Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

The Book of Eli: Movie Review

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

The Book of Eli: Movie Review

Article excerpt

Another postapocalyptic adventure, 'The Book of Eli' stars Denzel Washington as a pacifist warrior who becomes a sort of messianic figure.

What is it about movies and the apocalypse these days? It can't all

be blamed on post-9/11 syndrome. I was just recovering from "The

Road" when along comes "The Book of Eli," starring Denzel

Washington as a wanderer in the wasteland of a proverbial

not-too-distant future. It's 30 years after what is doomily

referred to as "the last war," and water is so scarce that people

bathe with leftover wet wipes from KFC.

Washington's character is essentially nameless, although if you

stick it out long enough - or bother to recall the movie's title

- you'll know him as Eli. He makes his way across the charred,

barren landscape with an impressive amount of fighting equipment

strapped to his torso, which, when he undrapes, looks heavily

scarred. He listens to music, at least I think he does, with what

looks like an iPod. Guess those things can survive even an

end-of-world blowout. He also zealously guards his prize possession,

a heavy, leatherbound tome that he calls "the book," although

clearly it's the Bible.

This book, or Book, is also coveted by a sleazoid named Carnegie

(Gary Oldman, doing his smarmy specialty). Carnegie is a two-bit

despot who has assembled a gaggle of gunmen and runs a makeshift town

in the middle of nowhere. Like Eli, Carnegie remembers the days

before the war, and this means he also remembers his Bible. But,

unlike Eli, who is a man of peace (unless provoked), Carnegie spends

his spare time charging the grovelly locals for water and poring over

such tomes as "The Da Vinci Code" and a biography of Mussolini.

But the book he sends his minions far and wide to find is the Bible.

He thinks that with it he can subjugate the world, although there

doesn't seem like a whole lot to subjugate. It's like appointing

yourself king of an auto wrecking yard in the middle of the Sahara.

But apparently no copy survives until Eli shows up with one, and

he's not willing to part with it. …

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