• Tue. May 28th, 2024

Movie Curiosities

The online diary of an aspiring movie nerd

Book of Eli

ByCuriosity Inc.

Jan 21, 2010

On a technical level, the movie is astonishing. You think you’ve seen grim and gritty in a movie? Not until you’ve seen this film’s color palette, you haven’t. Additionally, the camera work is just superlative from start to finish.

I was sitting through the first act absolutely gobsmacked at what I was seeing. This was a masterfully created world and I learned everything I had to know about it within the first ten minutes. Even better, I didn’t find out about it through voiceovers, text crawls or even any dialogue! All the exposition we got in those first ten minutes were from tight plotting, extraordinary camera work and the acting prowess of Denzel Washington, but I won’t get into detail about his performance just yet.

Rather, I’d like to talk about the religious aspect of this movie. First off, it’s a common argument amongst atheists and agnostics that we’ve outgrown religion. That religion was founded way back when because we needed rules to keep ancient civilization in line. Well, here’s the kicker: Law and order no longer apply, food and running water have become scarcities, most of humanity is illiterate and pretty much all of our modern advancements no longer exist. In short, life is almost exactly as it was in the Middle East 2,000 years ago. Is it so inconceivable that we’d all turn back to invisible gods and deities in such a time? How long could science keep hold when our educated, scientific minds are all dead and our means of discovery have been destroyed?

But really, religion is just one possible interpretation of this movie. Another interpretation — my preferred one — is that “knowledge is power.” Carnegie holds power not because of wealth, but because of literacy. Because he can read, he has sole power over which books survive and which burn. He has power not only over his own education, but that of everyone who serves him. And in the end, he’s undone because someone has knowledge that he doesn’t.

There are some who say that the movie is boring and I can understand the complaint. There are, after all, long stretches where Denzel is talking about his book. I, however, will let that slide because this is┬áDenzel Washington. The man could read from the phone book and make you hang on every word. He could move you to tears playing a goddamn dust mite. He does a phenomenal job with what he’s given, though I’m sorry to say that his character is at the center of some stupid moments. Without spoiling anything, I can say that if a scene or plot point involves Denzel Washington and bullets, there should be something about it that makes you want to yell “Bullshit!”

Then there’s Mila Kunis. Her primary strengths are that she’s cute and she’s funny, so what the hell is she doing, taking this ugly and sad role? Also, there’s a (mercifully brief) point in the movie where they try to pass her off as an action star. It didn’t work in Max Payne, honey, and it didn’t work here. Even worse, that moment tried to present her as Denzel Washington’s equal. That just made me laugh out loud.

As I said, the movie is amazing from a technical standpoint, the first act is electrifying and the thematic material is ambitious to say the least. Unfortunately, as the movie goes on, the unanswered questions and unquestioned answers keep piling up until the only plausible explanation is “because God wills it.” I wouldn’t advise against seeing the movie, though I would advise you to be ready for almost certain disappointment if you do.

By Curiosity Inc.

I hold a B.S. in Bioinformatics, the only one from Pacific University's Class of '09. I was the stage-hand-in-chief of my high school drama department and I'm a bass drummer for the Last Regiment of Syncopated Drummers. I dabble in video games and I'm still pretty good at DDR. My primary hobby is going online for upcoming movie news. I am a movie buff, a movie nerd, whatever you want to call it. Comic books are another hobby, but I'm not talking about Superman or Spider-Man or those books that number in the triple-digits. I'm talking about Watchmen, Preacher, Sandman, etc. Self-contained, dramatic, intellectual stories that couldn't be accomplished in any other medium. I'm a proud son of Oregon, born and raised here. I've been just about everywhere in North and Central America and I love it right here.

One thought on “Book of Eli”

Leave a Reply