I saw the trailer for the Book of Eli and was not particularly impressed. My eldest son, Matthew wanted to go see it, but I told him it just looked like a lot of violence. So, I went to Rotten Tomatoes, and saw that the movie had just an average rating. However, in reading the reviews, it was very strange that reviewers either really loved it or really hated it. Strange, I thought.
It turned out that the Book of Eli is an overtly Christian movie. Denzel Washington's character has been walking west on the orders of God for the last 30 years with "the Book." The time is a post-apocalyptic America, in which all laws and societal norms have disappeared - replaced by local chieftains ruling the people through violence and oppression. Washington ends up in a town controlled by a chieftain who is looking for a copy of a Bible, so that he can use it to control the people. We find out that the Christians were blamed for the apocalypse, and subsequently all Bibles were burned - except Washington's. So, Washington is out to protect "the Book" at all costs, as he heads west.
Book of Eli morality
The Book of Eli contains both good and evil but little in between. The evil is extremely evil and results in a lot of violence and bloodshed. The entire movie is shot in very muted tones using a Red Digital camera, looking almost like black and white cinema. During most of the movie Washington's skin tone is the most colorful part of the movie (see movie poster above). Washington's character is the only one who is wholly good, and nearly all of the non-believers are evil. My guess is that the non-Christian reviewers of the film probably didn't like this aspect of the movie, hence the negative reviews. I am sure they were also annoyed by the scripture citation and prayer before a meal. On the negative side, Washington's character seems uninterested in sharing his faith or even what is in his book. Of course, if the other 30 years were as bad as the few days represented in the movie, one would see why he would be burned out on attempting to share his faith. The movie does have a rather unexpected plot twist and ends well, although non-believers might be disappointed.
The Book of Eli is a well-acted movie with striking cinematography. The story is decidedly Christian, although the violence is extreme, hence the "R" rating. The movie is not recommended for children. You will understand why Washington's character goes to such extremes to protect "the Book" at the end of the movie.
Last Modified January 24, 2010