The Book of Eli (USA, 2010)

book_of_eliDirected by: The Hughes Brothers. So this movie had a few strikes against it from the get-go: it’s directed by the Hughes Brothers, whose very loose adaptation of the graphic novel From Hell irritated me to a great degree because I was a huge comic nerd when it came out (although now that the dust has settled, I think it’s still probably a pretty meh film), and the fact that I was watching it on an airplane, where I’m bound to judge something pretty harshly due to my inherent hatred of air travel (although The Fugitive was also an airplane movie, and I love that one like crazy). That being said, I was still drawn to it because it’s a post-apocalyptic movie I haven’t seen, and Gary Oldman rules, and Denzel rules. Turns out it also has Mila Kunis doing some good stuff, and Ray Stevenson in a little role, and Tom Waits in a little role, and even Michael Gambon as an old cannibal in a Tilley hat. It also has Malcolm McDowell as a kindly, skullet-sporting philsopher liberal in San Fransisco, who isn’t always a marker of a good film, but who usually does a great job with what he has. He definitely does a great job here, but unfortunately, his whole role, and that whole ending, is kind of the worst part of the film. And honestly, I hate to be contrary militant Atheist guy because there’s nothing worse than contrary militant Atheists, but once this film revealed that the McGuffin is a fucking bible, they really started to lose me. What it means is that, instead of a film about a post-apocalyptic world where we’re meant to reflect on some social crisis, materialism, fossil fuels, the fragility of the ecosystem, etc, etc, etc, instead it all comes down to the overarching importance of the Bible, with a bunch of magical man-of-God shit. It’s like Creed—I’m sure a Christian person writing this script thought that it was a compelling enough story that a little bit of God business wouldn’t put off the non-God folks, but in fact, it’s a pretty huge structural part of what makes the film tick, and without the belief  that the Bible is literally the word of God, then the assumption that all of Western civilization is based on the guiding hand of the Lord, via the Good Book, without which we would all be totally lost, runs a little bit thin. But except for that—except for the basic plot of the entire film—it’s a pretty good way to kill 2 hours on an airplane.

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One response to “The Book of Eli (USA, 2010)

  1. Pingback: List of Judgements, Anno Domini 2016 | Offhand Reviews·

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