Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Dork Review #2: Book of Eli

Alright, time for another review, but this time it's going to be of a movie. Hey, we are all affected by what we see in addition to what we read, so I'm going to use these reviews to put forth my opinions on anything and everything nerdish and dorky. Fair warning, there may be spoilers in what follows.

So, on to the movie. Basic premise is gruff butt-kicking loner on a quest across the country. Add in a female sidekick/damsel in distress and an intelligent Gary Oldman villain, as only Gary Oldman can pull off. Of course there are the usual disposable henchmen, quite a few but not as many in most hardcore action films, but like everything in this post-apocalyptic movie they are a resource you need to be careful with. Tie this all together with a sacred object, in this case a King James Bible so for some people this will literally be sacred, and you get quite a good mixture going.

Let me just say it straight out, I really enjoyed this movie. So far I've seen this and Sherlock Holmes this year, and both have been better than expected. Denzel Washington plays Eli as a man of faith without being preachy. This movie isn't trying to convert you. It is however a great testament to the power of words.

The essential conflict in the book is between Eli and Carnegie, Gary Oldman's character, who both are literate and intelligent men who know the power of words. Carnegie has a great line, seen in the commercial for the movie, where he says "It's not a book, it's a weapon!" and there is some truth in that statement. Carnegie wants the book because he knows that the words in it have power, a power that will let him control others through guile and charisma and not the naked force he's been forced to use up till now. He wants to use it to try and build something back up, with him on top of course. I think the scene that best captures Carnegie's character is early in the movie. When we first see him he's reading a book on Mussolini and during the scene we find out that he has been paying illiterate biker thugs to bring him any and all books he can get his hands on. He is as ruthless as he is intelligent.

There is a twist at the end of the movie that I wont reveal, but I will recommend that if you do go and see it watch what Eli does very closely and see if you can figure it out. Because of the twist I mentioned I may actually look at picking up the novelization of this movie to see how the author deals with it, for it would affect the entire structure.

So finally, let me just say I recommend going out and seeing this movie. You don't need to see it on the big screen to get the full effect, but if you've got the time and the coin there's no reason to wait till it's available to rent. I know I'm likely to add this to my movie collection when it does come out for sale.

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