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2043 is a long time away. Yet in this film it seems like it could be closer each time I watch. With the way our world is today, if we don’t think fast and live peacefully, the Hughes Brothers (From Hell, Dead Presidents), Albert and Allen may have shown us our future.
The Hughes Brothers have a way of telling a story that just when you think you know which way a story is going or how it will end they smack you across the face and smile. With the pen of new film writer Gary Whitta, “The Book of Eli” takes a look at what our actions today can do to affect the future. Along with the look of art director Christopher Burian-Mohr and production design of Gae Buckley using the mind’s eye to give us an apocalyptic look at the world, Don Burgess’ vision of cinematography and the haunting music of Atticus Ross, Leopold Ross and Claudia Sarne, you can put yourself in to the story.
It’s the future and a great war has devastated the world. Eli (Denzel Washington) is on a trek. To deliver a book to a sanctuary that some people feel is just a legend. Why deliver this book? It’s the only one left that has power to heal or control all. Along his way he meets the distraught and well to do low life’s that are trying to survive any way possible. Eli must choose his morals to finish his task of getting the book to its destination. Then he comes across Carnegie (Gary Oldman) who runs a little town where Eli has come. After an altercation Eli has overcome, Carnegie asks him to join him. Eli refuses and escapes knowing Carnegie is just out to rule and not help people. Carnegie sets his men out after Eli knowing now that he has the book that can control. Eli will stop at nothing to complete the one task on his mind and in his heart.
Denzel Washington (The Taking of Pelham 123, American Gangster) plays the proverbial Eli, on a journey of many morals. Denzel’s acting never ceases to astound me when he does such passionate acting. Gary Oldman (A Christmas Carol, The Dark Night) is Carnegie, the man with a plan if he could only find the one book. In his classic style of character portrayal, Gary shows how versatile he is. Mila Kunis (Extract, Max Payne) is Solara, the daughter of Carnegie’s partner, Claudia played by Jennifer Beals (Troubled Waters, The Grudge 2). The Two of them do a good job adding the feminine touch to a predominately male cast. Mila shows her physical talents as well as brings you into how a woman might be in this new environment. Jennifer delves deep to play the mother who has been blind from birth and finds strength to keep living in the world they do. Stepping up his game a bit is Ray Stevenson (Punisher: War Zone, Rome) as Carnegie’s right hand man, Redridge. Muscle is the least of what Ray needs to worry about. He uses his skills to emotionally show someone torn between his thoughts and those who are wielding the power.
“The Book of Eli” is a BluRay/DVD/Digital Copy set. Encased in the menu are some gems to the question, “what if?” First you can have the dialogue in English, French or Spanish, a great way to make this movie appeal to a wider array of open minded individuals. This also includes the usual subtitles in the same 3 languages and scene selection. The bonus features are filled with some wonderful insight into the making as well as the feeling the Hughes Brothers wanted to convey to the audience. The ‘Focus Points’ are the behind the scenes featurettes, everything from the ‘Look of Eli’ to ‘The Motorcycle Brigade’ to ‘Apocalyptic San Francisco’. Which, having lived in the city by the bay is kind of a trip and really eerie. A short film gives you a little back story as to who Carnegie is, called ‘A Lost Tale: Billy’. ‘Behind the Story’ is another take on filling in the what, when, where, why and how of the films story. What would Civilization do if this happened today? The cast and crew, along with experts from all different social, psychological and philosophical studies chime in on their thoughts of how life as we know it would cope as well as take a more in-depth look at the central character, Eli. The deleted scenes are decent but well within the usual reason for getting cut, not really needed. ‘The Book of Eli Soundtrack’ is brother Allen and Atticus Ross talking about the “construction and destruction” of the films aforementioned haunting musical sounds. And last but definitely not least is the ‘WB Maximum Movie Mode’. Here you can have a PiP view of the ‘Focus Points’ while still enjoying the movie. Of course if you have a Warner Bros. BD-Live account you can take the movie online and experience more inside info on the film.
This movie has become one of my all time favorites and here is why, it delves into what we all as individuals fight with on a daily basis, morals and faith. What is right to some may be evil to others and ones faith is like ones opinion, their own. Eli only has his faith to go on at times when he has nothing else. No food, no water, no shelter, just his one goal. Even with his faith in hand though, your morals can be tested. Do you get involved or do you keep on your path when confronted with a situation? Only you can make that choice and live with the result. If we could all do one thing life could be much better, respect. No one person will ever have all your morals, beliefs, faith, or thoughts that you do. Just respect that and live your life and all can be well. Don’t push them or try to change their mind or as has happened way too much in our history all hell breaks loose and death destruction follow. You don’t have to love each other, just respect difference of thought. Be safe and trust each other.