Movie: Book of Eli

I loved this movie! If you haven’t seen it yet here’s a review that I believe gave it it’s due justice:
By John Mulderig is on the staff of the Office for Film & Broadcasting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The Book of Eli
More contemplative and lyrical than advertised, the first big action movie of 2010 incorporates religious faith and Judeo-Christian principles to a surprising degree.

Directed by twin brothers Albert and Allen Hughes, “The Book of Eli” (Warner Bros.) prompts the question whether, assuming a minimum level of respect, the attempt to integrate religion and Scripture into a mass-appeal film is by itself laudable.

“The Book of Eli” exhibits sufficient reverence for the Bible, and yet its coarse language and violence—though not excessive when compared to many films of this ilk—could fuel the opinion that Hollywood should avoid all sacred texts. It does not endorse aggression as a means to redemption, however.

While dabbing them with morbid humor, the Hughes brothers don’t prolong the fight sequences, nor are the proceedings saturated in blood. The mayhem is balanced by frequent meditative passages. Moreover, next to the bleak depictions of humankind’s future that abound at the multiplex (last year’s adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s novel “The Road” springs to mind) their vision is decidedly optimistic. Centering on a prophetic hero driven by faith and hope, “The Book of Eli” has more in common with the 2007 Will Smith vehicle “I Am Legend.”

The character of Eli, portrayed by the always-convincing Denzel Washington, descends from the strong, mysterious strangers Clint Eastwood played in the so-called spaghetti Westerns of Sergio Leone, as well as from the spiritually potent protagonists in numerous Asian martial-arts films. In the near future, following a climactic disaster that precipitated “the last war,” Eli has spent 30 years traversing the blighted landscape of the western United States carrying the only extant copy of The King James Bible.

Books were burned and libraries pillaged in the aftermath of the vaguely described apocalypse. Now, with survival a Herculean challenge, he skillfully defends himself and his precious cargo using a machete, bow-and-arrow, and gun. His belief that he’s shielded by God appears to be well-founded after he arrives at a dusty town run by Carnegie (Gary Oldman), whose marauding minions are charged with bringing him every book they can find.

Carnegie’s power derives from controlling the water supply, but he’s convinced his dominion over the surviving population will grow if he wields the words of the Bible. His blind, common-law wife, Claudia (Jennifer Beals), has a daughter, Solara (Mila Kunis), who eventually hits the road with Eli, becoming a disciple of sorts.

How authentically Christian is Eli’s religiosity? Not only does he safeguard and transport the Bible, he reads it daily and quotes from it often. He also prays—most notably at the end of the film, when he gives thanks to God and confesses the sins he committed as the Good Book’s chosen courier. The most explicit expression of Christian doctrine comes when Eli tells Solara what he’s learned from his in-depth study of Scripture, namely, “Do more for others than you do for yourself.”

The film contains intermittent strong violence including gun- and swordplay and a killing intended to be merciful, much rough language, some crude language, and brief sexual innuendo. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is L—limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R—restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.


Please share your thoughts!

Sorry to see BlackJack had no response on this amazing movie waaay back when he posted.

I got around to watching it last evening. It was a very good. My only wish is that the main character Eli had been carrying the only extant copy of Douay Rheims or Revised Standard Version (RSV) - Catholic Edition !! :wink:
Either way
It is a two thumbs up movie.

I like it quite a bit. It’s very violent, but the hero is shown as using it as a last resort and because of a higher cause. Eli is also shown as a moral and admirable character, showing no interest in a young girl who is offered to him for sex and trying to help others inasmuch as he can, given his mission. A couple of the plot twists (I won’t spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen it) caught me by surprise. There are some very touching moments, too, which help us make some guesses about Eli’s background - the scene where he is alone at night before a fire in a shelter and listening to Al Greene on his walkman is very memorable.

I remember enjoying it when it was in theaters, but haven’t revisited it since. Maybe a rental in the near future.

Best movie ending ever!

wow! this thread is almost 5 years old!!

I remember seeing this movie all the way back when it came out! I remember there were people who didn’t like it and were complaining about the effort the main character did to save the Bible, only for it to be placed on a shelf as it was nothing but a regular book. I did have a problem with that scene but I overall did enjoy this movie back then.

Overall, a decent thriller/action movie. The visuals are gorgeous – the cinematography is clever, nice acting from most of the cast besides Kunis and the incorporation of the Bible was effectively done. The movie stands out to because it treated the Bible and religion in a respective, if not reverent manner, than 99% of the movies that deal with any sort of religiosity.

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