The Book of Eli

A few words come to mind: Post apocalyptic and dystopian.

A few movies come to mind: "Mad Max," "Fahrenheit 451" and "Children of Men."

If you've seen the ads, you know our favorite hero, Denzel Washington ("The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3" 2009) is seen determinedly trudging through a barren wasteland. It is clear that a catastrophic war took place decades earlier: Carcasses of rusted-out vehicles litter the roadside, highways are disintegrating, bridges have collapsed, and buildings are rubble. Rarely do we see a hint of color, unless it is a faded logo (Product Placement, you know!); and I think I counted three smiles, besides the evil leers of the villain, played by Gary Oldman ("The Dark Knight").

The eponymous book is a King James Bible, the sole survivor after a religious war that engulfed the globe. Our hero reads it at night to reinforce his commitment to deliver it "West" where it will be safe; our villain seeks it to establish moral authority over his domain.

Other actors you will recognize:
  • Mila Kunis ("Extract"), whose character experiences a profound effect after she listens to our hero read from the book. (Washington is a preacher's son and is comfortable reading scriptures.)
  • Jennifer Beals (Lots of TV) is her blind mother and a captive of the villain.
  • Ray Stevenson ("Rome") plays the only henchman with any hint of moral conflict.
  • Frances de la Tour ("The History Boys") and Michael Gambon ("Harry Potter") are a pair of potty but resourceful survivors.
  • Malcolm McDowell (Lots of TV) makes his appearance in time for the final twist.
I had trouble making out some of the lines, so was grateful to my companion for a second set of ears. Several of our folks were interested in seeing the movie a second time once they had seen the end. If you're tough enough, you may be interested in seeing it twice.