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The Book of Eli Reviews

Hank Sartin
Time Out
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Full Review Source: Time Out | Original Score: 3/5

November 18, 2011
Laremy Legel
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The Hughes brothers' film feels more vibrant than the bleak Road, which was launched at us in November. Here the brothers show us the horror but somehow the staid and calm Denzel feels more approachable than the distraught and scrambling Viggo.

Full Review Source: | Original Score: B+

May 6, 2011
Jonathan F. Richards
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t's a post-apocalyptic western, it's an evangelical tract, it's a road movie, it's a martial arts movie, it's a disaster movie, it's a graphic novel. It's equal parts The Road and The Robe, A Fistful of Dollars and Fist of Fury. It's Mad Max meets Left Be

Full Review Source: | Original Score: B+

March 2, 2010
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
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Washington doesn't look as if he's having much fun, and who can blame him?

Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor | Original Score: 3/5

January 22, 2010
A.O. Scott
At the Movies
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I'm not going to give it away, but there's a final plot twist in this movie that is beyond absurd.

Full Review Source: At the Movies

January 19, 2010
Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
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Really, it's just another prophet-in-the-wilderness tale -- not nearly as bad as those trailers would suggest, yet neither will your soul run any risk of enlightenment.

Full Review Source: Globe and Mail | Original Score: 2/4

January 15, 2010
Manohla Dargis
New York Times
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Allen and Albert Hughes have created a plausible post-apocalyptic world.

| Original Score: 3/5

January 15, 2010
Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
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A stylish, gritty fantasy feature that wrestles with the agonies, joys and eternal wrinkles of faith and evil and the dangerous minuet they do.

Full Review Source: Denver Post | Original Score: 3.5/4

January 15, 2010
Tom Maurstad
Dallas Morning News
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What strength and intensity the movie musters begins and ends with Washington.

Full Review Source: Dallas Morning News | Original Score: 3.5/5

January 15, 2010
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
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A movie weighed down by a numbskull screenplay (by rookie Gary Whitta) and a careless lack of attention to details.

Full Review Source: Toronto Star | Original Score: 2/4

January 15, 2010
Lisa Miller
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For those of us in the reading and writing business-for anyone, really, who loves the written word-the movie has a powerful resonance. It reminds us that literacy can't be taken for granted.

Full Review Source: Newsweek

January 15, 2010
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
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You'd expect The Book of Eli to offer something special enough to have lured the brothers from retirement, but the Hugheses settle for serving up all the usual clichés...

Full Review Source: Miami Herald | Original Score: 1/4

January 15, 2010
Lou Lumenick
New York Post
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The filmmakers have an unusually persuasive star in Washington, who can sell lines like, "We had more than we needed" and "I walk by faith, not by sight."

Full Review Source: New York Post | Original Score: 2.5/4

January 15, 2010
Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post
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A hyper-violent, post-apocalyptic Western in the mold of Mad Max that can't make up its mind whether it wants to be corny or misanthropic.

Full Review Source: Washington Post | Original Score: 2.5/4

January 15, 2010
James Rocchi
MSN Movies
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Your brain, and, yes, your soul, long for ... a film that walked either the straight and narrow path of righteousness or blazed some new trail instead of frustratingly sticking with such faith and fervor to the middle of the road.

Full Review Source: MSN Movies | Original Score: 2.5/5

January 14, 2010
Claudia Puig
USA Today
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Poetic psalms uttered amid stylized violence are disconcerting. Religion and bloodshed, though linked through much of history, make queasy entertainment partners.

Full Review Source: USA Today | Original Score: 2/4

January 14, 2010
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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Travolta had his Battlefield Earth, Costner had his Waterworld and now Denzel Washington has his truly awful sci-fi epic, The Book of Eli.

Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune | Original Score: 1.5/4

January 14, 2010
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
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While the religious content makes itself felt, sometimes strongly, the heavy action quotient -- the story of Eli the slasher -- tears feelings to tatters.

Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal

January 14, 2010
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
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A dynamic story, sprinkled with some interesting ideas about the preciousness of culture and how societies might rebuild themselves.

Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle | Original Score: 3/4

January 14, 2010
Stephanie Zacharek
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The Hughes Brothers may want us to think they're giving us a few deep, quasi-spiritual ideas, but what they're really serving up is earnestly shallow, machete-and-bow-and-arrow entertainment.

