Movie Review: The Book of Eli

The Book of Eli is one great movie.

It is perhaps one of those movies that arrives just when it is needed.

This is a movie that you should watch on DVD. That’s because this is a movie you will want to watch twice.  The fun-quotient of this movie is similar to Sixth Sense. You know – the I see dead people movie,.  And at the end, you go….”aaaaahhhh“.

It pretends to be another post-apocalyptic movie. It is much more than that.  I wish I could go into great detail about the movie but I can’t. Any intelligent discussion of the movie is going to give away the good bits, and I won’t do that.

Suffice it to say that Denzel Washington is great. I suppose in a sane world, his performance might even merit an Oscar nomination. That’s because he has to play his character and not give anything away at the same time. (This makes no sense to you now, but it will later) .  The movie deals with some things that are currently topics of contention, and it takes a stand – a decidedly non-Hollywood stand.

It is important to note that Denzel decided to produce this thing himself, with a couple of other people.That means the movie actually meant something to him.

It’s a great movie. I have not been able to get it out of my mind. It’s a great thing to see a movie that is serious, thoughtful, yet very entertaining just on an action basis.

Gary Oldman is really, really good. He creates such marvelous bad guys. There is one scene I was particularly taken with. It’s just a short shot of about 5 seconds or so. It’s the scene where the “road crew” brings back some books. The look of silent emptiness on his face; the lack of expression except for a slight movement of the eyes – it all combines to say something about the nature of evil itself. At its root, evil is an awful emptiness.

Even without the depth and serious bits, the movie is good enough to stand on its own as an action movie (I told you you were gonna lose that hand…You are going to be held accountable for what you’ve done…). The opening shot is very cool, all in itself.

One final note: at the beginning of the movie I was getting upset because I could not make out details like I could in a normal movie. The movie is shot in a lower-light condition than normal, with a sepia tone. Don’t let it bother you. There is a reason for everything.

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