Welcome to this blog of my film reviews. Some have been drafted carefully on paper, others I have sat and typed. I'm going to make it clear right now that I don't expect you to agree with my (re)views, or to like my style of writing. However, I want my views to be just out there and open, as a person who wishes to express himself from deep within. Feel free to comment and debate with me, but I do ask that you are civil and not harsh, as any comments which are basically swear words and insults will automatically be deleted. Also any text that is in orange (and often bold) is a Hyperlink to either a source, or a previous post for background reference.
Monday, 29 August 2011
The Book of Eli
In a post nuclear apocalypse Earth, Eli (Denzel Washington) has the last ever Bible in existence, and is doing everything he can to protect it and deliver it to a safe location, so that men like Carnegie (Gary Oldman) won't use it to exploit people.
The film's main problem is its screenplay. The screenplay lacks strong pacing, with a number of scenes simply being Eli, and later Eli and Solara (Mila Kunis), striding through the desert in their mission to get the Bible to safety, so with little dialogue and a surly bond between the two at first, these scenes do tend to plod and their general pacing is slow and lacks suspense. The other problem is the scenes of gun violence and brutal action, which are gritty and really get the adrenaline and excitement going thanks to the brutality and grit of them, but they take over the film, so the central religious message is dumbed down and contradicted completely. The message is that the world needs the Bible to prevent violence and bring peace, yet the man who is delivering the Bible to safety shoots, stabs and decapitates people to protect it. Really? The Bible tells us we are to spread the truth of the Gospel to all, regardless of the danger, with some missionaries having gone missing, presumed eaten by cannibals in the last century. So, yes, as an Evangelical Christian I do disagree with this depiction, although I do agree with the fact Eli would go to any length to protect it from harm as the Bible is the most important and truthful book in history, and so deep that nobody will ever fully get their heads around it.
This is made up for, however, by the film's cast. Washington gives a gritty and touching performance as Eli, bringing grit and determination to the role, while Oldman is rather cold and sadistic as Carnegie. Kunis also does a good job as Solara, giving a performance that is both quite bad-ass and also fairly touching, as she is an image of one who has lived a tragic and oppressed life, and who yearns to be free. In a brief scene Michael Gambon and Frances de la Tour (as couple George and Martha) come together to give a gritty turn as two people who yearn to defend themselves in a desperate fight for survival. The visuals are also quite good in this film, with the amount of desert and visible destruction of buildings, vehicles, et cetera, make a real feel of death and destruction, and the colours, which come together like an interesting combination of black and white, sepia and technicolour, gives it all a dark and gritty tone and feel.
This film is quite enjoyable at the end of the day, but it is fairly flawed, and I really do disagree with the way it tackles the religious message and ends up contradicting itself. It isn't a brilliant film by a long shot, but it is worth watching.
Stars: Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis, Ray Stevenson, Jennifer Beals, Evan Jones, Joe Pingue, Michael Gambon, Frances de la Tour, Tom Waits, Chris Browning, Malcolm McDowell, Arron Shiver.
Saturn nominations: Best Science Fiction Film, Best Actor (Denzel Washington), Best Make-Up (Gregory Nicotero, Howard Berger).