Did you know that being married is like being nibbled to death by a duck?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Movie Review: The Book of Eli

Before taking my review at face value, keep something in mind: this is my type of movie. It is set in a post-apocalyptic world and deals with the topic of The Bible and Divine intervention. So it's right up my alley, in other words.

That being said, it is an excellent movie. Denzel Washington, playing the lead character, is on a journey across what was once America, some 30 years after a nuclear holocaust. He is in possession of the last remaining Holy Bible, and is compelled by "a voice" to take it to a place he is not sure of, but knows he will when he gets there.

Of course there is a bad guy -- in this case played by Gary Oldman -- who is in control of some other bad guys and wants to expand his bad guyness into more territories and over more people. He believes the best way to do this is to get a hold of a Bible; its words and teachings can be used for the purposes of controlling the masses.

Because of this conflict between the protagonist and his adversary, an interesting sub-theme is developed which poses the question of power in regards to religion and how people use it. Which is interesting for me because the majority of debate I have engaged in regarding religion ends up focusing more on what Christianity has done, rather than what it should do. For most who oppose religion and belief, a large portion of their argument is dedicated to "well what about when 'the Church' did _____." Whether or not "the Church" actually did what is in question is often irrelevant; the point is that people see the actions of a group in power as being indicative of the source documents from which that power builds itself.

However, this is, as I stated, a sub-theme; the primary theme is that Denzel Washington's character, Eli, is one bad mamma-jamma. To paraphrase the Blues Brothers, he's on a mission from God and people who get in his way are generally less well-off than they were before. It's not a non-stop action movie, but the action that exists is very well done and the pace of the movie certainly does not make you feel like you are watching a film about religion.

Aside from a couple of small technical flaws (like, where did they get the gas for the vehicles 30 years after everything was destroyed? And how do they keep them running?) I thought it was an extremely well done movie with great acting and a thought-provoking storyline. In fact, whether you are a believer or not, you would be hard-pressed to disagree that it is quite rare these days for Hollywood to put out something with a positive spin on anything Biblical and/or relating to the Christian faith. This manages to do just that while still addressing a pertinent argument that many anti-theists make against organized religion.

But a solid two thumbs up from this guy, for what it's worth. It's not a super-fancy special effects extravaganza, but it certainly keeps you engaged and makes you think about a few things in a different light, for sure. I highly recommend it for anyone making a trip to the theater. Especially for those who are a fan of the post-apocalyptic genre like myself.

Unfortunately, however, there are, in fact, no zombies. The film could certainly have used some zombies.

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