Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bougie Movie Review – Book of Eli

I will start simply by saying I loved this movie. I went knowing little more than Denzel starred and Hughes Brothers (Menace II Society and Dead Presidents) directed. The opening sequence was confusing and a little disturbing, in fact you are quite a few minutes in before Denzel speaks and a few more before you understand what's really going… you know that something really, really bad has happened to Planet Earth. A brief synopsis:

Eli (also known as Walker) is a man on a mission in post-apocalyptic America. A catastrophic war has happened that turned Earth into a scorched wasteland with few natural resources (water is scarce) and a sun with little filter. Lawlessness abounds and it is an "every man for himself" world. Gangs of marauding, ill-groomed hoodlums roam the land raping, plundering and pillaging. Eli won't start a fight but he'll end it with the quickness. When challenged, he attempts peaceful solutions but ultimately has to go ninja on these fools. Eli is walking west (and has been for 30 years) to complete his mission of carrying a book to its final destination. The book is so powerful that a super evil dude (played by Gary Oldman) wants it and has been hunting for it by sending out the aforementioned hoodlums. The book is the last hope for humanity to begin again and rebuild civilization. Along the way, Eli picks up a young girl who becomes surprisingly resourceful and helpful.

Kudos to the marketing folks for not giving away the integral point of the plot (I did not either). The movie though a little violent, is a far deeper warning to society than I expected. And they are smart enough to include a twist at the end that has you rethinking the entire plot from start to finish. They are calling this an action/drama but I will tell you it's really a post-modern Western. There is a definite white hat/black hat vibe, greater good message. There is even a "cleaning up the town" scene, dust blowing up, a damsel in distress and a bar fight… it's a classic western with a smart twist.

The cinematography was stunning. There are moments where you have to pull yourself out of the beauty of the picture to remember what's happening in scene. If I had any beef with the film it's that there are apparently no sister girls that survived the war unless we're counting Jennifer Beals. Seriously, did the sisters just not want to live in a world without hair products and chap stick? O__o Anyway… you had to suspend a little disbelief at the ending too but that was to be expected.

Scruffy Denzel looks GOOD in this movie. There's this one scene with him and a wet wipe that… well – I would pay good money to go where that wipe has been. Hotness. Moving on… I was surprised by the message of the movie. I was expecting a shoot 'em up film (and would have been happy with that) but this is actually a societal lesson and a look at spirituality done with just a light enough touch and topical context to work. Long story short – go see it. Okay yes, I say that about all of Denzel's movies but… I really, really mean it this time.

Four and a half purple boots out of five. Enjoy! Has anyone else seen it? What did you think?

23 comments:

Troy said...

Hadn't decided whether to see it but it sounds worth the price of admission. Good looking out.

Bailey Quincy said...

It DOES have a Western feeling to it. Hadn't thought about it that way. Clever. I liked it too.

Eye Candy said...

Wait - no sisters at all? LOL! Maybe life without acrylic and yaki is not worth living <-- yeah, I'm wrong for that.

OneChele said...

Stern side-eye.

Reggie said...

I liked the movie too, but not quite as much as you did. I actually watched it last night. I also noticed the fact that there weren't any sisters in the movie; of course even this movie couldn't hide Jennifer Beals beauty. She's gotta be on her way to 50 and she's still absolutely gorgeous.

I didn't like the end either..........that's where I thought the movie fell short. Other than that, it was a rather interesting movie.

Like I said, I liked it.

ecthompson said...

Great movie. Denzel is great. The biggest surprise was Jennifer Beals who is very good. Flashdance was a long time ago. She has learned to act in the interim.

careycarey2 said...

Ouuu Weeeeeeeeeeee Chele, I have a completely different take on this movie. I saw your opinion pop-up on my blogroll, so I had to come by.

I frist saw a short review by Rodger Ebert, but I didn't know what to expect, but like you, I was lured to the movie by the cast and directors. But lord have mercy. I was not impressed in the least. I gave the movie 10 toes down! Yeah, if I was at home (watching this) I would have turned it off or turned over and went to sleep. Hence, 10 TOES down. If you want to know why, I can't do it justice in your comment section but I did write a post about it. Check it out if you have time.

Oh, I stayed true to movie decorum and did not give away the ending, but I wanted to. Gosh, I felt like the Hugh brothers slapped me in the face.

