I have two reasons for liking this movie: Denzel Washington and Gary Oldman. Both are favorite actors of mine from way back and to have them together in a movie is a dream come true for me.
The Book of Eli is a post-apocalyptic movie. I know that post-apocalyptic movies are a dime a dozen these days, but believe me when I say that this movie is different.
First, you have Denzel Washington (Eli) in his most badass role since Man on Fire. When he pulls out that machete, you had better run if you are a bad guy since he will either chop you down or sever your limbs – and he’s the good guy!
Second, you have Gary Oldman (Carnegie). One of the all-time best chameleon actors out there. Able to take on diverse roles for each of his movies, he can be the psychotic President-hostage-taker in one film, a disturbed and deaf Composer in another and then a sympathetic Commisioner in the next. In Book of Eli, Gary Oldman plays a leader of a small town in search of a particular book. And he would do whatever it takes to find that book.
Third reason, Mila Kunis (Solara). She plays the daughter of the lady friend of Gary Oldman, Claudia (played surprisingly by Jennifer Beals, she of Fame fame). She was able to balance the qualities of being tough and good-looking at the same time. IMHO, she is a highly-underrated actress and fortunately she was given the chance to shine in this film.
The movies started out with a hunting scene. Eli carefully laid out a trap for some ferocious wild animal. Or so we thought. It was later shown to be a cat. And in those days, you would be fortunate to find a cat for a meal.
Eli then started out on his journey to bring a certain book south. Encountering some bad guys, dispatching them were no sweat for Eli. Arriving in a desolate but somewhat thriving small town, trouble erupted for Eli as he encountered Carnegie’s men, and he eliminated them effortlessly as well. Carnegie, impressed by this, invited him to stay and asked Solara to provide Eli some company. Solara then discovered that Eli had a book which he always reads. Afterwards, Carnegie learned about Eli’s book and tried to get it. But Eli already escaped, and Solara went with him.
Now the chase is on between Carnegie and his men and for Eli and Solara. Will Carnegie and his men catch them? Will the elusive book be finally obtained by Carnegie?
What followed next are action-packed chase scenes, an encounter and eventual shootout with an elderly couple and a surprising twist that would make you want to recall the earlier scenes to see if there was any hint regarding the fact.
For fans of action and adventure, this is the movie for you. It might be too preachy for some, but it was not a big problem for me. Great action, great performances and a great story with a twist – what more can you ask for?