Review: The Book of Eli


Yet another one-man-show hero upholding Christianity faith and all that is good, while systematically disposing criminals and opposing all that is not good, in a post-apocalypse world movie.

Always my favourite, Denzel Washington did not disappoint as a lonely rugged fighter who managed to trek across US for 30 years no matter how harsh the conditions (I mean c’mon, this is a guy who can sit unmoving with a crossbow ready for god knows how long, in a air so thick with ashes that one had to wear oxygen mask, in order to catch a cat who is going to die of famine anyway — for a meal); unflinching in the face of evil; with superb figthing and sensory skills; has a soft spot for the female population; and blind. Yep. Blind.

Geographical technicality aside, the cinematography is good and very convincing (love the ruined and dirty look). But the movie as a whole fails to inspire and the plot lacks some real depth.

Several minutes into the movie, you will find that Eli (Denzel Washington) found shelter in a dilapidated house and happily roasting the cat away as dinner. The whole Eli-listening-to-iPod-and-relaxing scene serves no purpose, is boring and most of all, strikes me as nothing but a not so subtle movie product placement gig.

It is hard to believe that 30 years after the devastation there are no better infrastructure or technology (remember the iPod?) or hygiene facilities (Eli can smell the highway robbers miles away. Talk about very enhanced senses) in place, since there are human all around. It would seemed that time, and the brain faculty which makes human innovate, stopped altogether. But you will see at the end of the movie that this is not so. That at the other end of the beautiful reflecting water (and it’s not such an impassable dangerous huge expanse of water), there is a bubbling civilization and nicely decorated buildings and order and cleanly clothed human beings with manners and best of all – no Bible.

Is the director trying to imply that human civilization could very well go on and prosper without Bible? Actually, I think that monotheists religions are the root of all evil since the weak human minds cannot fully comprehend the meaning of it all. Ok, I digress. Let’s get back to the shredding the movie.

Solara. I believed the whole reason for the existence of this character is to provide some eye candy for the movie goers so they won’t be bored to death. And to provide a ‘conclusive’ ending where you see her taking up Eli’s gears and walked back to her hometown. To serve what purpose, I don’t know. I don’t even know if she could wield a kitchen knife, let alone that nasty blade of Eli’s. In any case it will definitely not be preaching, since she can’t read and it didn’t seem Eli had time to teach her between translating the Bible and dying.

Now the evil incarnate here is Carnegie (Gary Oldman), who, to my opinion, ain’t really THAT evil. He found and shared the water springs with all, kept shaky peace with his own team of armed enforcement, provided entertainment and has therefore successfully kept the livelihood of the villagers. Admittedly, he charged a king’s ransom for water but hey, it’s a scarce commodity after all. Tell me, which big private corporations and corrupt governments do not extort the ordinary living people to fatten their own purses? And if we can accept these organizations in our daily life now, what makes Carnegie so evil then?

Is he considered the evil of all evil ‘cos he took a blind woman as wife? Or ‘cos he forced the young girl Solara to seduce Eli to stay? Or ‘cos he actually has the nerves to employ illiterate rascals to find the Bible? Or ‘cos he wanted Bible for his own kingdom expansion and not to preach?

Frankly, I cannot imagine any reasons why he would want Bible. The reason Carnegie gave in his little speech didn’t make any sense. He already had this community and power thing going on smoothly; and with the impressive stocks of ammunition he got on hand (look at the almost flippant way he used the ammo to bring down an old wooden house), he could easily beat others into submission or pulp. Why on earth does he need Bible for?

Since we are on the topic of Bible and all things holy, throughout the movie I did not see Eli trying to preach peace and love to anyone before he chopped them all up into pieces at the sign of slightest transgression. Nor did I see him helping the poor travelling couple when they were attacked by the robbers, in fact, he was trying his best to ignore them. And beating the robber into a pulp later is not going to resurrect the dead. Nor did I see him teaching verses and graces to anyone except Solara, and that’s probably on a whim.

As a staunch believer of God, how could he passed the whole continent of America and not preach a word of God to anyone in these 30 years? Are the literate and prosperous ‘West’ people more deserving to have copies of Bible, and not the suffering stinking people on the other side of the water?

As a holy man of God, HOW, how could he KILL? Even if faced with monstrosity, shouldn’t he try to make peace before doing any irreparable damage? Killing is the worst abhorrence of all and it will never ever be in line with any message of love and peace!

I consider this movie lousy with dubious intentions. And if not for the stellar performance of Denzel, it will be a  total flop.

I will end with this: Any religion scripture in itself has no power, and it does not automatically provide a door to heaven to anyone who merely read it with no action taken. To take a book half way around the world; selfishly keep it to himself; do not provide help to anyone; do not preach; and killing did not make the person a saint.


  1. jack0 says:

    ai~yer.. thanks for the up front.. i haven’t watch~leh.. =__=”

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