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March 1, 2010 / theoldsilly

Movie Review – The Book of Eli

I don’t do movie reviews much. This blog is not about entertainment reviews. I made one exception recently just because the total blow-your-mind experience of Avatar I simply had to express myself about with that post. But two days ago I went to see The Book of Eli. This movie has such spiritual content that it falls under the mission statement of this blog. My wife and I first became excited about this movie when we saw this preview a few months ago.

It took us a while to getting around to seeing it on the big screen, but man, oh man, is it one fine motion picture.

So. Here’s The Old Silly’s partial review of The Book of Eli… I’m only gonna do enough to (hopefully) entice you to go see it if you haven’t yet. Kayzees? Here we go-

It’s been thirty years since an apocalyptic war occurred. The “World Before” is gone. In the new world, people kill each other over little material items that people in the “world before” threw away as insignificant, or because they had too much of them. Eli (Denzel Washington) is on a divine mission. He has heard the “voice of God” instructing him to carry a particular book all the way from the east coast of the US to the west coast–the book he carries is the last remaining copy of God’s Word, which contains the secrets for saving mankind. He travels solo, on foot, and has been doing so for thirty years when the movie opens. During his lonely and perilous sojourn, he hunts strange wildlife, and encounters life threatening situations like a gang of highway robbers whom he swiftly defeats with but a sword. It is early evidenced he has heightened senses and super human survival skills, surviving against seemingly insurmountable odds with swiftness and fearless courage. He comes across a  ramshackle town which was built and is lorded over by Carnegie (Gary Oldman). Carnegie is a fledgling tyrant, with designs toward building multiple towns with him as the ruler over the new mankind. But he needs “The Book” he has heard about that contains the secrets that will, if he is the only one who knows them, give him god-like leverage over the common, uninformed and illiterate man. He has had his scruffy and ruthless henchmen scouring the desolate landscape daily in search of it for many years.

Eli saunters into the town’s central bar, wanting some water, and a gang of bikers attack him. Eli kills them all with about as much effort or concern as one might swat a few mosquitoes. Carnegie witnesses this, and is impressed with Eli as a literate and worldly man with skills that he not only envies, but knows he could use on his side. He asks Eli to stay and join forces with him, with a clear underlying message and tone that the offer is not negotiable. Eli tells Carnegie he is not interested in the offer. He must continue on his mission west. He asks to pay for, and receives, lodging for the night. Carnegie sends his mistress, Claudia (Jennifer Beals), to Eli’s room to give Eli some food and water, and then later orders Claudia’s daughter, Solara (Mila Kunis), to go up there and seduce Eli. Eli refuses the sex; instead, he asks Solara to have dinner with him. He amazes her when, before they can partake of the food, he instructs her to hold hands with him and close her eyes while he prays over the food.

The next day Carnegie overhears Solara trying to pray and explaining what she thinks prayer is with her mother. Carnegie intrudes and asks Solara if Eli was reading from a book. She says, “Yes.”

“What kind of a book!” he asks, shaking her, and she says she doesn’t know, but forms a cross with her two fingers.

Carnegie now knows that Eli is in possession of his coveted, only remaining, copy of the Bible, the book he has been desperately searching for.

That’s all the detail I’m giving you. What ensues is a classic cat and mouse, good versus evil, pursuit and escape adventure where the protagonist wins out against all possible odds, including being shot to eventual death. And this movie has a mind-numbing, head-thumping twist at the end that will literally blow your godforsaken mind. It’s that good. Denzel delivers–and mind you, this actor is among my all time favorites, one of his best performances ever. And the Word of God is preserved for the salvation of what remains of mankind … in a way you would not believe is possible.

Unless you had faith. Eli’s faith.

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Leave a Comment
  1. Cactus Annie / Mar 1 2010 7:30 am

    Great review. I’ve heard a lot about Eli and love Denzel’s acting, so I’m definitely gonna see this one!

  2. John Standish / Mar 1 2010 7:35 am

    Saw it and LOVED it!. Well done review, Marv.

  3. unwriter1 / Mar 1 2010 7:39 am

    very good review and if I ever decide to go see a movie, this may just be the one.

