Movie Review: The Book of Eli

Movie Review: The Book of Eli

The Book of Eli

Rated R for some brutal violence and language.
Running Time: 1 hour 58 minutes

In the not-too-distant future, some 30 years after the final war, a solitary man walks across the wasteland that was once the United States of America. Empty cities, broken highways, seared earth all around him are the marks of catastrophic destruction. There’s no civilization and there’s no law. The roads belong to gangs that would murder a man for his shoes, an ounce of water, or for nothing at all.

But, they’re no match for a traveler named Eli.

Eli, played by Denzel Washington, seeks only peace. But, if challenged, he will cut his attackers down before they realize their fatal mistake. It’s not his life he guards so fiercely, but his hope for the future. It’s a hope he’s carried and protected for 30 years and he’s determined to realize it. Driven by this commitment and guided by his belief in something greater than himself, Eli does what he must, in order to survive…and continue.

He’s a warrior…not by choice…but by necessity.

Purpose & Destiny = Hope For The Future

One word can describe my reaction as I left the screening for
The Book of Eli — Wow!

This is an amazing, emotional, edge of your seat ride that keeps you glued to the big screen as you stuff popcorn in your mouth. While I wasn’t totally sure what to expect when I screened The Book of Eli, I must say I was pleasantly surprised at the performance put in by Denzel Washington. In all honesty, many times we avoid R rated movies simply because we know they’re not family-friendly. But, when I saw Washington listed as the star of this post-apocalyptic flick I decided to put it on my radar.

I was not disappointed!

I openly wondered if we really needed yet another post-apocalyptic movie. I also wondered if anything new could be done in this genre. Those questions were put to rest very quickly. The opening scene set the stage for what is a stark movie, brilliantly filmed with a touch of gray technique throughout giving the feel that the “great flash” has indeed taken place on earth.

In a nutshell, Eli, played by Denzel Washington, is on a mission. He’s fulfilling his calling, his purpose and his destiny.

He’s been walking for 30 winters, heading west, simply because something told him he had to deliver a “book” to someone there. The contents of the book, the last one on earth, holds the key to deliver what’s left of humanity out of it’s misery. However, one other man in the ruined and fallen world also understands the power Eli holds and he’s determined to make it his own.

Carnegie, played by Gary Oldman, is the self-appointed leader of a makeshift town of thieves and gunmen. He knows the power the words of the book hold. If he can get his hands on it, he can transform the world into something he alone will be the leader of.

A Fascinating Look at Hope, Purpose & Destiny

The Book of Eli is an incredible look at fallen humanity in the midst of ruin searching for hope. When all else fails and when everything is lying in ruins around you, the gut reaction of all humankind is to search for some kind of hope. When you add in purpose and destiny, you have a powerful combination not only for life, but for the story line and plot line of an incredible movie. Passion, purpose and destiny truly make up the driving force behind Eli. Those elements also make for powerful life lessons we can all learn from.

With an R rating, The Book of Eli is far from family-friendly.

While I enjoyed this movie and in turn give it a high Lloyd rating, I must admit the violence was a little more graphic at times than I usually like to see. But, even after saying that, the violence was not overdone, nor was it the focus of the movie. Before screening the movie I also wondered if the language would be over the top. While the language is rough, wild and raw at times, again, it’s not over the top. I also thoroughly enjoyed the fact that Washington’s character of Eli, for the most part, is a calm, mild-mannered man of peace. Don’t push him though. He knows his purpose and destiny and will do what he must in order to protect the book. If you touch him, you just might lose a hand.

As already mentioned, The Book of Eli can be described best with just one word – Wow! – But, even more than that, I left the movie saying “I didn’t see that coming!” When a movie does that, it’s truly impressed me because through the years I’ve seen enough movies to pick out a predictable movie rather quickly.

Yes, The Book of Eli is about a book. But in the end, Eli discovers the book has become a part of him, which is more important than anything else.

Enjoy the show!
Dr. Rus

About the Author

Dr. Rus has 30+ years experience in the field of communication. He takes this experience, and his passion to encourage others to positively effect their environment, when providing insight and movie reviews.