Movies => Good Movies => Topic started by: ulthar on January 16, 2013, 09:32:46 PM

Title: THE BOOK OF ELI (2010)
Post by: ulthar on January 16, 2013, 09:32:46 PM
I really enjoyed THE BOOK OF ELI.  I thought overall, the story was well done with lots of subtlety and a nice "twist." 

I agree with JaseSF's assessment (,115439.msg459553.html#msg459553) of the beginning.  I asked out loud, "So, this is different from Mad Max how?" {meaning of course more THE ROAD WARRIOR if we are picking nits}

The problem with dismissing the beginning, though, is that I now think that "set up" is intentional.  "Oh, it's just another post apocalyptic butt kicker movie" lulls us viewers into missing "the clues" about the twist.  The more I think about it, the more I think the makers planned this set up since THEY know the second half of the movie is waiting there for us.

No sir, this movie is a "draw you in and strike" type of deal, but with some intelligent subtlety.  Some of the bad guys had human sympathies for their enemies (or targets of opportunity), not complete ruthlessness in every situation.  It was not about "let's see how over-the-top evil we can make the bad guys" so much as a created social dynamic where violence is the normal, but not ONLY response to every encounter.

No, one subtle thing I really liked had to do with Oldman's decay.  Okay, if you have not seen this, bear with me as I don't want to reveal, I'm going to kinda offer this idea in code.  When we first meet Oldman's character, he's the baddie boss, but he's civilized and his town is civilized in a world with completely broken social order.  The town works...maybe quite well for a dystopia.  What he seeks is an absolute power that will allow him to extend his kingdom.

The closer he gets to his goal, the more uncivilized both he, and the town itself, become.  I found this to be a VERY interesting dichotomy.  And the ultimate denial resolved with a total social breakdown - nuts as he may have been all along, HE WAS THE CIVILIZING FORCE in the town!

As I said, I do like the twist, though I think they took it beyond "believable" a little more than they had to.  I don't mind it; it works for me, but it does seem to be the source of a lot of criticism.  Washington's Eli did not have to play out in the twist at could have just been the book (again, trying to avoid spoilers).  The two are separable - the twist applied to the one did not HAVE to apply to the other.

If I had one complaint, it would be that I was taken out of the movie several times when I realized that the level of decay of various things hardly seemed like 'the war' was 30 years prior.  The signs and evidence of civilization were just a bit too "current" to my eye...pavement still visible in the windblown desert (why not covered with sand), vehicles in too good a shape, etc. 

The bottom line for me on this one is that it had some creative writing, excellent acting, interesting pacing (choppy, but again, I wonder if that was intentional for 'mood') and some good action, but the real meat is solid way this movie wants to explore several tangents of the same message and does so effectively without those tangents taking over or being distracting.  I could see discussing the ins and outs of this one with friends in long sessions.

4.5 out of 5 from me.  Not perfect, but its flaws are part of a whole that blends well with the overall point of telling this particular me at least.

Title: Re: THE BOOK OF ELI (2010)
Post by: dean on January 17, 2013, 07:04:17 AM
Once you get over a couple of stupid plot points, there's a lot to enjoy about the Book Of Eli.

The music was top notch and the visuals were just fantastic.

I personally wouldn't hold it in such high esteem as its hard to get into the whole 'last Bible in existence bit', but its a solid 4 out of 5 which is pretty darn good in my book.  It looks lush on Blu-ray and the extras were incredibly informative.

Oldman was great in this as well; he plays his obsession with great skill.   

Title: Re: THE BOOK OF ELI (2010)
Post by: ulthar on January 17, 2013, 08:51:30 AM

 its hard to get into the whole 'last Bible in existence bit',

I guess the reason that did not bother me too much is that it fit with the movie's internal structure.  It was said that people specifically targeted and destroyed all the Bibles and that this one was hidden and how he found it. 

Further, we could assume that there are other Bibles in existence, occasionally found, but the people that find them are so frightened of them (recall that the belief was that the Bible, or more specifically, the Word of God, caused the war) that they ignore | destroy | hide, etc. 

Also, the population is small and the population of those that know how to read and would recognize a found Bible is even smaller....we are a full generation after the war.  Those bikers brought all those paperbacks and such not even knowing if they were the sought book.

So, I guess we don't have to buy that it is the last one "out there," but it's the last one known by those that would even know what it is.

Either way, I find the set up interesting and overall well written.

Good call on Oldman.  His performance was incredible.

Title: Re: THE BOOK OF ELI (2010)
Post by: Trevor on January 17, 2013, 08:54:21 AM
I'm not really a fan of Denzel Washington's (because of Cry Freedom) but this was a film of his that I liked. I remember getting upset at the end of it when I finally realized what was actually going on and what Eli's journey was all about.