Full Review Source:

January 14, 2010
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
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The Book of Eli isn't as exciting or funny or inspiring as it wants and needs to be, and its preachy ending is an ordeal. But Washington, a movie star who can act, is one cool dude who is worth following anywhere.

Full Review Source: Rolling Stone | Original Score: 2.5/4

January 14, 2010
Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
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You'd want a guy like Denzel around when the end is nigh. Too bad The Book of Eli is so preachy it buries the subtlety he brings forth.

Full Review Source: New York Daily News | Original Score: 2.5/5

January 14, 2010
John Hartl
Seattle Times
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The fixation on the Bible (and biblical-scale cloud formations) gets awfully pompous at times, especially when it's used to justify gory dismemberments.

Full Review Source: Seattle Times | Original Score: 2/4

January 14, 2010
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
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The Book of Eli is The Road with twice the plot, four times the ammunition, and half the brains; it'll probably make 10 times the money.

Full Review Source: Boston Globe | Original Score: 2/4

January 14, 2010
Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
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Washington, ever potent, brings to the role the full force of his thousand-mile stare and regenerative smile.

Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer | Original Score: 3/4

January 14, 2010
Richard Roeper
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Bold and innovative, spiritually challenging--and some heads get chopped off.

Full Review Source: Richard | Original Score: 4.5/5

January 14, 2010
Cliff Doerksen
Chicago Reader
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The sepia-toned palette gets a little wearying, but the dialogue is hilarious, the violence is crunchy, and cameos by Tom Waits and topflight Brit character actor Michael Gambon are worth the ticket price alone.

Full Review Source: Chicago Reader

January 14, 2010
Calvin Wilson
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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The Book of Eli doesn't quite achieve the greatness to which it so clearly aspires. But how many sci-fi flicks have Al Green on the soundtrack?

Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Original Score: 3/4

January 14, 2010
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
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Shot on nimble, lightweight Red digital cameras, the film may traffic in familiar landscapes and archetypes, but it allows its cast the space and time to make the characters breathe.

Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune | Original Score: 3/4

January 14, 2010
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
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I'm at a loss for words, so let me say these right away: The Book of Eli is very watchable. You won't be sorry you went.

Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Original Score: 3/4

January 14, 2010
James Berardinelli
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The problem with The Book of Eli is that the narrative isn't a match for its sentiments. The script feels like it's an iteration or two short of a final draft.

Full Review Source: ReelViews | Original Score: 2.5/4

January 14, 2010
Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
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Truly, if one must wander a barren, post-apocalyptic landscape with somebody, who better to wander with than Denzel Washington?

Full Review Source: Arizona Republic | Original Score: 3.5/5

January 13, 2010
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
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A ponderous dystopian bummer that might be described as The Road Warrior without car chases, or The Road without humanity.

Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly | Original Score: D

January 13, 2010
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
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It's obvious what the book is and the resolution to this quest tale is silly beyond belief. Denzel just plays it quiet, tough and cool, as if that alone will carry the film.

Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel | Original Score: 2/4

January 13, 2010
Rex Reed
New York Observer
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Even after the action leads to a final series of revelations that render everything else preposterous, you will still feel the adrenaline. Boredom is not an option.

Full Review Source: New York Observer

January 13, 2010
Keith Uhlich
Time Out New York
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Thank the pallid green heavens for Flashdance's Jennifer Beals, positively ravishing as a sightless kept woman who acts as the story's oracle.

Full Review Source: Time Out New York | Original Score: 2/5

January 13, 2010
Nick Pinkerton
Village Voice
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The rest of the rote splatter-violence has Denzel whirlwind lopping off heads through philistine hordes, sequences only good for insight into what PS3 games the Hugheses were playing in pre-production.

Full Review Source: Village Voice

January 12, 2010
Jake Coyle
Associated Press
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In the future, according to The Book of Eli, we'll all dress like we're in a Nine Inch Nails video. It is written.

January 12, 2010
Todd McCarthy
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Iconically effective as a single-minded messenger with a mission, Washington's Eli is ultimately too confined by the man-of-few-words movie norms he's saddled with.

Full Review Source: Variety

January 11, 2010
Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
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A well-made post-apocalyptic action drama with simple themes and archetypal characters that strains a little too much at Seriousness.

January 11, 2010
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