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The Book Of Eli (2010)

by on 2010/06/20

I’ve been playing Bethesda Games’ Fallout 3 straight for the past four months since Hacker Renders introduced me to the PS3 game — and by “introduced” I mean he talked incessantly about nothing else for months.

It turns out Mr. Renders was right, Fallout 3 is a life-altering experience.  I was straight-up, flat-out addicted for (again) months until I beat the game. In fact, I’m pretty sure my house was significantly cleaner before I met Fallout 3.

That’s why when I saw the trailers for The Book of Eli was entirely too excited to see this post-apocalyptic Western starring Denzel Washington and Gary Oldman.

Even the trailers for The Book of Eli seemed an absolutely stunning reproduction of Fallout 3. So when Hacker Renders’ declared Father’s Day weekend a post-apocalyptic film fest, we kicked it off with the Blu-Ray edition of The Book of Eli.

In the early goings of the film, I found it absolutely impossible to stop myself from saying, “My god, that’s exactly like Fallout!” I defy any Fallout fan to say the scene when Eli stands atop a crumbling highway overpass complete with severed rebar and chunks of concrete didn’t give him/her chills.

While I am almost always prepared to love almost any post-apocalyptic film since I got hooked on Road Warrior (1981) as tween, the Book of Eli delivered two things I wasn’t expecting at all. First of all, the direction by the Hughes Brothers (Albert and Allen) was absolutely stunning, the sepia-toned cinematography was sublime. Second, the film raises some fascinating and slightly uncomfortable questions about the nature of faith and religion.

The beauty of the landscape seemed to take some of the edge off of the bleak, “post-flash” world of The Book of Eli where gangs of thieves, rapists and cannibals walk the roads. Eli (Washington), who walks the wastes with a store of weapons and a leather-bound book, wanders into a desert town in search of supplies. There he meets the town founder and iron-fisted protector Carnegie (Oldman).

Obsessed with books, Carnegie is  willing to do whatever it takes to lay his scabby hands on the very book Eli has in his possession. When Carnegie attempts to convince Eli by giving him a night with Solara (Mila Kunis),the comely daughter of his blind consort (Jennifer Beals) Claudia, Eli is not swayed.

It is revealed that the book in question is a King James bible and man of faith, Eli is on a mission to bring the book “west.” While I already feel like I’ve already given away too much, I will say that The Book of Eli raises more maddening questions than it answers.

Fiercely entertaining and involving, The Book of Eli takes the post-apocalyptic road movie to a whole new level, and you will want to watch this film again and again.

Particularly if you are a Fallout 3 fan.

* * * *

Rated R for brutal violence and language.

118 minutes

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