Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Book of Eli (2010)

The Book of Eli (2010) is another in a long line of post-apocalyptic movies that follows an enigmatic figure as he travels across a desolate wasteland.  The movie emulates the barren style of spaghetti westerns, with Denzel Washington successfully channeling the quiet confidence and menace of Clint Eastwood.

The plot is suitably spartan.  Denzel Washington plays Eli, a man who has journeyed across a post-apocalyptic US for thirty years, on a seemingly God-given mission to safely take a book West to some unknown destination.  Others are desperately looking for a copy of the book, including the self-styled leader of a small town Eli travels through. The leader, played by Gary Oldman, is ambitious and hungry for power - he wants his town to grow, he wants this book for the power it would hold over others.

The production values are impressively high, and the movie successfully visualizes a world that has slowly decayed, with highways torn apart and entire cities crumbled into the dirt.  Obviously made with a higher budget than another recent post-apocalyptic film, The Road (2010), the visual look of movie never misses a beat.

Denzel takes center-stage in a number of impressively stage fights, in which he fends off attackers with knives, guns, and his own fists.  I think at some level I was largely impressed because it was Denzel Washington in these fights - something that I'd never expected from him.  However, on several occasions quick edits and cuts distract from the fluidity of the action scenes (although one relatively long take of Denzel fighting in silhouette form against a bright sun was stunning).

The movie attempts a now-standard Sixth Sense style twist at the end when it reveals a fact that's designed to change your perception of the preceding 100 minutes.  This, however, stretched credibility a bit too far; I didn't feel cheated at the leap of faith required to successfully accept the twist, but more puzzled.

No comments:

Post a Comment