BOOK OF ELI: Trite Plotting
THE BOOK OF ELI (futuristic drama)
Cast: Denzel Washington, Mila Kunis, Gary Oldman, Malcolm McDowell, Michael Gambon,
Jennifer Beals, Ray Stevenson and Tom Waits,
Directors: Allen and Albert Hughes
Screenplay: Gary Whitta
Time: 118 mins
Rating: * * (out of 4)
PREAMBLE: Another dose of post-apocalyptic doom and gloom. Again, the world as we know it has ended and it sorely needs a lone prophet to bring salvation to the survivors. If this sounds trite and cliched, wait till you catch the movie.
Scripter Gary Whitta and the Hughes Brothers must have been very high on something to have conceived such a preposterous conceit.
THE SKINNY: Thirty years after the world is devastated by a nuclear war, Eli (Denzel Washington, above, with Mila Kunis) walks across a ravaged America, guarding his most precious possession – a book. Carnegie (Gary Oldman), the head honcho of a small town, wants the book, thinking that it will give him immense power. When Eli escapes from town with Carnegie’s adopted daughter Solara (Mila Kunis), Carnegie and his gang set out in pursuit of the book.
HITS & MISSES: No prizes for guessing what the Book of Eli is. This is because as soon as we discover what it is, our patience and respect for the movie fade and the plot threatens to become a joke.
We are told that the Book has been blamed for the War and every single copy of it is burned - except the one belonging to Eli. If you can believe that, then you should have no problem sitting through this film.
Basically, the movie plays like a mix of spaghetti western and Mad Max with a bit of The Road thrown in. It has a good cast, though. Washington's hero is believable enough given that he has some god-given powers that allows him to vanquish multiple attackers single-handedly. Oldman also lends credence to the villain Carnegie, while Michael Gambon plays an old-timer who survives by trapping visitors. Kunis, of course, gives the movie the requisite feminine touch and pathos, while an exotic-looking Jennifer Beals plays her mother.
THE LOWDOWN: Mainly for fans of the Brothers Hughes.