9 February 2010 | MrPink08
DELIvers us from a dreary winter
Few things are hotter this winter than Mila Kunis walking around a post-apocalyptic town in a pair of Aviators. That and a quiet Denzel Washington wielding a sword sets up The Book of Eli, yet another post-apocalyptic thriller set in the future (or lack thereof). The post-apocalypse film may be getting old after films like Children of Men, The Road, I Am Legend, etc., but The Book of Eli manages to keep itself away from the cliché apocalypse film.
Denzel portrays the title character of Eli, a mysterious man who walks around around a destroyed world carrying a book he believes can save humanity. He wanders into a makeshift town where a sadistic villain (Gary Oldman) desperately wants the book. Enter some hacked limbs, explosions, and cannibals, and you got yourself an interesting film.
This is a different role for Denzel. Usually, he's just the calm talker who tries to make sure the bad guys don't do anything crazy (think Inside Man and last summer's remake of The Taking of Pelham 123). However, not only does Denzel do a lot of talking, but he's cutting off people's arms and shooting up the place like he's Jason Statham. One memorable scene involves Eli killing Oldman's men-who are armed with sniper rifles AB machine guns-with a simple handgun.
It's also very refreshing to see Gary Oldman return to the role of a villain. Younger audiences now see Oldman as a good guy after portraying famous literary protagonists such as Sirius Black in the Harry Potter films and Jim Gordon in the recent Batman series. While there's nothing at all wrong with that, I was starting to miss Oldman's villain days, including classic turns as a drug addicted cop in Leon The Professional and a Russian terrorist in Air Force One. Oldman shows his versatility in Eli, where he makes his character a complete psycho.
When I first saw that Kunis was cast in this film, I was a little worried. Sure, everybody loves Mila, but could the star of comedies like That 70's Show and Forgetting Sarah Marshall make the transition in a serious film? Kunis plays her role well, but she should stick with the comedies until she's given a character with more to do.
The Book of Eli isn't perfect with its choppy action sequences or pacing issues, but its a fun film nonetheless. It's films like these that keep the post-apocalyptic genre alive and well.