out lying to the audience.
And speaking of the ending, the ending of this film has got to be the longest ending in the history of cinema. This isn’t a fast-paced film to begin with, but the almost painfully evangelical story grinds to a crawl for the last fifteen minutes.
The Blu-ray comes with some excellent special features, starting off with an included DVD which also has Digital Copy. Blu-ray exclusive features include the “Maximum Movie Mode Survival Guide,” which integrates interviews, behind-the-scenes and storyboard comparisons into the film itself. There are also several deleted scenes.
Stand-alone features include “Starting Over” which explores what would happen after a global catastrophe, “Eli’s Journey” which looks at the historical and mythological roots of the main character, “The Book of Eli Soundtrack” which takes a look at the music of the movie and “A Lost Tale: Billy” which provides a motion-comic prelude to the film.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Denzel fans and anyone who doesn’t mind getting preached at without any level of finesse.