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Customer Review

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes there are two paths you can go by, 25 April 2012
This review is from: The Book of Eli [DVD] (DVD)
Now has earth become a dangerous post apocalytic place populated by desperate, lawless people, scrabbling for survival, prepared to kill for the contents of a backpack. Women are used as bait to trap the unwary, and as the pawns and playthings of villains.

The sky has faded from its usual blue, what was solid has turned to very dust, grey has become the fashion, clothes and large concrete pipes collect the grit, and you can sense the dryness and heat of the torrid zone. When the movie goes indoors, the richer tones emerge. The blind woman is colorful without a sense of color.

As other people hunt people, Eli (Denzel Washington) hunts his own food. In this world, traveling by yourself, you need a sixth sense to survive, and Eli's with heightened senses can smell trouble before it emerges. He can somehow see the trap before it is sprung.

In this world a certain book has power, and Eli carries it, and understanding its power protects it.

In the first confrontation, he could surrender his backpack and probably live but lose the book, but he demonstrates his resourcefulness in lethal ways, ways that seem at odds with his mission, one of whose aims would be not to kill.

The more we know the nature of his mission, the more incongruous his behavior appears. When he observes a husband being shot, and a wife about to be raped by a biker gang, he faces a dilemma, and makes a strage mission decision. Will his behavior change in the future?

Further displays of his lethal skills impress a local villain Carnegie (Gary Oldman), a man on his own mission to get the one 'book,' which will help him to control the unruly masses. Carnegie uses manipulation and fear to control people to get what he wants.

The blind woman (Jennifer Beals of Flashdance) is his girlfriend. She depends upon the protection of Carnegie, and unfortunately such protection comes at a steep price, as when he offers her daughter Solara (Mila Kunis)as a sexual gift to Eli.

Women see in ELi an opportunity for safety and protection without being exploited, but when they ask for his help, he refuses.

Heroes don't have problems, they have dilemmas.

Eli faces a succession of dilemmas: save the woman, stay on the path, accept the girl, reject the girl, exploit the girl, help the girl, bring the girl, leave the girl, save the girl, save the book. One of the things I liked most about the movie was a familiar bridge in a familiar setting.

Comparing notes with a screenwriter friend, we agreed that the strongest point was not the look of the movie, or the characters but the storytelling aspect, and I loved the surprises. Perhaps the weakest point for me was the development of Carnegie's character, which seemed a little one dimensional.

As is now common in Hollywood movies, we initially see the bad guy doing the opposite of what he really is, buying shampoo for and shampooing his girlfriends hair, you might notice similarly that the good guy does not emerge good at first.

Denzel Washington's performance in an action role impressed me, as did Mila Kunis as Solara, formerly of that 70's show, Forgetting Sarah Marshall now emerging as a great cinema actress. I do not think I would have made all the same choices about her as Eli would.

What does the world of the future say about the world of now? Apparently, the ipod is durable and will survive, and I loved the songs used in the movie.

I did see this movie twice, something I rarely do. If you follow the box office as I do, the movie has now grossed over $95 milion in the USA, and $157 million worldwide. Hope this was useful.
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