Please let me explain ... http://careycarey-carrymehome.blogspot.com/2010/01/day-o-daaay-o-elis-comon-and-i-should.html

OneChele said...

Ha! Okay - I will check out your thoughts (and add you to my blogroll)... thanks for stopping by.

Stank_0 said...

This movie hasn't done well at the theaters, unfortunately. I thought it was brilliantly done. I thought Oldman's character explained why he wanted the book very well.

I wanted more of a glimpse into life "after." We got a few glimpses.

The ending blindsided me (No bullock) so I might have to see it again and pay more attention at the beginning.

OneChele said...

I thought the same thing - I probably need to go see it again knowing what I know.

careycarey2 said...

Hello Chele,

I have not read any reviews other than the one I mentioned, yours and mine *giggle*. I really didn't want to, I wanted to form my own opinion. However given the fact that the movie is not doing very well, I was wondering if it would be okay for me to ask your readers a few questions. Although the Hughes brothers are billed as a team, they do have some fundamentals differences.

That being said, I was wondering why some liked it while others didn't. Or at least why some people didn't spend their money. Could it have been the religious theme? The violence? How about the fact that the Hughes brother will always be tied to Menace II Society, and many are no longer feeling that type of movie. Their previous movie wasn't a great success either. Well, in regards to that one, the brothers thought the "money people" bailed on them. They complained that the movie wasn't properly promoted.

I agree with Stanko, I thought it was obvious that Carnegie knew the power of the book. I don't want to get into religion, but there was a purpose behind King James reason to compile the book. Religion sort of speaks for itself.

It would be nice if we all could suspend reality (as you mentioned) but it's so hard to do when dealing with a serious topic. Could that be the reason why some have not desired to view the movie? You know, the inability to separate facts (as they understand it) from their movie pleasure?

Oh, that might be a good discussion for your blogRadio show? "how do you like your books & movies... facts fiction or a whole lot of gumbo?" Subplot: Do some "cultures" only want to see Denzel in certain type of roles. er'body don't like scruffty or save the world :-)

SBailey7 said...

Morning, y'all.

@Chele: Great review. I hadn't seen many commercials for this movie before actually seeing the movie so I wasn't expecting it to be as violent as it was but it was really good. I enjoyed the spiritual storyline and I, of course, enjoyed Denzel as always. ;-) Hope you had a great birthday!

Reecie said...

I was also surprised by the message, but I really enjoyed it! actually got a tad teary eyed, the underlying theme touched my spirit. I just wish it had shown the actual "war" and what happened to the world.

jake said...

There was a lot more going on in this movie than I realized at first and after the twist at the end, I want to catch it again and pay more attention. It was very well done.

OneChele said...

Thanks! And I think they have deliberately made the commercials vague so you don't know what to expect going on. I enjoyed my birthday thanks!

All Honey said...

Loved it. And you ain't nevah lied bout that wet wipe...

MochaMuffin said...

Look the boots. I'm planning to see it this weekend.

OneChele said...

I wonder if we can talk them into a "prequel" so we could see the War and what started him on his journey.

David Parrish, Jr.(Inkognegro) said...

This movie lives on Denzel and Denzel alone.
He is the king for taking meh movies and making them genuinely watchable.

Gary Oldham is woefully inadequate as Denzel's foil. A better villain makes for a better movie.

OneChele said...

I agree as I just realized Denzel is in almost every single scene. I think the problem with Gary's character is that it wasn't as fleshed out as Denzel's. Eli explained his quest and why he started it but Gary never did and surely there was a reason for the madness.

Queen of Me said...

Count me in. I haven't heard one bad review.

Sarah said...

It is always a pleasure to see Denzel in a movie. He could be going to the store to buy groceries and it would be nice to watch. I'm going to wait to see this movie, though. I'm taking a break from violence in movies like the break from drama in real life. Can't do it. My ex loved movies like this and he also believed that the apocalypse in real life was just around the corner. He told me many stories of violence in his own life and he thought I was naive for thinking that people can actually make an effort to get along and make peaceful progress.

It's good to hear you enjoyed the movie and your birthday as well. I've always thought we should have our birthdays as a personal holidays.

BB Waite said...

Saw it Sunday Night with Hubs. Quite prophetic. And yes, Denzel completely carries the movie.

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