The Book of Eli - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Book of Eli Reviews

Top Critic
Hank Sartin
Time Out
November 18, 2011
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Laremy Legel
Film.com
May 6, 2011
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 | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
March 2, 2010
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 | Original Score: B+
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Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
January 22, 2010
Washington doesn't look as if he's having much fun, and who can blame him?
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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A.O. Scott
At the Movies
January 19, 2010
I'm not going to give it away, but there's a final plot twist in this movie that is beyond absurd.
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Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
January 15, 2010
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 | Original Score: 2/4
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Manohla Dargis
New York Times
January 15, 2010
Allen and Albert Hughes have created a plausible post-apocalyptic world.
| Original Score: 3/5
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Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
January 15, 2010
A stylish, gritty fantasy feature that wrestles with the agonies, joys and eternal wrinkles of faith and evil and the dangerous minuet they do.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Tom Maurstad
Dallas Morning News
January 15, 2010
What strength and intensity the movie musters begins and ends with Washington.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
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Peter Howell
Toronto Star
January 15, 2010
A movie weighed down by a numbskull screenplay (by rookie Gary Whitta) and a careless lack of attention to details.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Lisa Miller
Newsweek
January 15, 2010
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.
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Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
January 15, 2010
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...
| Original Score: 1/4
Top Critic
Lou Lumenick
New York Post
January 15, 2010
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 | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post
January 15, 2010
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 | Original Score: 2.5/4
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James Rocchi
MSN Movies
January 14, 2010
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 | Original Score: 2.5/5
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Claudia Puig
USA Today
January 14, 2010
Poetic psalms uttered amid stylized violence are disconcerting. Religion and bloodshed, though linked through much of history, make queasy entertainment partners.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
January 14, 2010
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 | Original Score: 1.5/4
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Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
January 14, 2010
While the religious content makes itself felt, sometimes strongly, the heavy action quotient -- the story of Eli the slasher -- tears feelings to tatters.
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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
January 14, 2010
A dynamic story, sprinkled with some interesting ideas about the preciousness of culture and how societies might rebuild themselves.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
January 14, 2010
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.
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
January 14, 2010
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.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
January 14, 2010
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 | Original Score: 2.5/5
Top Critic
John Hartl
Seattle Times
January 14, 2010
The fixation on the Bible (and biblical-scale cloud formations) gets awfully pompous at times, especially when it's used to justify gory dismemberments.
| Original Score: 2/4
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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
January 14, 2010
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 | Original Score: 2/4
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Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
January 14, 2010
Washington, ever potent, brings to the role the full force of his thousand-mile stare and regenerative smile.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Scott Tobias
AV Club
January 14, 2010
Working from a script by Gary Whitta, the Hughes brothers, Albert and Allen, have made a stark affirmation of faith as a guiding light for a broken, lawless civilization, but to their credit, the film stops well short of proselytizing.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
Richard Roeper
Richard Roeper.com
January 14, 2010
Bold and innovative, spiritually challenging--and some heads get chopped off.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
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Cliff Doerksen
Chicago Reader
January 14, 2010
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.
Top Critic
Calvin Wilson
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
January 14, 2010
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 | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
January 14, 2010
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.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
January 14, 2010
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 | Original Score: 3/4
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
January 14, 2010
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 | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
January 13, 2010
Truly, if one must wander a barren, post-apocalyptic landscape with somebody, who better to wander with than Denzel Washington?
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
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Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
January 13, 2010
A ponderous dystopian bummer that might be described as The Road Warrior without car chases, or The Road without humanity.
Full Review | Original Score: D
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Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
January 13, 2010
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.
| Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Rex Reed
New York Observer
January 13, 2010
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.
Top Critic
Keith Uhlich
Time Out
January 13, 2010
Thank the pallid green heavens for Flashdance's Jennifer Beals, positively ravishing as a sightless kept woman who acts as the story's oracle.
| Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Nick Pinkerton
Village Voice
January 12, 2010
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.
Top Critic
Jake Coyle
Associated Press
January 12, 2010
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.
Top Critic
Todd McCarthy
Variety
January 11, 2010
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.
Top Critic
Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
January 11, 2010
A well-made post-apocalyptic action drama with simple themes and archetypal characters that strains a little too much at Seriousness.