Thursday, 18 February 2010

The Book Of Eli (2010)

"Are you sure you're 18?"
At a glance:
The end may be nigh but not for post-apocalyptic movies. Denzel Washington's survivor feature is a well-contained, half-engagin, action drama best commended for not resortin to the all-too-easy wasteland CGI we've been seein too much lately in movies like 2012 and I Am Legend. Directin it are the Hughes twins (From Hell, Menace II Society) who give the picture an ashen sepia feel all throughout Eli's decimated dystopia, an illiterate world populated with rummagin cannibals and Mad Max characters. While the picture isn't particularly rich nor does it have too many cultural references, Book Of Eli is steady and focused, just like the titular journeyman who has been walkin West for 30 years carryin the last bible on Earth (which happens to be a KJV, gimme a break!) and villainous town elder Carnegie (Gary Oldman) has set his eyes on it. Joinin the story are loyal concubine Claudia (Jessica Beals, Flashdance) and her bratty-but-seekin daughter Solara (Mila Kunis, That '70s Show). Other notable appearances include Tom Waits (Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus) and Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange).
Bad news on the doorstep:

Strange co-producer Washington has to play a restrained, charmless hero here, when the story could have benefited with an anti-hero or villain who trash-talks, somethin he's more adept at doin in movies like Training Day and American Gangster; or an outright, desperate good guy in movies like John Q and Fallen. The direction doesn't allow for his powerhouse actin and nobody watchin this film for him would be pleased with the experience because the movie doesn't really need him at all. Despite a solid premise, the correspondin lack of engaging dialogue between all characters is apparent.
Reminds me of:

Haneke's Time Of The Wolf and a bit of that entertainin flop Waterworld.
Watch out for:

Most memorable line:

One of the few rare moments of humour in the film when Eli is asked about whether he's quotin the bible and answers: "No, it's Johnny Cash. Live at Folsom Prison."
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?

Three stars. A missed opportunity but studio suits won't bein a hurry to shout remake or sequel, which would be a good progression. The last shot with Mila Kunis does make her look like a leaner Angelina Jolie playin Terminator's Sarah Connor.