  4. Elizabeth Spann Craig / Mar 1 2010 7:55 am

    Great review, Marvin! I usually don’t get to movies in time to see them at theaters, but I’ll check it out to rent!

    Mystery Writing is Murder

    • theoldsilly / Mar 1 2010 10:07 am

      Thanks, Elizabeth. I rarely go to the movies on first release, either. I think the prices are just ridiculous and prohibitive to make a habit of it. For wifey and I to go see TWO new releases in one month is like a MAJOR unusual thing, lol. But AVATAR and ELI were worth it.

  5. L. Diane Wolfe / Mar 1 2010 8:20 am

    We didn’t get to this one, although we’ll certainly catch it on NetFlix or something. I’d wondered if the bad reviewers just hated it for the spiritual aspects.

  6. quirkyloon / Mar 1 2010 9:28 am

    Sounds like a movie I should go check out.


    Thanks for the recommendation.

  7. Barbra Kelser / Mar 1 2010 9:58 am

    Sounds great – loved the preview, and the review was very intriguing!

  8. Alex J. Cavanaugh / Mar 1 2010 10:19 am

    I heard Denzel kicks butt!!

  9. MadMadMargo / Mar 1 2010 11:12 am

    Wow, thanks. I love Denzel and this movie sounds really intriguing. I’ll definitely add to my wish list at NetFlix.

  10. Jane Kennedy Sutton / Mar 1 2010 11:40 am

    I enjoyed the review. I also enjoy watching everything Denzel Washington is in, so maybe we’ll take in this movie on our next “colder that normal” day, which is coming up later this week.

  11. Mason Canyon / Mar 1 2010 11:46 am

    Great review and you definitely peaked my interest in seeing this. Thanks.

  12. Stanley Berber / Mar 1 2010 11:57 am

    Couldn’t agree more. Eli is one BAD dude on a GOOD mission!

  13. yvonne lewis / Mar 1 2010 12:12 pm

    A great review which I found very thrilling to read.

    Have a good week.


  14. tashabud / Mar 1 2010 12:38 pm

    Wow! Marvin, this is an awesome review. I haven’t seen the movie, but with the way you wrote it up, it makes me want to watch it now. I’m sure it’s not in the theaters here anymore, but I’ll definitely be watching it in the blue ray version once it’s available.

    Have a great week,

    • theoldsilly / Mar 1 2010 2:17 pm

      Yeah, definitely put this one on your Must See list. And you have a great week too, Tasha!

  15. Marcus Franks / Mar 1 2010 2:29 pm

    Wow what a coincidence – I JUST saw Eli last night. Totally agree with this well written review. This movie is MUST see. I don’t know WHAT any of those lunatic nay-sayer critics had up their butt. But there were equally as many if not more favorable reviews. My guess is the ones who didn’t like it were agnostics or athesists, maybe? Put off bv the “God” thang?

    • theoldsilly / Mar 1 2010 2:31 pm

      Marcus, I honestly hadn’t read any reviews of Eli. After seeing the movie I can’t imagine what anyone wouldn’t like, either. Your guess is as good as mine, seems likely enough, hmm?

  16. ReformingGeek / Mar 1 2010 2:57 pm

    That does sound intriguing. What a great review!

  17. Thelma Banks / Mar 1 2010 4:47 pm

    Great review. I’ve been hearing things, mostly good, about Eli – got it on my TO DO list, now!

  18. Galen Kindley / Mar 1 2010 6:17 pm

    This is on my To Watch list for sure. More so know. I didn’t know about the twisty ending, but, so much the better. Denzel is just fun to watch act. I like him.

    Best Wishes, Galen
    Imagineering Fiction Blog

  19. Connie Arnold / Mar 1 2010 7:21 pm

    Thanks for sharing the great review, Marvin! We usually watch movies once we can rent them and watch at home. We’ll definitely be watching for this one!

  20. Stephen Tremp / Mar 1 2010 8:32 pm

    Thanks for the review. We’re going to see Shutter ISland tonight. Eli is on our list. Heck, we haven’t seen Avatar yet, but will this week too.

    Stephen Tremp

  21. AmyLK / Mar 2 2010 10:54 am

    Good review! it sounds like a good movie and you didn’t spoil the ending. Now I have to see it! LOL

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