Saturday, January 30, 2010

Book of Eli Review - adults only please.

Spoiler Alert: If you have not seen the movie, this review will tell you a bit of how it ends. Also, this review should be read by adults only.

"The Book of Eli" could have been an amazing, great movie. The premise sounded awesome to me. A man, who has heard the voice of God, is carrying the last remaining Bible across the continent in a post-apocalypse world. He faces heavy opposition, and discovers that he really carries more than one copy of the Bible, because he has memorized the text after 30 years of walking.

Unfortunately, the movie was horrifically, graphically violent. In the opening scene, a feral emaciated cat eats from a dead body in a close up camera shot. The hero of the story kills the cat with an arrow, and eats it for dinner over a fire. Within the first twenty minutes of the movie, we see two dead bodies with evidence of violent and suicidal death, a man shot, and a woman raped . . . although thankfully that is not a close up scene.

The main character is both comfortable and uncomfortable with the violence around him. It is obviously something he tries to avoid, but yet takes part in with a horrible efficiency.

If the hero hadn't shown some remorse for both his actions, and sometimes his inaction, I would have walked out of the movie theatre. Denzel Washington did a good job portraying a character who is conflicted by the level of violence in the world, and yet defending himself with expertise.

The basic storyline is a good one. The villian is believable. He is a warlord type figure who believes he will use the Bible as a book of power, as an intellectual hold over people that will force them to live in the way he thinks they should.

In the end, the hero fights his way free of the villians clutches, saves the life of another person, and gives up his written copy of the Bible, to continue to follow the direction of God, and then gives a word for word account of the Bible to a group that copies it and sends it out into the world. He then dies from his wounds, and the girl he saved leaves to return home with the hope that has been given her.

Again the premise is good, the execution is way too graphic and violent for my taste. I understand that the script-writers were trying to show just how horrible and hellish the world would be without the Word of God dwelling in it, but . . . I didn't need to see those images.

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