Monday, January 18, 2010

Book of Eli- He said

So to quote my consort, the Book of Eli is a "post-apocalyptic Western". It has it all: beautiful, dreary landscape, a vague catastrophic event that led to the current state of affairs, and a complete bad-a main character. The main character here is the ever-awesome Denzel Washington, as the wandering Eli. He is a man trying to survive in this harsh world.  As the film opens, we see him going through his day-to-day routine as he travels towards an unknown destination. This changes when his inexplicably resilient iPod dies on him. Then he decides to go into a town to recharge it. This is where the plot finally starts moving along with the introduction of Gary Oldman’s character.

The movie is quite the enjoyable experience, especially in the context of a genre post-apocalyptic Western. There’s even a bar fight scene! This is pretty good, B-movie type stuff. We come to find out that Eli is an expert fighter and avid reader. The fight scenes are one of the great things of this movie. The choreography is smooth, and you can never go wrong with the gratuitous violence. The ending is one of the best aspects of the movie considering that you expect this movie to play it safe. While the plot is a bit slow in the beginning, most people will be distracted by the beautiful and haunting world that the Hughes brothers created. The music (which I later found out was by Atticus Ross frequent Nine Inch Nails collaborator) creates a good atmosphere that compliments the movie fantastically. (And a highly recommended buy.) The supporting cast is fantastic with Mila Kunis being the highlight as Solara. She has such great potential to be remembered for more than Jackie from That 70’s show. 

While I was pleased enough to say I dug the movie, initially I left the movie theater a bit disappointed. However, thinking about the movie over and over has actually given me a more positive perspective on the movie. Things that seemed silly at the time, such as his iPod and the slightly slow paced first part of the film, seem to make more sense after some absorption of the story as a whole. One thing that does not go away is feeling that the conflict between Eli and Carnigie (Gary Oldman) could have been explored more in a philosophical way. Here you have two dudes that both potentially want to use the Bible to help humanity in their own way, but for some really crappy reason they don’t cross at the right time. On a deeper level, Carnegie is an ass but can we really say that great leaders from the past didn’t do some dishonest things for the greater good? Seeing Eli as a curator for the last bit of humanities past makes him a deeper character in my eyes. From the fact that he knows how to read, even to the iPod he carries, as well as the memories he is doing what Carnegie is doing but with a more selfless purpose.

Overall this movie does take a while to sink in, especially when you get over how badass Denzel is in it. After a while, the layers come out and it does make for a richer experience.

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