December 8, 2010

Movie Review: The Book of Eli

Thanks to my friends at Netflix, Hubby and I watched this one last night. Before I get to the review I think I should note that any DVD that doesn't include extras should get an automatic star deduction. Extras are almost as fun as the movie itself--if they're done right.

The Book of Eli is an apocolyptic drama starring Denzel Washington, Mila Kunis and Gary Oldman. Denzel plays Eli, a man who has been wandering the country for 30 years carrying a prized book--which are rare to begin with in these post-war days and even rarer is that it's the lone copy of the Bible. His sole purpose is to literally wander. He figures some day he'll know when he can stop but in 30 years it hasn't happened yet. Along the way he picks up Mila, who tags along initially to escape her life and then because it's the only way she'll survive in such a brutal world. Gary Oldman is a baddy who wants to keep the Bible from being discovered as it might undermine his plans for local (if not farther reaching) control.

Like all post-WWIII movies, this one is filled with stark landscapes, abandoned vehicles, and rag tag survivors dressed in layer upon layer of muted clothing, despite the fact that they all look like they are living in desert conditions. (Think Mad Max, The Road, or even Waterworld.)

In an attempt to distract you from the barely there plot that takes its time revealing itself, the director throws out plenty of gory scenes of violence where appendages are lost while Denzel slices his way through crowds of bad guys, without injury to himself of course. And if that isn't enough to keep your attention, it's a beautifully shot movie. Yes, the colors are muted in that now familiar way that suggests poverty and tragedy, but the shots are impressive.

Even as a big Denzel Washington fan, I wasn't bowled over by this one. It was just too slow for me, nothing much to invest in. For all the good reviews I read about it, I was disappointed. (**)

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