Friday, 15 January 2010
REVIEW: The Book Of Eli
I think seeing this about six days after seeing The Road didn't help this movie. At all. Because now all its faults, mistakes and general unimpressiveness is illustrated by an example. Of you know, how it should be done. So would have been a review of hand-waving impassiveness now becomes a more focused tirade of ' this is shit'. This is the kind of Post-apocalypse we're more familiar with, where instead of everything being all depressing, messianic heroes look cool whilst pounding the shit out of some dudes. Bad dudes, just so we don't enter ethically questionable territory. Lone warrior Denzel Washington walks the earth, Bible in tow, until arriving on a small Deadwood like town, ran by McShane like Gary Oldman. After further establishing his nobility, by turning down solicited sex with Mila Kunis, to which the entirety of the male audience let out a synchronized groan, Oldman comes after his Bible, believing it to be a weapon to further establish his rule. Chasing and violence ensues.
I think I liked the opening fifteen minutes the best, because they were simple straight-up sub-Road Warrior one man vs the rest of the world type shit. It was simple, well mined territory but it was promising to be watchable trash. But pretty much on Mila Kunis' arrival things went to shit, partly because of her god-awful, occasionally embarrassing performance, and partly because the thinly veiled messianic tale became a full on Christian glory chanter. In which the world can't resuscitate itself without the aid of a Bible. A Godless man is a lost man, if this movie is anything to go by. Religion as salvation in movies is not new, but few have done it this obnoxiously. I didn't think it was possible to get offended on behalf of my atheism but there you go. It happened. Washington is OK I guess, but this one of his more forgettable performances. Oldman's long overdue return to villainy is a bit of an anti-climax, as this guy is pretty stock and conventional. Oldman gives his shouty best, but he's too boringly written.
To conclude, if The Road is an example of how this kind of thing should be done, then The Book Of Eli is exactly how it shouldn't be. Everything is too predictable and too easy. A movie to go in one ear and out the other, and deservedly so.