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DVD Review: The Book of Eli

June 15, 2010

The Book of Eli – A Warner Home Video Release

http://thebookofeli.warnerbros.com/dvd/

DVD Release Date: June 15th, 2010

Rated 14A for coarse language and brutal violence.

Running time: 118 minutes

Albert Hughes (dir.)

Allen Hughes (dir.)

Gary Whitta (screenplay)

Atticus Ross (music)

Leopold Ross (music)

Claudia Sarne (music)

Denzel Washington as Eli

Gary Oldman as Carnegie

Mila Kunis as Solara

Ray Stevenson as Redridge

Jennifer Beals as Claudia

Our reviews below:

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The Book of Eli DVD Review By John C.

*** (out of 4)

The Book of Eli is a gritty, violent postapocalyptic film, that preaches a brave and poetic religious message.  For the last 30 or so winters, Eli (Denzel Washington) has been roaming a desolate Earth, protecting the last copy of The King James Bible, on a mission from God to head west.  When he finds himself in an abandoned town, he runs into Carnegie (Gary Oldman), who is after the Bible, so he can burn it like all the others.  He is joined by Carnegie’s step-daughter, Solara (Mila Kunis), on his mission to protect the precious book.  The movie is filled with tense and violent standoffs, right out of a western.

Though it is uneven, takes a little too long to get from place to place, and sort of lost me when issues of cannibalism were briefly introduced, the last 30-minutes of The Book of Eli make up for all previous falters.  They feature a brilliant twist that I didn’t quite see coming, and bring surprising emotional resonance to the story.  Although it is a little ironic that a movie this biblical would feature this much dismemberment, and it isn’t always enjoyable to watch, I deeply admire the religious overtones brought forth in the film.

The DVD/Blu-Ray combo-pack includes three featurettes, additional/deleted scenes and an animated short covering Carnegie’s history, titled A Lost Tale: Billy.

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The Book of Eli DVD Review By Erin V.

*** (out of 4)

In The Book of Eli, Denzel Washington plays the title character, who is on a mission to take the last known remaining bible ‘west.’  Along the way, he passes through a town run by a dictator named Carnagie (Gary Oldman), who wants a copy of the bible for the wrong reasons.  Eli will stop at nothing to prevent it from falling into his hands though.  As the tagline for the film reads, ‘some will kill to have it, he will kill to protect it’ – and yes, kill he does.  If you don’t like movies with a lot of – often graphic – violence, you’re not going to want to see The Book of Eli.

Generally, I don’t watch films that are really violent like this, or in this genre.  But what attracted me to this one – and the reason why I didn’t mind seeing it, is the storyline.   I like to see a mainstream film be openly religious.  I found the hopeful ending to be interesting and fitting, and ultimately satisfying to me.  It is strange though that a film with this many religious undertones would be so violent – but, the juxtaposition could serve as an interesting discussion topic for some.

Another interesting thing about this film, are the set designs and the colour palette.  The use of drained colours and high contrast gave the film a bit of a graphic-novelesque tone at times, and a real sense of mood throughout.  The visual effects team did a great job here.  Also, the score, while not one you’d really listen to outside of the film, is interesting in it’s own right, and sets the tone of the movie well.  Read through the production notes here, for more on these points and more.

Watch the trailer for this one – if it interests you, and the violence isn’t a deterrent, it’s worth a rent it.

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The Book of Eli DVD Review By Tony

**1/2 (out of 4)

The Book of Eli is a brooding post-apocalyptic tale about the journey Eli (Denzel Washington) has been on for over 30 years to deliver the last copy of the good book to a safe place due west.  A war left the earth scorched by excess radiation that killed most people and blinds those who don’t protect their eyes.  Some survivors have formed gangs that set upon, rob and may even eat people they find.  Armed with a huge knife, bow and arrows and some firearms, Eli’s faith in his mission has made him unstoppable.  Against multiple assailants, he can be as deadly as Big Daddy or Hit Girl.  His greatest challenge comes from the self-appointed boss of a village (Gary Oldman) who believes the book will give him supreme power.

The Book of Eli is a beautiful film to watch.  The bleak but beautiful landscapes are shot almost without colour, and colour is sparingly used throughout, allowing for the kind of clarity and contrast that the best B/W films noirs had.  The atmospheric score is effective, combining electronic and orchestral music.  I personally found the oppressive atmosphere  and extreme violence hard to take at times, however.

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Consensus: The Book of Eli is a violent post-apocalyptic film with an interesting storyline.  If the trailer, or religious overtones intrigue you, than it’s worth renting. **3/4 (Out of 4).

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