Posted on 1/17/10 07:30 PM
I was expecting nothing more than a typical action flick set after a nuclear war when I sat down to watch The Book of Eli yesterday. I had just found out a few days prior that the book he is carrying is suppose to be the last Bible on the Earth, so I kind of had an idea where this movie might be going, but it delved even deeper into the religious aspects than I had expected. There are a few well shot and brutal action scenes (I loved that silhouetted fight that didn't have one editing cut) and the cast is pretty solid. Denzel Washington doesn't say much and lets his machete do most of the talking, but his performance was good enough to make me care for Eli as a character. Gary Oldman is always a treat to watch in any role and he plays a a creepy, confident and compelling bad guy here, without going too over-the-top. Mila Kunis is fine as well (enough to forgive her for Max Payne), which really surprised me. While her looks alone seem to get her movie roles, at least her acting here is almost on par.
As you can see from the trailers, the whole movie has a sepia color tone, though it isn't as distracting as I had assumed it would be. There are some very nice visual shots from the Hughes Brothers and the set design, along with some of the locations are top of the line. Some might find parts of the film slow moving, but I liked the comfortable way it flowed. The twist at the end has been cut down by a number of critics, but it really caught me by surprise and I thought it worked in the sense that Eli always seemed to be more than normal man to begin with.
The Book of Eli isn't great entertainment from start to finish, but it gives you a little to think about in between the limbs being hacked off. Works for me.