It’s funny to think that one single element can ruin such a strong foundation in an instant. Come and join me dear reader on this emotional journey through one of my favorite subgenres. The Book of Eli is a visually appealing post-apocalyptic western that feels oddly refreshing. The world is fully fleshed out but the characters not so much. However, we won’t fully realize that until we’re halfway through the movie. I was loving The Book of Eli so much up until a certain point. All those days playing Fallout were coming back to me when it happened.
It felt like someone burst through the door after a long masturbation session and kicked me in the nuts. I won’t tell you what that moment was but if you check out the movie I’m sure you’re going to spot it right away. What I will tell you is that I’m an atheist and that is the main reason why I didn’t like this movie. If I have known that The Book of Eli is going to be a religious propaganda movie I wouldn’t watch it. Or I would watch it fully knowing what to expect. I love watching stuff like that as it already confirms my worldview.
I’m able to rationally pick apart events, characters, and concepts to the point their true agenda is revealed. And a bleak post-apocalyptic world is the perfect environment for the resurgence of religion, no one is arguing about that. It’s just the way they went about it that seems utterly unplausible and contrived. This is a shame since the directors are the Hughes brothers best known for their masterpiece Menace 2 Society. Although I much prefer their 2001 Gothic horror From Hell starring Johnny Depp.
The movie The Book of Eli is about a skilled survivor Eli who roams the post-apocalyptic wasteland with a single mission. He needs to get to San Francisco and deliver an important package. And you can probably guess what that package is. Visually, this is a striking movie with excellent special effects and cinematography. The opening scene is a fucking work of art as we witness the struggle for survival in a burnt-out forest reminiscent of WWI scenes in Verdun, France.
Even the action scenes are good with Denzel showing us his enviable huge knife skills. To make things even worse for me, the cast was fucking excellent. We have not only Titus Pullo AKA Ray Stevenson, but also Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis, and Tom motherfucking Waits! And this time he’s not way down in the hole like he was in The Wire. The movie shows us the scale of destruction with thousands of abandoned vehicles and destroyed bridges.
The vast empty land devoid of almost any life is an inhospitable and unforgiving place. And then it knees you in the stomach and punches you in the back of the head with its religious content. Luckily, Gary Oldman had a few things to say about this but he was the only one out of all these people. I was expecting something more along the lines of The Road. And what I got was something entirely else. So I had to watch Mad Max 2 just to get the taste out of my mouth. Greetings from The Humungus, The Lord Humungus, The Warrior of The Wasteland, The Ayatollah of Rockenrolla!
Directors: Albert Hughes, Allen Hughes
Writer: Gary Whitta
Cast: Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis, Ray Stevenson, Jennifer Beals, Tom Waits
Fun Stuff: Denzel Washington is the executive producer of this movie so that can shed a little light on why it had strong religious themes as he himself is a devout Pentecostal Evangelical Christian.